At Cornerstone, we believe the gospel stands at the epicenter of God's redemptive purposes. The gospel declares us to be "in Christ", and all that we do flows out of that identity. Our purpose and values reflect our understanding of the full-orbed gospel, and help us stay focused on what's important in the midst of a culture that wants to pull us in many directions.
"Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ." (Colossians 1.28, ESV) This was the apostle Paul's purpose in ministry, knowing it was only possible because Christ had died to bring about reconciliation.
The power of the gospel, which has taken us "from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son" (Colossians 1.13), is also the ongoing power to be renewed and made into the people God intends us to be. We want to be disciples of Jesus that mature in our faith, and disciple others to know, love and serve our King.
So then, our purpose is "to work with all the energy God gives us to present everyone to Him perfect in Christ Jesus."
Expression: Truth is found in the Word of God. God’s Word to us can be seen in both the revealed truth of the sixty-six books of Scripture known as the Bible as well as in the Person of Jesus Christ, the ultimate expression of truth about God. In the introduction to his gospel, John tells us, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known” (John 1:18). Since we can’t see God physically, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, so that we could both see Him and know Him. It is through Jesus Christ and the Scriptures that we can not only know about the one, true God, but we can also have a relationship with Him.
Extension: In a world of lies, where can people turn for truth? Our message is that truth can only be found in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. Since that is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to us, we will seek to build our church on these foundations of truth. Everything we do finds its ultimate power and purpose in God’s Word. We will teach it faithfully and completely, and we will proclaim it to the world with both grace and boldness.
Expression: When truth intersects life, change is always the outcome. Our desire is that encountering God’s truth will change the very way in which we live our lives. When asked what the greatest commandment in all of the Scriptures was, Jesus didn’t say, “You shall know many facts about God in a purely intellectual way.” No, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). We don’t want to just know about God; we want to know God personally and passionately. We want truth to set our hearts on fire with love for God so that we can see and savor Him, through Jesus Christ, for all that He is.
Extension: What does genuine, passionate Christianity look like? For far too many believers and non-believers alike, they cannot answer that question because they have never seen it. We want to cultivate genuine spirituality in the heart of each believer through Christ-honoring, biblically-based means. We will lift our hearts to Him in worship, and we will emphasize the importance of the spiritual disciplines - not out of legalism, but as a genuine reflection of the love we have for God in our hearts.
Expression: God has always had “a people.” Whether it was Israel in the Old Testament or the church in the New Testament, God has made it clear that He intended for His children to live in community. Perhaps the greatest expression of this desire comes from the lips of Jesus to all who would be His disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). The type of community we seek to develop does not find its basis in shared backgrounds, economic factors, or family situations, but in the bond of the Spirit that all believers share in Christ.
Extension: How do people from diverse backgrounds get along, much less love one another? Multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-generational unity seems impossible from a human perspective, and it is. That is the beauty of the church. In Christ, we share a bond that transcends all differences. Our desire is to encourage the bond of unity and love that we share in Christ through genuine friendships, personal accountability, and acts of love. We will live and minister as if the church is not about buildings and property, size and numbers, or programs and services, but about representing Jesus Christ in a shared life together that is centered around the gospel.
Expression: One of the most amazing comments that Jesus ever made about Himself can be found in Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The sovereign God of the universe, who spoke the world into existence and had lived for eternity receiving the worship and adulation of all, came to this earth in the form of a man - not as a king, but as a servant. He came to serve. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, a similar comment is made. Jesus “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). If our goal is to be like Jesus, then being a servant is not optional for us. The Scriptures command us to serve one another, as well as those around us who are poor and afflicted. While meeting the practical needs of people around us is not sufficient to bring them into a right relationship with Christ, it does open the door for the good news of the gospel to be both heard and seen by all.
Extension: Who did Jesus say would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? It was the person who was a servant of all (Mark 9:35). There is no room in the church for believers who only take and never give; who are served, but never serve others. That’s not Christianity - that’s selfishness masquerading as Christianity. Our desire is to cultivate a servant’s heart in each and every person to whom and with whom we minister. We will not limit our service to Sundays or to church-related events, but we will seek to make serving others a natural outflow of life in all areas.
Expression: Before returning to heaven, Jesus gave His disciples what we call the Great Commission. “And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age'" (Matthew 28:18-20). This isn’t a command for pastors or missionaries only. This is for all believers. Making disciples begins and ends with the gospel. It is through the gospel that people living in rebellion against God are changed from enemies of God into sons of God, and it is through the gospel that sons of God are made to look and live like the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Extension: How do believers live a “missional” life? They do it by purposefully seeing each and every encounter and event in life as being from the hand of God and then seeking to minister in that setting. We are being missional when we tell the neighbor going through a messy divorce that there is hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are being missional when we cut the widow’s grass and then use that small expression of love to tell her about the greatest act of love ever shown to any of us, Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. We will be missional in our living when we begin to see the encounters and events of our days as more than just random happenings, but as wonderful opportunities for ministry intentionally given to us by God Himself.