We are Cornerstone
We Want to meet you!
We have a place for you!
When Myron Deetz and Mike Derk met at Damon’s for lunch in August of 2009, they had no idea that the ultimate result of the meeting would be the creation of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. As they talked and sought the will of God in their search for a church home, the Holy Spirit led them to think about a home Bible study. Later, Myron also met with Harold Terry who echoed the desire for a Bible Study. It was that group of twelve people with similar desires that met at the home of Myron and Norma Deetz, to pray and seek God’s will. In addition to the Deetz’s, the group included Mike and Stacy Derk, Chuck Jenkins, Harold and Shirley Terry, Ted and Lois Price, Stacy Price and Ron and Bonnie Derk.
After a few meetings, there was a sense that God was working in much different ways than the group envisioned. More people heard about the Bible study group and wanted to attend, however, there was not enough room in anyone’s home. They prayed for guidance. Someone mentioned the possible availability of the Youth Center on the New Berlin Mountain Road. Contact was made and it was available Sunday mornings.
On Sunday morning, September 20, 2009, at 10:00am, forty-one people met at the Youth Center to worship and praise the Lord, study the Word, seeking His will and guidance. The Spirit was in the midst. It was agreed to continue to meet in the future and pray for wisdom and knowledge of the direction of God for this small group.
From the very beginning, the group began to grow, and the blessing of the Lord was evident in many ways. They modeled their gatherings after the first church in Acts 2 and focused on praise, prayer, fellowship, the Word and the sacraments. In everything, they sought the leading and presence of the Holy Spirit. Prayers were answered, people’s needs were met. There was a God-given unity, and the sense of family was evident. More people began to come.
On October 28, 2009, the group held their first congregational meeting to talk about what they felt God wanted them to do in the future. After much prayer and discussion, it was agreed that they felt God leading them to form a church and the name Cornerstone Christian Fellowship was chosen. They agreed to devote much time in prayer, seeking the leadership of the Holy Spirit and what his will was for them as they moved forward.
Shortly after that meeting, a member mentioned the availability of a church in the Buffalo Crossroads area. In November, they visited the property and were very excited about the possibilities. They prayed there for God’s will and agreed that everyone would spend serious time in prayer for two weeks, then voting on what to do. In two weeks, they came together, and the vote was unanimous not to purchase the property. Everyone agreed that as they prayed, they felt God had something else in store for Cornerstone. The unity of the believers and the evidence of the direction of God were very present once again.
During these early days the group was led in worship by Myron Deetz, led in Bible study by Ron Derk, and the sacraments by Truman and Betty Motter. A children’s program was developed and met in the kitchen of the Youth Center. The group was growing steadily and praying constantly for the guidance and will of God in everything they did. Potluck dinners at the gym were soon one of the staples of a heartwarming fellowship. On Sunday mornings, everyone pitched in helping to set up tables, chairs and a portable sound system before the services, and then take it down again after the service. There was an open atmosphere in the services where people shared their praises and their needs. It was the norm to gather around a Believer who had a need, lay hands on them as taught in the Bible, and pray. They often formed a large circle around the gym, now a church, and prayed for the needs of the people and the direction of the fellowship. God was working and many answers to prayer were experienced. Many praises were shared.
GOD IS WORKING
The year 2010 was a momentous one in many ways—spiritually, financially, and in the leading and presence of the Holy Spirit for Cornerstone. In January, Mike Derk presented an opportunity for the church to purchase a property at 205 Bull Run Crossing of approximately 3.3 acres with a 10,500 sq. ft. building. He shared a rough plot and building plan showing how the property might be used, and how an addition to the structure could create a sanctuary with seating for approximately 265 people.
The Steering Committee put together a presentation for the congregation, with some estimated financial information. This included a purchase price of $450,000 for the existing property (with a market value of approximately $500,000) and an estimate for $250,000 for the sanctuary addition, with a total cost estimate of $700,000. General information regarding possible financing options was also presented. The presentation was given to the congregation on February 21, 2010. After hearing the presentation and asking many questions, there was an incredible spirit and air of anticipation as people began to sense the leading of the Holy Spirit. Once again, everyone agreed to spend the next two weeks in prayer and fasting for the will of God, and then vote on what to do next.
Two weeks later, at the congregational meeting, there was excitement as folks asked additional questions, reviewed the plans again, shared thoughts and opinions regarding the potential purchase, and shared their prayer journey of the previous two weeks. When all hearts were clear, the congregation voted unanimously to move forward with the purchase of the property and follow the clear leading of the Holy Spirit.
Shortly thereafter, a Building Committee was formed to take on the huge task of developing official plans for the property and buildings. This included getting all required zoning, other government approvals, and presenting regular updates to the congregation. The Steering Committee agreed to begin to work with banks to identify where to get the best mortgage.
Mid Penn Engineering was selected as the engineering/ design firm and plans began for the property and buildings. Work continued throughout the winter and spring. Many meetings took place with a variety of governmental bodies. Those involved continued to be amazed at the ways God continued to open doors that even the engineers voiced would be very difficult. God was leading the way and the fellowship was following.
THE CHURCH IS BORN
On February 28, 2010, the group voted to have the original founding group act as a formal “Steering Committee” to be the guiding body, keeping things organized and moving forward as the Church group followed the will of God. Shortly after, two groups of eight to ten volunteers from the fellowship met to pray and create an official Organizational Structure and a Statement of Faith for the new congregation. After many meetings, much discussion and prayer, they successfully completed their work. Those original documents form the foundation for our current statements.
