Thursday, September 18, 2008

Elevated Now What?

Last year this time we saw a very disturbing trend at Cornerstone.  Our attendance had increased from 2006 to 2007 by a whopping 1/2 a person for the month of August.  As you can imagine, as a church we were in a crisis.  We had done what is referred to in church world as plateaued.  All churches experience plateaus, but we knew that for us to stop moving forward meant that we would eventually slip back and not accomplish the mission that God has for us.  The decision was made for us to take decisive action and address the problem at hand.

One of the major steps we took was to totally change the way we do our worship services.  To this point we had been blending contemporary praise with hymns.  We moved to give people more options to worship God in a style that is most in line with their culture.  Second, we moved our early worship from 9:30 to 8:15.  Though this is a bit illogical, we had unintentionally de-emphasized our Small Group.  We moved Bible Fellowship to 9:30 and now people can worship on either side of the Small Group time.  This allowed us to continue to make Small Groups the center of church life.  Third, we introduced Saturday night worship.  This by far has been the most influential as in 9 months time this service has grown from 0-over 40 weekly.  Fourth, we stopped everything to emphasize Jesus Christ.  Chapter by chapter through the gospel of John in Church and verse by verse through the Gospel of Luke in Bible Fellowship was a bit all eggs in one basket, but the Gospel is a very capable basket.  Reminding ourselves that Jesus is first, is something every church should do regularly.

So.... Now we have come to the end on John, this Sunday concludes the Gospel of Luke, and for all intents and purposes we have to check the gauges and see what God has done.  The only thing that I can say is amazing!  Looking at our numbers from August 2007 to August 2008 we have grown by 52%.  That means that every week 57 more people are attending church, hearing God's Word, and growing in their faith.    this numerical growth is the direct result of spiritual growth in our leadership, and membership.  God is doing amazing things in our church and we want to keep the momentum going.

Now comes Fall 2008.  This Fall & Winter we will experience some of the most exciting opportunities our church has ever seen.
1. We anticipate moving from the Elementary School Lunch Room to use of the entire Four Corners Campus with the completion of Community of Faith's new church building.  Construction is well under way and by the end of the year they should move out, giving us the ability to expand from a lunch room fire rated to seat 108, into a room large enough to seat 276.  This being said, the door will be wide open for us to continue to grow right where we are planted.
2. Along with this, we will see our rent and facility related expense double.  With additional opportunity, comes added responsibility.  I say this to say, keep on giving.  I know that things are tight, but the work of God through Cornerstone is made possible by your giving.  Yes, God could have decided to provide for ministry through any number of ways but He chose to do His work through your giving.
3. Pray.  Pray that we would continue to keep our focus on the glory of God by elevating Christ, our level of service as well as our community.  Pray that God will enlarge our ministry to meet the growing needs of Four Corners.
4. Get in, sit down and buckle up! - God has some amazing things on the horizon.  As soon as we have taken the step into the new space, we will begin the process of taking Cornerstone's next step and that will be the purchase of property for a building of our own.  Right now we have over $100,000 in the bank, and are ready to make a down payment, but we will shift into high gear on identifying property and gaining a foothold. We also anticipate the ministries of Cornerstone to continue to expand as we continue to grow.  For the first time our church will be taking a missions trip together in January.  I cannot think of a better way to start a new year.  No doubt there will be some bumps along the way, but Oh what a ride!