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Archive for the Announcement Category

Aug 28

Three Growth Points for a Growing Church

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

In the context of any home there’s a need for redirection from time to time. If a couple needs to get more sleep, they might discuss needing more sleep and then start to go to bed earlier. With a church of 600-700 adults in and out of the building on a Sunday for planned worship services, redirection is not so easy, but it is needed for this family just the same.

So, at the start of our Lord’s Supper service on Wednesday night we shared an announcement, a clarification, and an exhortation related to our Sunday corporate gatherings.

An announcement regarding seating on Sundays

We’ve got a really good problem: DSC is growing.

Our membership classes have been larger by a third for over a year and both services are quite full on Sunday morning. You may have noticed that increasingly we have less seats available on Sunday morning once we’re 10-15 minutes into the service.

This kind of growth in numbers requires a corresponding growth in hospitality.

Given how the room is designed it’s hard to see and sometimes navigate to the seats that are open. In our space, the room can look jammed full even with 250 seats available. This means it’s increasingly difficult for some to find their way to a seat.

In the smaller setting of our home, any of us would naturally get up to make room if someone came in and needed a seat. But with a gathering our size this doesn’t come so naturally. We need to organize for our hospitality a bit.

So, starting in October you’ll begin to see what we’re calling Section Hosts around the room; six of them. These people will be wearing a badge, coming early to mingle and make connections, and helping those looking for a seat to find a seat.

Your Section Host will need your help. You can help this need by doing two things: First, sit in harder to get to seats: the middle of a row instead of the edge, for example. Or sit down in the floor section. Those are the least visible and accessible seats once the service starts. By sitting down there you are freeing up a seat for someone who would come after you. Second, come early or on time to the service. More on that in a moment.

A clarification regarding children on Sundays

You’ll remember that about a year ago we encouraged the participation of children in the worship service.

If children can understand what’s going on in the Sunday worship service they should probably be in here with us. Of course, it’s for you to figure out how to do that, to train your children, and help them. But we wanted to set this as a new and good ideal for most families. And we gave some tips for how to ease your little ones into being with us. Click here for a follow-up blog post, “Families Together with the Family of God on Sunday” and here for Ryan’s sermon “God’s People in God’s Presence.”  Also, since that time we’ve made available in print form John Piper’s article, “The Family: Together in God’s Presence.” It’s the little orange pamphlet available around the building. Including children in the worship service is not easy, but it’s important. We all need to be patient with young families.

Our church has grown in this area and we’re thrilled.

By way of clarification, we want to address the question of small babies. There are few things more beautiful to God than parents and their babies. So, we offer this clarification with full admiration for the vocation of motherhood, fatherhood, and recognition of the difficulty of those youngest years with a child. This church family loves babies and esteems parents.

Here’s the clarification: As we’ve said, if a child can understand what is going on in the service they should probably join us in here. But if a child is at an age where they cry when he or she is hungry, they probably can’t understand what’s going on and they should probably be in the nursery or cry room or foyer.

Now, if you and your baby can pull it off, and you are going to attempt to sit in the service (this is not illegal at DSC!), we would still ask that parents with infants aim for a seat near a door so they can exit briskly if the child does activate their noise box.

The reasons for this are simple and they have to do with hearing God’s Word:

  • The baby can’t understand God’s Word
  • The baby can, however, make it hard for others to hear God’s Word (including you)
  • The baby can even make it hard for the service leaders to hear themselves think as they lead us God’s worship through his Word

Here’s the gist: If you think there’s a good chance your baby will cry, we would ask that you consider putting them in the nursery or using the cry room. If they do start crying, even if you think they might stop, head for an exit and take care of that lovely child.

An exhortation to seek God early 

There’s a really easy way for us to have happier marriages on Sunday, a better witness, better hospitality, more and better conversations with our brothers and sisters, a better spiritual example for our kids and Sunday memories during their childhood, how we can cheer our Lord’s heart, and how we can honor everyone in the room better when we’re together. Who could resist all of this?

Here’s the exhortation: be on time.

How easy is that?

Not so easy, if we know ourselves and especially our church. We have done quite well at including our little ones in the service, better than we expected in some ways. We addressed the issue of lateness in 2011 but we have not, in the long term, improved as a congregation at being on time. We seem particularly and historically bad at this actually. Ouch! We all know we need to improve here, so hopefully this exhortation actually feels like something of a relief.

