Tag Archive - church

Everything Rises or Falls on Leadership :: Leadership Matters

Just thinking a lot lately about the value of leadership. John Maxwell once said, “Everything rises or falls on leadership”. This tells me leadership matters! So, I’m reposting something I wrote last year on this subject. Here you go…

Paul said in Romans 12:8 if we have the gift of leadership then we should use it and take the responsibility seriously!

if it is leadership, let him govern diligently (NIV)

If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously (NLT)

I am constantly aware of this verse as I, along with our staff and Executive Team, provide leadership for Cornerstone. Leading other people is serious business. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Really, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, leading other people is a high calling.

Jack Fisher our Administrator sent out this article from Forbes.com entitled “Rising above your job description“. I liked this author’s take on leadership,

“The first step toward real leadership is understanding that it isn’t about title or hierarchy. It’s about attitude, specifically having an attitude that puts people above all infrastructure and process, considering them the center of all activities, not part of the periphery. To a real leader, people are not the means but the end. Under that leader they do their jobs not because they should or must but because they want to and are passionate about it.”

While that’s true in the corporate world, in the church it holds special significance because we are leading people, in the eternal sense, to know and serve Jesus. So, God needs people in these important roles who have died to power, worldly significance, prestige, self-glory and “serve me” mentality. He is looking for true servants who have clothed themselves in humility and love, who can point the way toward the redemption that God offers through Christ. Before leaders in the church ask others to bow the knee to Christ, they need to have performed that act themselves. Our outward attitudes should convey clearly our inward convictions.

Please pray for our Executive Team and staff as we discern our next step as a church. There are some very exciting ideas brewing in the heart of this team. They have committed themselves to passionately advancing our mission under the guidance of God’s Spirit. They will need the support of the whole body as they lead us into the future.

See you under the ball!

An Example of Living out the Mission of the Church

Our Pastor of Connections, Josh Agerton, recently posted a great story on his blog called Living the Mission. I thought it really needs to be retold as much as possible. It’s about making Jesus real to people. So, here you go…

Living the Mission

So last night Leslie told me that Ms. Mary, the custodian where she works – Wrights Mill Road Elementary – came to her and said, “I need to talk to you about your church – Cornerstone.” Leslie’s first thought – “Oh no – what’s going on? What happened”. A little later in the day Ms. Mary came to Leslie and began to tell her story. Tears streamed from her eyes as she said, “Some people from your church came to my house last Saturday to help me.” She went on to explain how they stepped into her life simply to offer some help around her home on North Gay Street. They put on a new front porch, cleaned up the overgrown yard and told her they would be back in two weeks to keep their work going. She was completely blown away by this act of love and told Leslie how “I’ve never had anyone do anything like this for me before in my life.”

So after talking to a few more people I pieced together more of the story. Turns out it was a Small Group from Cornerstone that showed up at Ms. Mary’s house. They had been talking in their group about how they could go beyond themselves and serve the community in some way – specifically desiring to do something nobody else was doing. A few calls and connections were made that led them to meeting Ms. Mary – a hard working woman accustomed to helping others but doing little for herself. They asked her what her wish list was for her home and began to prioritize some projects starting with the front porch that was falling apart.

Amazing story here isn’t it. But what I love about this was the initiative that was taken on their own. It wasn’t directed by a church program or blessed by a staff person. It was just a normal expression of people following Jesus and giving their lives away for the sake of another. You could say that these people are living out the mission of Cornerstone – Leading People to Know and Serve Jesus.

I wonder what could happen in this community and our world if this kind of stuff became the new normal for small groups at Cornerstone? It’s definitely a picture of the church at its best and I pray that we see more of this among us in the future.

Leadership, Cornerstone, & Serious Prayer

Our leadership retreat last Saturday was great as usual. We talked about vision, strategy, leadership and how to better lead people to know and serve Jesus. Our church is blessed to have such amazing lay people and staff serving on the Executive Team (I’m just honored to be around this group!).

Please pray for this team! They love Cornerstone and the stories of people whose lives have been changed for eternity. They feel the burden of guiding this ship we call the church. They know the seriousness of plotting a course toward our future.

