The Christian life cannot be accomplished in isolation. Therefore, there needs to be a way to develop interdependency with other believers. At Cornerstone there are a variety of ways to pursue this depth of community. At the core is Christ’s teaching that the greatest commandments are to love God and love people (Matthew 22:37-39). The pursuit of love and community are one and the same (Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 4:7). With that in mind, here is a summary of ways where people can begin to experience life together.
- Begin a relationship with God – A relationship with God is where true connection with other believers begins (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Unfortunately, this relationship can only begin if we are absolutely perfect (Romans 3:23); which rules out all of us (1 John 1:8). Even one mistake is enough to disqualify us and it even earns us a severe penalty (James 2:10-11; Romans 6:23). However, because of God’s love for us, He sent Jesus to pay that penalty and to make qualification available (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4-6). Now, even though we are imperfect, we can begin a relationship with God by believing that Jesus paid our penalty and seeking forgiveness from Him (Romans 3:21-25; 10:9-13; 1 John 1:8-10).
- Personal spiritual growth – A growing relationship with God is where a deepening connection with other believers develops (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Colossians 1:1-8). Every believer is to be active in their ongoing growth process by doing things such as applying truth, renewing their mind, radically amputating temptations, trusting God, and perfecting holiness (Romans 8:12-17; 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 5:28-30). Pursuing personal spiritual growth in an environment where others are engaged in their own personal spiritual growth will naturally lead to depth of community growth.
- Home Groups – The aim of these groups is to encourage the practice of the Christian life in community. This is accomplished through learning what it means to function in interdependent relationships and assisting one another in growth toward Christlikeness. The learning can be facilitated by 7 activities: spiritual formation, evangelism, reproduction, volunteerism, international missions, care, and extending compassion. Each Home Group is semi-geographical, multi-generational, and meets at least once a week.
- Men’s D-Groups – For many men, sustained spiritual growth is spurred on by the encouragement of others. These groups provide a weekly setting of 3-5 men who actively share struggles and victories, spend time in prayer, and study a variety of topics unique to the needs of each group. Community is born out of openness and making each others lives a part of every group member’s business.
- Women’s Bible studies – Ladies bible studies are a great place for women to connect with one another as they study God’s word and seek to apply it to their lives. These semi-regular classes are built around the needs of the women interested. Whether it is a topical study or a book study, you can be certain that participating in one of these studies will result in a memorable time of spiritual growth, deeper relationships with other women, and a growing depth in your prayer life.
- Women’s Fellowship Events – Bi-Monthly Fellowship Events for women are a time for ladies to come and connect with one another through fellowship and prayer. It is based on the belief that life is a journey that should not be walked alone and that women need other women in their lives in order to grow and change.
- Sermon Study Team – A significant aspect to biblical community is growing in our understanding of what God has told us in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The teaching given in the weekend services is aimed at increasing our understanding. However, it is the conclusion to a significant amount of hours of study. Participants in the Sermon Study Team, for any given week, gain a “back stage” perspective through an in-depth exploration and discovery of the passage under study.
- Become a Member – Another way to begin to discover connection at Cornerstone is to become a member. In the New Testament we see people being “added to” the churches in a way that models the idea of membership and caring for members (Acts 2:41, 47; 6; 1 Timothy 5). Membership at Cornerstone means that you able to participate and connect with one another in ways such as serving in leadership capacities and joining in the process of making church wide decisions. It also provides a form of accountability and encouragement for ongoing personal growth.
- Special classes – Periodically a need arises within Cornerstone that can be addressed with some specific biblical instruction in a classroom format. When this occurs a weekly (or bi-weekly) class will be held for a semester or two. In the past, there have been classes for biblical parenting, handling finances biblically, and theological studies. Community is developed through pursuit of common questions, discussions, and application of the teaching.
- Get involved in serving – Serving in the body of Christ is not optional, it is natural (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). Just as it is natural for our physical body parts to function in community with the others, so it is with us. The Holy Spirit has gifted each believer so that they may naturally function in the interdependency of the body of Christ. To not serve is unnatural. Therefore, by design, community is developed through each believer using their giftedness for the good of the group (1 Corinthians 12:7). For ideas on how to use your giftedness look through the “50+ Ways to Serve at Cornerstone Community Church” brochure.
- Campus Ministries – Being part of the body of Christ brings value to connecting with those who are in other life stages. Campus Ministries is one place where this cross-generational community can occur. Families can host college student lunches, bible studies, and other special events. College students can attend bible studies, participate in outreach events as well as other special events. Connection with students and with families can be developed through regular participation.
- Personal Initiative – The above programs simply provide platforms for community to be developed and experienced. In addition, every single believer can take certain initiatives that will lead to deeper community more quickly. These include purposefully practicing the over thirty “one anothers” found in the Bible, opening your home to individuals and groups, personal transparency (sharing the real you) around people, and personal dependency on others (let your needs be known). Our willingness to take initiative does play a role in the depth of community that we will experience.
For more information, talk with someone who has found ways to connect, submit a filled in information card that is attached to the weekly programs, and/or send an e-mail.