If you aren’t aware of how bad the problem is, it might be because you are entering the worship center 5-20 minutes late on a regular basis. There are Sundays in which at the start of either service there are only 50 people in a room that on many Sundays will fill to 300 by the time the sermon starts. Some Sundays are better than others, but this pattern is not owing to many legitimate reasons for being late, but a culture of lateness rooted in a basic lack of preparedness for what we do together each Lord’s Day.

There are some things in life we are regularly on time or early to and there are other things we are regularly late for. It usually had to do with incentives. What we get for being on time or what it cost us for being late.

So, since we are people with motivations, let us offer some compelling incentives to be on time:

  • Unity. This is one way to pursue unity in our church. It says, “we want to be together.” It also helps mitigate against unity-harming pride in our body. For those that are on time it can be tempting to condescend toward the body for this cultural problem.
  • Witness. It commends the gospel and the God we sing and hear about in our services since it says we really do want to be here, and we really do want to sing and hear these things. We can imagine that there are family members and friends that haven’t been invited to church because of the embarrassment it would bring to have to explain why the room was so empty when the service began.
  • Honor. It honors our service leaders who prepare for and lead these services.
  • Word. Movement in the room can distract others from what we’re singing, praying, and hearing together.
  • Joy. Some are late and it’s no hit to their happiness that morning. For others it’s a point of constant tension or guilt.
  • Modeling. The kids in our congregation will remember the empty room. Your kids will remember coming late. Expect they’ll do the same.
  • Worship. You are not connecting with God during the first song if you aren’t there for it. The services are designed with a certain logic, including invocation and a call to worship, and alter the confession of sin in song, Scripture, or prayer. We’ll fight not to miss the beginning of a movie and for good reason. The services are structured similarly to move from beginning to end, and every part is needed for sinners like us who need God. If you’ve never discerned the logic then you might be like the person who only knows movies starting 10 minutes in.

Now, a word to married men. Here’s the word: lead.

Leading doesn’t mean merely saying “we’re going to be on time!” Leading is saying “What time do we need to get up to be on time? What do we need to do the night before? What do we need to not stay up late doing the night before?” (like watching a movie). And, gentleman, if you are the one making the family late, you know what to do. And if you have small kids, remember that they are your kids too. If your wife cares for the children in the mornings during the week if you work outside the home it may be tempting to expect her to manage them on Sunday morning as well. But unless you’re leaving early to serve at church apart from your family on Sunday, getting the kids ready is part of getting your family ready. Sundays should be an easier morning for your wife for having you home.

Finally, there’s the danger in this exhortation that some will turn around and go home when they are late. Please know that you are not looked on by the church’s leadership in judgment, even on the Sunday after this exhortation. There are always reasons some are late. We will assume the best of any individual while recognizing that there is a need for growth here as a church.

To hear Ryan’s original exhortation to pursue God’s presence, in part, by being on time to church, listen to his sermon on Psalm 16, “In Hot Pursuit of His Presence.” The exhortation comes at the end and includes reasons to come early, practical suggestions for how to prepare for Sunday, and a vision for what Sundays could look like if we were on time. In that sermon, he closed with these wise, pastoral, loving, and convicting words from Charles Spurgeon:

“There should be some preparation of the heart in coming to the worship of God. Consider who he is and in whose name we gather, and surely we cannot rush together without thought. Consider whom we profess to worship, and we shall not hurry into his presence as men run to a fire. Moses, the man of God, was warned to put off your shoes from his feet when God only revealed himself in a bush. How should we prepare ourselves when we come to him who reveals himself in Christ Jesus, his dear son? There should be no stumbling to the place of worship half-asleep, no roaming here as if it were no more than going to playhouse. We cannot expect to profit much if we bring with us a swarm of idle thoughts and a heart crammed with vanity.”

Lord’s Suppers are great for getting our family on the same page. If you missed hearing this in person at our gathering last Wednesday night, thank you for reading this entire post.

May Sundays speak to the work of God in our lives and in our church through hospitality, attention to the Word, and an apparent eagerness to be together in God’s presence.

Looking forward to growing with you –

Trent, for the elders

Aug 6

Calling All Artists!

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

Over at the DSC Music Blog, Drew Hodge recently posted a call for artwork submissions for an upcoming studio album of DSC music.

Here’s the scoop:

Calling all DSC artists!