Please pray for our ministries. Pray specifically for our strategy to reach more people. Our leaders are working to simplify and streamline our processes. Pray for wisdom regarding the possibility of building a new facility to handle our growth. This will not be an easy decision and we want to be squarely in God’s will on this issue. Pray for our Sunday mornings that people would give their whole life to Christ. Pray for our small groups that people in our church would find relational connections and grow spiritually. Pray that more people would find a place to serve and partner with us in our mission. Pray for marriages to be strong. Pray for college students to maintain purity and be a light on their campus. Pray, pray, pray!!

FYI, Here are the members of our 2011 Executive Team…

Robbie Taylor – ET chair
Michael Moore – Lay Leader
Ken Lott – Personnel Team chair
Jason Belcher – Trustees Chair
Nic Cofiled – Finance Chair
Bruce Shelton
John Atkinson
Rebecca Gaston
Elizabeth Yost
Paul Hansell
Jennifer Stephens
Christopher Slagley
Lynn Blount – Secretary
Jack Fisher
Brian Johnson
Josh Agerton
Lee Cadden
Allen Whittaker
April Olive
Jill Harris
Julia Farrow

Cornerstone’s 2010 Leadership Team // Part 1

Just wanted to give you some information about Cornerstone’s 2010 leadership team. We are calling this group our Executive Team (formally known as Executive Council). Their purpose is as follows,

“The Executive Team is responsible for giving overall direction and guidance to every aspect of our church’s life. This team is charged with passionately advancing our mission of leading people to know and serve Jesus by protecting our values and beliefs, following our commitments and trusting in God’s leadership.”

This is the same purpose they have always had, just under a different name.

The members of this team are:

Frank Oprandy – Executive Team (ET) Leader

Rebecca Gaston – ET Secretary

Robert Taylor – Lay Leader

Jason Belcher – Trustees Team Leader

John Feehan- Personnel Team Leader

Nic Cofield – Finance Team Leader

John Atkinson – ad hoc

Paul Hansell – ad hoc

Michael Moore – ad hoc

Bruce Shelton – ad hoc

Christopher Slagley – ad hoc

Jennifer Stephens – ad hoc

Elizabeth Yost – ad hoc

Amy Coxwell – staff

Michael McClendon – staff

Julia Farrow – staff

Jill Harris – staff

Brian Johnson – staff

Jack Fisher – staff

Josh Agerton – staff

Rusty Hutson – staff

We will soon have their pictures, biographical information and ET role description on our website. This team is here to serve the church! Please encourage and pray for them often.

See you under he ball!


Recap of “TEN” and Cornerstone’s Anniversary

Our tenth anniversary celebration this past Sunday was amazing! It was so good to take a minute as a church and just appreciate what God has done in the life of Cornerstone. I still connect with that passage from 1 Peter 2:4-6 as much today as I did ten years ago…

“As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him–5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
When you do church in a skate center, this verse is very important! It is a reminder that church is not about a building, it’s about people. The building is just a tool for evangelism. In light of this I remain forever grateful to every person who along the way has been a “living stone” placed here by God to do His work. It has been a crazy, exciting, scary, incredible, exhausting, unbelievable journey!

I am equally excited about what’s in store for us in the years ahead. Like the prophet proclaimed in Isaiah 42:9,

“See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”
New things are on the way for Cornerstone. I am praying for us as a church and asking God to do greater things. I hope you will pray this with me!

Well, that’s it. See you under the ball!

It is Our 10th Anniversary at Cornerstone!

WOW, just WOW! I cannot believe our church’s 10th anniversary is this Sunday! As I think about my message for this special occasion I thought I would just give you a little preview of what you will hear.

Skate center, disco ball, smells, noises, uncertainty, faithfulness, commitment, free skate nights, packed trailers, “Cletus” videos, worship, loving people, difficulties, perseverance, salvation, baby pool baptisms, free bottled water, free movie nights, Ecuador missions, Vacation Sunday, Trunk R Treat, groundbreaking, 20 acres, $1.2 million, sacrifice, new building, sausage biscuits, vision, believing, creativity, KidzTown, Seaside, Youth, College, Pay it Forward, community, giving, grace, Cindy Wall, Buloba, Uganda, Hiram pulls a bus, the playground, the Well, the children, Patrick, Sarah, Eva, Isaac, Zariah, Jesus, love, hope, partners, Gospel, Leading people, knowing, serving, 10, church, Cornerstone, one, you, us.

