God has used Cornerstone in many ways over the years.
- Reaching students at UMKC
- Going to the Supreme Court for freedom on campus
- Helping people grow
- Sending and supporting missionaries
- Starting churches in Lee’s Summit and Belton
- Reaching international students
- Relationships – close and long term
- Family model of leadership
- Strong emphasis on God’s Word as the foundation of life
- Strong emphasis on Christ and His gospel of grace
- Strong emphasis on bringing the gospel to people locally and internationally
- Strong emphasis on prayer
Challenges we face
- American culture, including the Christians, is consumeristic.
- We don’t have the resources to meet any of the consumers’ demands.
- American culture is increasingly rejecting God.
- Fifty years ago much church outreach was based around a harvesting mindset.
- Today the ground is much more thorny and hard (except for immigrants).
Who we are not
We are not an attractional church. Many Americans are looking for one of the following in a church. When they find one or more of these qualities, that is where they tend to stay. But when their desires change, they will tend to look for another church that fits their present needs.
- Children’s program with a lot of kids and activities
- Student program with a lot of students and activities
- Good music with a quality band
- Gifted preaching
This style of church works together as a team to produce and maintain these programs. They work together to serve the people who come. A few who come are non-Christians, and some do accept Christ.
Leveraging our strengths
Our small church is built of strong relationships. One evidence of this is the amount of time we spend together after the service. How can we use this strength to reach people?
How we can use relationships to build the Lord’s church
- Build relationships with the extended body of Christ
- Other GC Churches
- Mission Southside
- The Sending Project
- Olathe Village Fire – monthly prayer for pastors
- Look for ways we can work together with the extended body of Christ
- We can unite together for a common outreach focus
Summary of where our church is at now
- Because of our special history and strong relationships, we would like to work together rather than all of us merging into other churches.
- We have special strengths, even though we can’t offer things that larger churches offer.
- Our model of church and outreach is counter-cultural (like swimming upstream).
- Breaking up hard ground and planting seed is a long process.
- We can’t predict the future.
How we can work together
Instead of trying to attract people to our service and programs, we can share the community we have with others. God always wants us to be salt and light to our neighbors, both at home and at work, but if we don’t work together with a common focus, it’s difficult for our neighbors to experience community.
Here are three possible models for how we could work together to bring spiritual community to a neighborhood.
Model A – We work together to build community somewhere and then some leaders from our original community continue on with the new community.
Model B – We work together to build community somewhere, and after that community is growing, we move our original community close to the new community so we can share in community life.
Model C – After Model B is accomplished, workers could go out to a new neighborhood to bring community to that new location.
Where to focus to build spiritual community
To the best of our understanding, the school district for Washington Elementary School in Olathe would be a good focus for building community. We think this for the following reasons:
- Close to where some CCC members already live (Nate, Dale, and D & K)
- Close to where CCC members already drive (Thompson Barn)
- Mission Southside is available to support our work
- Christians from other churches are helping us
- Maria, as manager of 32 apartments
- Kerri and Anita in Sta. Barbara
- This neighborhood has a higher concentration of people than most areas of the suburbs
- No other church is in this school district
- We have a variety of connections already
- Good News Club relationships with parents
- Relationship with management of Sta Barbara Homes
- Kids Club relationships
- School staff contacts
- Contacts through food distribution
- Visits with people in the neighborhood over the last year
Things we have done in the WES neighborhood
- Good News Club in the school for one year and in the Sta Barbara Estates for one year
- Homework club in the school for one semester a year ago
- Kids Club on Saturdays for all last summer
- Bible Club once a week for all last summer
- Food distribution monthly at the Covington Pointe apartments for one year
- Contacts through food distribution
- Dale is a member of a Bible discovery group for retired people in the Sta Barbara Estates
- Built connections with some residents
- Built relationship with Kerri and Anita, ministering at the Sta Barbara Estatates, from Heartland Community Church
Things we would like to do to meet the goals
- Have a home to use in the community where we could offer a variety of other services, such as the following:
- Examples of people who are living a servant life-style demonstrating the love of Christ in the neighborhood
- Discovery Bible study for interested people
- Game night for kids
- Place for kids to come for help with homework
- Location for Good New Club or any kind of kids activities
- A place for ESL help
- A place for music lessons
- A place where residents could come for help of all kinds (MSS resources, prayer, encouragement)
- A place where we could have regular prayer, which would be open for local residents to also join in
- Kids Club during the summer
- Eventually have a Discovery Bible Study that would grow into a discipleship group
- If God gives grace for a Discipleship group in the neighborhood, we would pray and find a way to move our church worship as close as possible to the neighborhood.
- If our original community and the new community could in incorporated, that would provide a basis for workers to go out and begin another new community somewhere.
Example of Jonathan and his armor bearer
The situation had become quite bleak in Israel under the leadership of King Saul.
- The Philistine culture was in control, not even allowing blacksmiths to make metal weapons (1 Sam. 13:19-21).
- Saul’s army had dwindled down from 330,000 (1 Samuel 11:8) down to 600 (1 Sam. 13:15).
- Enemy raiding parties were coming against Israel in three locations (1 Sam. 13:17-18)
In 1 Samuel 14:1-23 we read how God used Jonathan and his armor bearer to do a special thing in spite of the bleak circumstances.
- “Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” (1 Sam. 14:6)
- Jonathan and his armor-bearer experienced a special victory that opened the door for the rest of the army of Israel to have victory also.
Our desire for Cornerstone church members
- Pray about these possibilities, privately and corporately.
- TOP PRIORITY: Ask God if He would want you to move into the neighborhood or help someone else move into the neighborhood.
- Discuss these possibilities with each other and the pastors
- Consider signing up for three options
- Bible Club help weekly during the summer (Bible lesson, activities, games), time to be decided
- Prayer walk in the park nearby, weekly, time to be decided
- Gospel witness strategy (probably during Equipping hour in the summer)
Questions to address
- Do we want everyone to be involved? – Yes, by praying, but no, not everyone can commit to the activities.
- What about cultural differences? – This is part of learning to reach everyone in the lost world. The story Jesus gave of the Good Samaritan was a cross-cultural example.
- What about needs and weaknesses in our church? – The answer to this varies for each person, but part of the healing process for many is to be involved in other people’s lives.