We are almost done with This Is Our Song! Now we are ready to start the artwork for the record and we want you to help.
Here’s how it will work:

  • We are looking for all types of visual art (paintings, drawings, sketch art, photography, etc.)
  • You submit your art to drew@desertspringschurch.org
  • We pick what we think best captures the theme and vision.
  • That’s it!

So, if your are interested or you know a DSC’er who may be qualified, here is the vision:

This Is Our Song. These are our songs and our stories. These songs come from the life and moments of our church. They cover a range of biblical truths – who God is, what He has done, who we are, our need and response. Christ and His work.

If you could lock into one word – story. His story through us. Every song has a story. Every song tells a story.

Now, capture that with pictures, images, and few words.

Please have your submissions in by August 14th

Let the artistic juices flow, and lets make this record beautiful together!

If you haven’t subscribed to the DSC Music Blog, consider doing so here. On most Mondays Drew Hodge posts a Sunday Recap with songs and texts from that Sunday’s service, including links to songs and lyrics. Here’s an example from July 12.

Jun 3

Witness the Courageous Takedown of a VBS Volunteer

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is getting close (July 13-17), but the registration deadline is closer (July 3). That’s right, there is a registration deadline, so don’t miss it.

And, of course, if you were with us on Sunday morning, you witnessed the takedown of a volunteer in this year’s VBS volunteer recruiting video. If you missed it, watch it. If you saw it, watch it again. Then, click here to volunteer. If you have a child, click here to register them for VBS.

[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]

Many of us will have children in VBS, and many of us will serve them as volunteers. Let’s all pray for the conversion of children and the growth of Christ’s church through this week of concentrated engagement with the gospel and God’s people.

Update 6/6/15: 

VBS is quickly approaching! Here are 3 ways we could use your help:
  1. We serve dinner to all of our volunteers and their families each night of VBS. You can help by signing up for one or more items on the meals donation list.
  2. The set design team is in need of lumber and paint. If you have either of those items lying around the house, we’ll put them to good use.
  3. We are in need of adult VBS volunteers to serve in the following areas: Meals (prepping and serving dinner each night to our volunteers), Crafts, Nursery (caring for our youngest VBS trekkers, the children 3 and under of our volunteers), and Clean Up (serving in a vital, behind the scenes role).
For more information on how you can help, please contact the church office at info@desertspringschurch.org or 505.797.8700.

Jan 16

Help Pick Songs for a New DSC Album

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

Over at the DSC Music Blog, Drew Hodge broke some good news this past week: He and DSC’s musicians are working on a new studio project to record a number of original songs and arrangements that have found a place in the life of our church.

Here’s from his post:

Help us choose the songs for our next recorded studio album. Below is the list of songs to choose from. All of these songs are original DSC compositions and/or arrangements. Pick one to ten of your favorites. Songs that have blessed, challenged or encouraged you.

To pick, email drew@desertspringschurch.org with your picks. Subject line: This Is Our Song

I would also love to hear any stories about these songs working in your life.

Be a part of the process!

Come and Dine – lyric, chord chart, mp3

Great Things – lyric, chord chart, mp3

God Moves In A Mysterious Waylyric, chord chart, mp3

Lord, We Come to Hear Your Word – lyric, chord chart, mp3

Be Strong – lyric, chord chart, mp3

My Father Planned it All – lyric, chord chart, mp3

Blessed Assurance – lyric, chord chart, mp3

Raise Your Voicelyric, chord chart, mp3

We Give Thanks – lyric, chord chart, mp3

Clap Your Hands – lyric, mp3

Christ Is All – lyric, chord chart, mp3

In Christ – lyric, chord chart, mp3

Jesus You Reign – lyric, chord chart, mp3

O God Our Help in Ages Past – lyric, chord chart, mp3

Awake My Soul – lyric, mp3

Cornerstone – lyric, mp3

It Is Well – lyric, mp3

All Hail the Power (Exalt the Name of Jesus) – lyric, mp3

By the way, if you haven’t subscribed yet to the DSC Music blog, you should consider doing so. Every Monday, Drew Hodge posts a service recap with links to lyrics and audio for the songs we sang that Sunday. Check out the blog and subscribe here.

Also not to miss, Drew is hosting a Saturday Seminar on February 21 called, “Come, Let Us Sing!” Click here to learn more and to register.

Dec 5

Guidance, Wisdom, and the Will of God

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

In October we began our new Sunday Adult Education class, called, Equip. Click here for handouts from the class we just wrapped up, “Joshua: Seeking Rest in the Land,” and to plan ahead for what classes you might join us for in the months ahead.

