UPDATED May 27, 2020: Weekend Service Walk Through

Pastor Cullen share what you can expect this weekend as we relaunch our in-person services.

UPDATED May 12, 2020: Update on Weekend Service Gatherings

Here’s an important update from Pastor Cullen that talks about our Phase 1 plan for our weekend services.  Please be sure to watch this in its entirety. *Transcript below.

I know many of you are excited about being able to meet in person for our weekend services once again.  I personally can’t wait to see you!  Last week I mentioned that we would provide an update for our in-person weekend service plans after Mother’s Day weekend.  So now is that time! 

After evaluating where things stand with COVID-19, we believe the right time for us to start back with our Phase 1 weekend service gatherings will most likely be on May 31.  This is our plan unless things shift dramatically with the Coronavirus.  Until that time, we will continue to have all of our ministries online as we have been doing for the past couple of months.  

Here are several things I would like for you to know in order to prepare for May 31:

#1 – We will add an additional service in order to accommodate proper social distancing.  Our services times will be:

  • 8am – Traditions Service (in-person only)
  • 9:30am – Contemporary Service (in-person & online)
  • 11:30am – Contemporary Service (in-person & online)

Because we are concerned about your health, we want to make sure we don’t overpopulate any particular service, so we’ll be asking you to RSVP to let us know what service you plan to attend.  We’ll send a link out where you RSVP as we get closer to May 31, but I just wanted to let you know about those plans.  

#2 – As I mentioned in our previous update, we will be doing church in a “simple” way for the next season of time by continuing our children’s ministry, youth ministry, and Connect Groups all online when we start gathering again for our weekend services.  So, beginning on May 31, we’re going to work hard to make our services even more family friendly!  Along with a strong worship time and ministry from the Word of God that we experience on a weekly basis, we will also include a brief element for all the kids like we did with our Christmas Eve and Easter services.  There will be ministry for all ages in our 9:30 am and 11:30 am services starting on May 31!  

#3 – Our in-person gatherings will look different to accommodate social distancing and everyone’s health.  Therefore, I’m going to walk you through what you can expect, if you choose to participate with our Phase 1 of re-engagement with our weekend services.  I’m going to do that next week, so stay tuned for what that will look like. 

I also want to remind you that Phase 1 of re-engagement may not feel totally comfortable for every single person and may not even be the healthiest or wisest decision for everyone.  We are committed to high-quality online service experiences throughout this time for you to receive ministry.  If you are in a high-risk age category or have an underlying health condition, we encourage you to enjoy the online ministry that we’ll be providing.  If you are feeling sick and/or have recently been exposed to the Coronavirus, we ask you to worship at home with us for your well being and everyone else’s as well.

Now for one final thing.  On May 31, we will also have our Annual Business meeting at 1:30 pm for our members.  We were unable to have this meeting in March due to COVID-19, and now we have some time-sensitive information to discuss regarding the remaining 25 acres that we own as a church.

I’m praying for you and your family!  Be looking for more updates next week.  Until May 31, we’ll continue with all of our ministries online!

Pastor Cullen

UPDATED May 6, 2020: DSM First Weekend Service In-Person Gatherings

Here’s an important update from Pastor Cullen that talks about our plan to re-engage with in-person weekend services.  Please be sure to watch this in its entirety. *Transcript below.

As we all know, the governor of Iowa has lifted the ban for churches to start meeting with some health restrictions still in place.  While we are extremely excited to be with you in person, we also understand that gatherings present a special risk for spreading COVID-19 during this Public Health Emergency.  So, in light of these facts we want to cautiously begin putting plans in place as we prepare for the right time to worship together, once again, in person.  We definitely miss seeing you! 

We also realize that just because we can meet, doesn’t mean that we should meet in-person immediately.  Your health and safety is extremely important to us. Here are some of the things we’re praying about and strategically considering as we make decisions moving forward:

  • What’s legal?  (We want to make sure we’re abiding by the law.)
  • What’s recommended?  (We want to engage in best-practices.)
  • What’s wise?  (We want to use the wisdom that God gives us to make the best possible decisions.) 

In light of those things, here’s our plan.  We have decided to continue to have all of our ministry online through Mother’s Day.  Then after Mother’s Day weekend, we’ll re-evaluate things in light of COVID-19 and let you know what we’ll be doing moving forward.  In the meantime, you can know that we are working hard behind the scenes to be ready to host our services in person, once again, when the time is right!

Once we do decide to re-engage with our in-person gatherings on the weekends, this will most likely be called, “Phase 1” of re-engagement from COVID-19.  This phase will look very different.  It will include strong safety measures to ensure your health and the health of others (sanitizer stations, masks available, cleanings before and after each service, and much more).  There will be strategic parking outside as well as traffic flow inside the building.  We’ll have a “wedding style” of seating as ushers help to navigate people to their seats with the goal of social distancing.  We’ll also have a “wedding style” of dismissal (row-by-row) in order to make sure we keep proper spacing between people.  

Even though we love to hang out and socialize with everyone before and after the services, there won’t be any congregating as we adhere to proper CDC recommendations and guidelines during this unique time.  We’ll encourage people to walk directly into the auditorium to experience the weekend service (through “wedding style” seating).  Then once the service is complete, we’ll ask people to walk directly to their cars (through “wedding style” dismissals) so that we don’t spread any contamination among our congregation.  