Today as we celebrate 10 years of ministry here is East Alabama and around the world, I am reminded and humbled in the presence of the God who is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, who holds the keys to life itself, who is the keeper of gates and doors through which we have passed, are passing and will pass. He is the God who decided this church should exist. He gave us the power and focus to stay true to our mission and vision. He is the reason we can celebrate the last ten years, he is the reason we celebrate the right now, and the incredible future He has in store for the people and ministry of Cornerstone Church. Personally I am so grateful on this special day to be a part of this movement.

I could never have imagined the night before our first worship service, nervously sitting at my desk, so much would happen in ten years. I couldn’t get beyond the next morning. I couldn’t get out of the bathroom! I remember my prayer went something like this, “Oh God, if you don’t make this happen it will never work.”

God has certainly done more than I could have asked or imagined through Cornerstone. I am deeply thankful for every person who gave, served, sacrificed, loved, worked, prayed and were faithful to helping us move forward. It has been an amazing decade. But, we will only look back for a moment. We have always been a church that kept our vision forward. I am more excited about the Kingdom work that has yet to be done!

So, come join us this Sunday as we celebrate ministry past, present and future.

Render Unto Who???

So, are you paying attention to what is happening in our country? With our Leaders? With our tax money? Are you mad? Frustrated? Are you hopeful? Are you glad? Do you think finally somebody’s doing something??

All of this is fine. BUT, let’s not get to distracted. Let’s not lose sight of the main thing. Proverbs says:

many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails

The government will never provide ultimately what people need. It will never give people ultimate hope or a life beyond this earth. The government is supposed to be a servant of the people, but it can never teach us or lead us to truly serve another person. I believe in government, because people must be governed. But it’s only because of the Fall and sin that it has to be this way. In a perfect world God is our national leader and we follow Him and honor Him with our service, money and loyalty. More time, energy and passion given to loving and serving Him will bring true change.

Just what I think.

Luke 20:21-25

They questioned him:

Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

He saw through their duplicity and said to them,

“Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. He said to them, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Lumination // Genuine Fellowship and Connection

I’ve been reflecting on our men’s retreat from this past weekend in light of our church’s “Illuminate” theme for this year.  Men came together for genuine fellowship, connection, learning, and sharing about real life stuff in their lives. They put their guard down and allowed Jesus to lean it to their hearts. It was good.  The light was bright. Thanks guys.


Good Things Happening in Our Church

Just loving all of the good things happening around our church right now.

For example, the kickoff for our Journey Bible Classes last Wednesday. “Wow”, “great”, “just what we’ve been needing”, etc. etc. These are the comments I heard after that night. I’m so proud of Josh who led the study! He did a great job. I was watching him up there on stage leading, teaching, encouraging and engaging the 200 people that were present and I thought, “man he is in his ‘sweet spot’ right now”. Josh does many things very well, but this stands at the top of his gift chart. If you weren’t there you missed it! It’s ok you can still jump in this Wednesday. Good stuff.

Also, Sunday mornings. Are there challenges with 2 packed services? YES. Do we need to be patient and get creative? YES. But, I have enjoyed Sunday mornings lately about as much as any time at our church. It’s exciting to see all the activity, to walk around and see people smiling and serving. To watch Brian (and his team) lead with amazing passion, to experience the graphics and lighting (thanks to Dan the AV and IT crew!).  I love it!

Last thing, the “First Saturday”. Even though I was in bed trying to recover from some type of sinus disease, I heard it was awesome. There’s nothing better than people coming together to get the focus off of themselves and serve others in our community. This is what followers do. We imitate Jesus. This is what Jesus did. You gotta love it. I know I do!

I Love My Church, That’s All

I love my church!!

Just wanted to declare that. I love the people I work with. I love that they are real. I love that they work hard (even when no one’s looking). I love our volunteers. I am inspired by their amazing sacrifice and commitment to leading people to know and serve Jesus (our mission). I love that God pours out His grace continually on us. I love that lives are being changed by Jesus. I love that people love our church and have made a serious commitment to be a part of it.

So, what I’m saying is, I love my church – that’s all.