Starting this Sunday, Tim Ragsdale will teach a class, titled, “Guidance, Wisdom, and the Will of God.” Join us at 10:45 in the West Wing on Sundays from here through January for this helpful class.

On this important subject, Kevin DeYoung has written a helpful book, titled, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. Here’s a quote to whet your appetite for our next session in Equip:

“The only chains God wants us to wear are the chains of righteousness–not the chains of hopeless subjectivism, not the shackles of risk-free living, not the fetters of horoscope decision making–just the chains befitting a bond servant of Christ Jesus. Die to self. Live for Christ. And then do what you want, and go where you want, for God’s glory.”
—Kevin DeYoung

Pick up Kevin’s book at the Book Nook or on Amazon.

Oct 25

Missions Emphasis Week Begins!

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

There is no week or day or moment for the church during which missions is not an emphasis. That’s why we host Missions Emphasis Week each year. It’s a way of centering our church’s life on the cross and its proclamation for God’s glory among the nations.

Here’s a run-down of what to expect for Missions Emphasis Week:

Silent Auction (Sunday – Wednesday, October 26-29)

A Silent Auction will run from 8:00 AM, Sunday morning to 6:00 PM, Wednesday evening. See the Missions Blog for details and previews of things and services being auctioned. Winners will be announced after the Lord’s Supper service on Wednesday. All proceeds from the auction will go toward our Sunrise North Africa Partnership (SNAP).

Sunday Services (Sunday, October 26)

Missions Emphasis speaker, Drew Hunter, will preach a sermon from Matthew 10:16-42, titled, “The Cost of Missions and the Courage to Endure.” Drew is the Preaching Pastor at Zionsville Fellowship in Zionsville, Indiana, and the author of Isaiah and Matthew in Crossway’s Knowing the Bible series.

Dinner with the Missionaries (Sunday, October 26)

From 5:00 – 8:00 PM we will enjoy dinner and hear from missionaries representing our three global initiatives: Chuck Harper of Western Indian Ministries (WIM), Eder Ixcopal of Operation R4 (OR4) from Guatemala’s Rabinal Achi people, and Mr. C, the father and husband of our second SNAP family headed to North Africa in early 2015. All proceeds from the dinner will support the three featured missionaries. Click here for more information and to register.

Lord’s Supper Service (Wednesday, October 29)

Redemption Church Leaders will share about the C’s early 2015 departure. As always, we will focus on the cross and share in the Lord’s Supper together, proclaiming Jesus’ death until he returns. Dinner is at 5:30 PM and the service begins at 6:30 PM.

The Gospel in an age of ISIS (Sunday, November 2)

At 9:00 AM and 12:30 PM in the Youth Room, a guest speaker will share how the gospel and new churches are taking root in the Middle East and North Africa despite the spread of radicalized Islam. Our speaker represents Preparing Arab-world Leaders for Ministry (PALM), an organization that exists to nurture self-replicating discipleship groups and to train their leaders in countries without historic churches.

Sep 15

The Elders Q&A Is Coming Up – Questions Welcome

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

Questions are crucial for understanding, unity, and fruitfulness in almost any relationship. This is obvious in marriage, parenting, and at work.

Good questions and thoughtful answers are important in the context of the church as well, perhaps especially between shepherds and the flock. And so DSC’s elders are available in the halls around church, by email, and once each year we set aside an evening to take questions in the context of a corporate gathering. We call it, an “Elders Q&A.”

Our next Elders Q&A will take place on the last Wednesday of this month, September 24, at 6:30 PM.

If you have a question, submit it. If you don’t, think of one and then submit it. Here are four ways to ask your questions:

  • Submit your question using your bulletin Comment Card next Sunday and drop that in an offering box.
  • Email your question to info@desertspringschurch.org.
  • Communicate your question for the Q&A to an elder directly.
  • Show up with your question on the 24th. The elders will take some questions from a mic in the course of the evening.

Of course, we appreciate your questions early. This helps us notice recurring themes and spend our time in a way that best serves the congregation. Any questions that are not addressed at the Q&A will be answered through the DSC Blog or by email.

Get acquainted with DSC’s elders by reading their biographies on the Leadership Page. Also, audio from previous Elder Q&A evenings is available at our Messages Page under the topic “Elder Q&A.”