During “Phase 1” of re-engagement our children’s ministry, youth ministry, and Connect Groups will continue to happen online. No other gatherings will be held on campus during this phase.  We want to make sure we’re providing as safe and healthy an environment as possible for those who attend.  We will be doing church in a “simple” kind of way for an indefinite period of time as we gradually re-engage from COVID-19.  There is something refreshing about that, as we have the privilege of focusing our full attention on worshipping God and connecting with Him!  

In light of our “simple church” focus, this will also give people the chance to join some temporary volunteer teams that are specific to COVID-19 weekend service re-engagement.  So, it’s possible that you may have the opportunity to serve in a unique, interim role during this re-engagement season.  If this is something you are interested in, please let us know!  You can email us at hello@desmoinesfirst.org.  

We also realize in order to maintain proper social distancing, it will be necessary to have an additional weekend service as we enter “Phase 1” of re-engagement.  Therefore our weekend service schedule will be the following (once we begin our in-person gatherings again):

  • 8:00amTraditions Service 
  • 9:30amContemporary Service 
  • 11:30amContemporary Service 

With the unique experience of “Phase 1” of COVID-19 weekend service re-engagement, we realize that this may not feel totally comfortable for every individual and may not even be the healthiest or wisest decision for everyone.  Therefore, we will continue to have high-quality online service experiences throughout this time for you to receive ministry.  If you are in a high-risk age category or have an underlying health condition, we encourage you to enjoy the online ministry that we will be providing.  If you are feeling sick and/or have recently been exposed to the Coronavirus, we ask you to worship at home with us for your well being and everyone else’s as well.

We will continue to keep you updated on how we are navigating COVID-19 re-engagement and how things develop as we look to re-engage with in-person gatherings for our worship experiences and ministry.  Thank you for understanding.  We care about you and love you!  We’re also praying for you and your family!

God bless!

Pastor Cullen

Coronavirus Update

UPDATED APRIL 7 2020:

As we continue to move forward during the COVID-19 Pandemic we want you to know that all our services will continue to be online through the end of April. You can join us online or on Facebook for a Wednesday night prayer service at 7pm and weekend gatherings on Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 8:30am & 10am. We also have resources online for both kids and youth.

DSM First is now serving our city as a Crisis Food Distribution Center. We are storing, packaging, and distributing food for anyone experiencing food instability during this crisis. Our drive-thru food distribution is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:30am to 12:30pm. There’s also delivery available for those unable to leave their homes. Call the hotline at (515 957-2900). If you would like to volunteer to help with our Crisis Food Distribution Center you can learn more here.

UPDATED MARCH 16 2020:

In light of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and the health crisis that our community (and nation) faces, we have postponed our public gatherings until further notice.  During this time we are moving our Sunday services to an online format. Join us at 8:30am and 10am on Sundays for our weekly services and 7pm on Wednesdays for a weekly prayer meeting.  Use our website and Facebook to connect to these times of worship, ministry and prayer.

During a crisis, it’s natural to have many questions.  Here’s a quick guide to some common questions that you may have. 

Why are we making this decision to shift our gatherings to an online format at this time?

Our national, state and local leaders have requested that public gatherings be limited to a small number of individuals in order to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.  We want to honor our leaders and also do what’s best for the health of our city and community as well.


Are any activities taking place onsite at DSM First right now?

We have made a decision to postpone all onsite activities at DSM First at this time, EXCEPT OUR FOOD PANTRY, in order to promote the health and wellness of our church, community and city.  


Are we making decisions out of faith or fear?

We are approaching this crisis from a perspective of FAITH and WISDOM.  Not fear. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but power, love and self-discipline.”  So even when there is fear surrounding us, we can walk in FAITH in spite of our circumstances.  It’s even possible BY FAITH, to rise up in strength during times of trouble and challenge. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to, “…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” 

We also want to use the WISDOM that God has given us as well.  I like what Eugene Cho said about this topic. When churches choose to postpone their services and use online formats to gather, “it’s not an act of fear or panic.  Rather it’s an act of care – both for the church and for others.  For the healthcare system, for neighbors, and for the vulnerable. This is what it means to be for the common good and to ‘seek the peace of the city.’”

As we continue to walk in FAITH & WISDOM, we are praying for those affected by sickness, the medical community, and those in leadership roles making important decisions about the coronavirus. We are also praying for an end to COVID-19.  God is bigger than this virus and He is bigger than the fear that may try to overtake us! Let’s use this opportunity to exercise our faith as believers and encourage one another everyday!


How do I stay connected to my church family and those I’m in relationship with?

There are several ways you can do this:

    • Join our online services and prayer meetings
    • Be active and comment during our online Sunday services
    • Have your Connect Group meet online using a Facebook Group or Google Hangout
    • Start an online prayer group with those you have relationship with
    • Keep in contact with those you’re in relationship with using text, phone and video chat options

Is there anything for kids and youth?

Yes! Kids and youth have online lessons available.


How do I give?

You can use our secure online giving portal by clicking the button below. You can also set up automated giving options to make things easier. 


What if I need prayer?

If you are in need of prayer, please let us know. Click below to submit a prayer request or send an email to hello@desmoinesfirst.org


I have a need.  What do I do?

Are you in need of support?  Click the link below and let us know how we can help. 


What’s the best way to get real-time updates?

Follow DSM First on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK.

You can also follow Pastor Cullen on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK.