We believe there is only one true and eternal God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Gen. 1:1; Deut. 6:4; Ps. 2:7ff.; Mt. 3:16-17; Jn 1:1-18, 14:9-17)
We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is our final authority for faith and practice, entirely truthful and trustworthy. It must be interpreted responsibly under the guidance of the Holy Spirit within the community of faith. (Deut. 4:1-2; Ps. 119:160; Ro.15:4; Heb. 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:15, 3:16-17)
We believe God created humankind in the divine image. Through Adam's fall all became sinful, lost and condemned. Each human being, by deliberate choice, participates in sin and is in need of a relationship with God made possible by Christ's death and resurrection. (Gen. 1:26-30, Eph. 2:1-22; Rom. 1:19-32, :12-21)
We believe Jesus Christ is God's Son, fully divine and fully human, the eternal and preexistent Creator. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, suffered, died and rose again for the salvation of humankind. (Is. 53; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 1:1-3, 4:14-15; Jn. 1:1-3,14, 20:24-31)
We believe God, because of His great love for us, offers forgiveness of sin and the opportunity to live in right relationship with Himself. We do not earn God's forgiveness by good behavior. This salvation is received by human beings as God's unearned gift when they choose to turn from sin and place their trust in Jesus Christ. Doing this makes one a citizen of God's Kingdom, both now and in the everlasting future. It also enables believers to grow increasingly more Christ-like. (Mt. 26:28; Lk. 24:45-47; Jn. 3:16-18; Ro. 5:8-11, 6:1-7, 10:9-13; Eph. 2:8-9)
We believe the Church is a community of faith consisting of believers with Christ as Lord. Such believers claim a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ; follow the Lord in baptism; share in the Lord's Supper; and gather regularly for worship. (Mt. 16:15-19; Acts 16:30-33; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Eph. 1:22-23; Heb. 10:23-25)
We believe loyalty to Christ and compassion for our neighbors compels us to invite persons to receive salvation and follow Jesus as His disciples. As disciples, we seek justice for all persons and seek to transform society through Christ's love. (Micah 6:8; Mt. 5:13-16, 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Jms. 1:27, 2:8)
We believe Jesus Christ will return visibly, at which time He will raise the dead and judge all people. Believers will enjoy eternal fellowship with God as they participate in the fullness of His eternal reign, while unbelievers will suffer eternal separation from God. (Mt. 24:29-31, 25:31-46; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; Rev. 20:4-6, 11-15)
At Cornerstone, we are constantly focused and refined by what we call the Irreducible Core. In a sense, being the Church is quite simple. There are many good things that a church can do, but there are only a few that are of utmost importance. We regularly choose not to do the good things so that we can do that which is best. To miss or neglect these three irreducible components would be tragic. To do these well is the ultimate success:
"We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:19)
“Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart...soul...and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:37-40)
“Jesus said, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Cornerstone Church exists to “help people find the way.” Thus, we are guiding people along an important spiritual Journey (i.e. “The Way”). As we have been guiding people along the way we have noticed a common pattern. Consequently, we intentionally encourage people along this intentional spiritual maturation process.
The three phases along The Way
1. Loving God
Generally, the first stage of spiritual development is discovering God’s love and coming to the place of loving Him. As the Apostle John wrote, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:19). Engaging is when a follower is empowered and learning to Love God. This includes Evangelism (the Gospel being genuinely heard), Regeneration (the Spirit bringing us to life), Justification (the Father declaring righteousness), Adoption (acceptance as a child of God), and the beginnings of Sanctification (living in victory by the power of the Spirit).
During this phase, followers of Jesus begin to experience a relationship with God. They are learning to worship, pray, confess sins, read Scripture, etc. Consequently, Cornerstone actively seeks to provide engaging opportunities (ex. weekend worship services, Celebrate Recovery, Trunk or Treat) that help people to explore faith in Christ and make initial spiritual steps.
Loving God is definitely an exciting part of the way. This will only take you so far because engaging, alone, leaves a person individually-minded and spiritually immature. When only engaging, followers of Jesus spend most of their time describing their experience of faith with phrases such as “Jesus is my personal Savior” or “God provides all my needs.” In a word, Loving God, only, is all about “me”! Thus, the follower who continues to journey toward spiritual maturity needs also to begin Connecting.
2. Loving Others
The second stage of spiritual development begins as a follower discovers our need to experience and develop faith within community. Only in spiritual community will we begin to more fully experience the victorious life offered us. We are only one part of the body of Christ that is designed to function as a whole (see 1 Corinthians 12:12). We were not created to live as independent entities…we are designed to live within a cooperating fellowship. We see an amazing picture of fellowship within the community of believers in the early church (Acts 2:42-47). Furthermore, the Apostle John (see 1 John 3:16-18) makes it quite clear that if we fail to love others, we are failing to authentically love God. It is easy to love our perfect Creator. It is much more difficult to love imperfect Creations. Jesus said that loving our neighbor cannot be separated from loving God (Matthew 22:37-40).
When a follower of Jesus begins to effectively Loving Others, their experience of faith and spiritual maturation noticeably improves. You will often hear them speaking of the importance of their Home Team (which is our primary connecting ministry at Cornerstone). Because of the accountability and encouragement of a small group of disciples, measurable progress is seen in those who are now both Loving God and Loving Others. Generally, there is a significantly higher level of participation in and application of faith.
As disciples connect, it is exciting to witness them view life through the lens of community. They are now thinking beyond themselves (moving from “me” to “us”), but the focus is still much more about receiving than it is giving. Now, it is time to move from “us” to “them”…from “what we receive from God” to “what we can give to God and others. It is now time for the disciple to begin Making Disciples.
3. Making Disciples
The third and final aspect of this spiritual journey is Making Disciples. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Disciples clearly understood that Jesus expected them to do to others what He had done to them. Disciples of Jesus have experienced significant spiritual health and victory and now have a growing desire to live in spiritual victory and to help others discover and live the ultimate freedom of living as a servant of Christ. Making Disciples is personified by the lives of great teachers, pastors, elders, mentors, life coaches, rabbis and shepherds. In the past, Making Disciples has been left to the ministry professionals. “They” are the ones who are to help others come to and grow in faith. Nonetheless, fully (and faithfully) following Jesus has never been about where you make your living.
At Cornerstone, you will soon recognize those who are converging. They are actively serving, leading Home Teams, participating in discipleship, pouring their lives into others, and consistently displaying, in their attitudes and actions, the way of Jesus. No longer is life about what God can do for me or what others can help me attain, but now I am energized and fulfilled by helping others become disciples.