On April 26, 2010, the church was formally incorporated as Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. The Fellowship continued to enjoy the blessings and presence of the Lord, seeing continued growth. During this time, they began to reach out to retired pastors in the area to preach for them, including Paul Wislocky and Dave Kyllonen, who became a spiritual mentor to Cornerstone.
In the Fall of 2010 two landmark events took place:
1. On September 26, 2010, seventy-two believers were inducted as members of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship with Dave Kyllonen officiating.
2. Building plans were finalized and construction budgets developed preparing the way for closing on the property, along with the beginning of the construction process.
THE MIRACULOUS HAND OF GOD
The year 2011 opened with great news as the official bank closing on the new property took place on January 7, 2011, with a monthly mortgage of $3696. God was working in miraculous ways to meet the financial needs of the fellowship, including providing the sizable down payment, a significant cash balance in the treasury and a monthly income that would not only pay all of the bills, but allow the church to pay for most of the construction costs of the new sanctuary in cash. Once again, the Word of God regarding tithing was born out in the experiences of the congregation. Not only do most members of the congregation practice Biblical tithing, but the church also tithes all of its income to give to missions, the poor, and the needy. The result is God’s miraculous blessings.
The year 2011 included great work being done by different committees in developing all of the various plans for the church, meeting with engineers, government entities, contractors, and a variety of other tasks needed to get the building project ready. The Groundbreaking was held on September 25, 2011, with a host of people in attendance. It was followed by a huge potluck dinner on the new grounds. Then, the real work began.
GROWING AND DEVELOPING
The Fall of 2011 saw several additional significant events in the life of Cornerstone. On August 1, after much prayer, many meetings and discussions, the congregation felt led to create a spiritual Vision Statement as a guide in following the leading of the Holy Spirit, moving forward in the growth and development of the church. The most important thing for the church is spiritual health, not buildings and mortgages. This Vision Statement has been a critical guideline in the selection of a pastor, the development of various ministries, and outreach efforts of Cornerstone. On August 8, four people were accepted as new members.
This was a time of much activity in the preparation of the grounds, demolition of an existing large garage to make way for the new sanctuary, the hiring and supervising of multiple contractors, pouring foundations, erecting the new building, installing electrical systems, insulating, and the host of other needed tasks to get the building completed by the Spring of 2012. The Construction Committee handled the bulk of this work and great credit goes to Steve Bish, the chair of the committee, Darrell Yost, who volunteered all of his time as general contractor and Dan Bowman, who handled procurement and delivery of all materials. These men and the others on the committee worked long hours to make the project a success. In addition, the members of the Decorating Committee, the Kitchen Committee, and the Children’s Ministry Committee did a great job in developing and organizing their respective areas.
OUR FIRST PASTOR
In Fall of 2011, the congregation vote began in the process of calling their first pastor. This eight-month process was an incredible demonstration of the power of prayer and the wisdom of following the leading of the Holy Spirit. After receiving several hundred resumes, the congregation committed to prayer and fasting for the will of God to be done, while praying that none of their personal desires would interfere. Through a series of meetings, interviews and phone calls, including meetings with several of our fill-in pastors, the list was eventually narrowed to seven men. After more prayer and fasting, five of these individuals dropped out for a variety of reasons. At this time Alan Tucker, one of the fill-in pastors who had previously declined the position, called us to say that God had been prompting him to submit his name. More prayer. The remaining two men from the original list called to explain situations that had developed in their lives resulting in their having to withdraw from consideration as pastor of Cornerstone. That left one man—Alan Tucker. God had answered prayer and spoken as clearly as possible; Cornerstone had their first pastor! Pastor Alan was voted in by the congregation on May 20, 2012, by a near unanimous vote, was installed as pastor on June 3, 2012, and preached his first sermon on June 24, 2012.
MINISTRY AND OUTREACH
When 2012 dawned, the church was continuing to grow, prosper numerically, and thrive spiritually in the Youth Center, affectionately called ‘the gym.” More people were attending, two youth groups were actively meeting, a marriage enrichment group was meeting regularly, the church was supporting several missionaries, Cornerstone Cares had been formed to meet the needs of hurting people in the congregation and community, a choir had been organized and was singing for special occasions, and new speakers were sharing the Word with great insight. Prayers were being answered and God continued to be present in the services. Spiritual growth and outreach were developing.
Spring was a time for volunteers of the church to put on their work clothes and conquer all of the painting and finishing work in the entire building. Many hours were given and there were Saturday work parties with people of all ages participating. There was a great spirit of camaraderie and the fellowship during these times created unity. While several desired deadlines for completion were missed, everyone continued to work hard to bring the project to completion.
OUR NEW HOME
Finally, on Sunday August 3, 2012, two years and ten months since that first meeting in the Youth Center, the first service was held in the new facilities at 205 Bull Run Crossing with nearly 150 in attendance. The Spirit of the Lord was evident from the very first note to the final benediction. Many gave praise for the goodness and faithfulness of God during the journey. The choir sang their theme song “I’m Amazed,” and the Spirit broke through. Pastor Alan shared the Word and the new era had begun.
Cornerstone believes that only through prayer and diligently seeking the will of God, can anything great be done for the Kingdom. This has been proven over and over again in our three-year journey. God is and will always be in total control. When His people are yielded to Him, follow His leading and not their own wisdom, His blessings will follow.
Vision: We want you to meet, know, and walk with Jesus.
In essentials: Unity. In non-essentials: Liberty. In all things: Love.
We believe everyone has a place to serve. God has placed specific gifts in each of us and we would love to help you discover them.