Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Jan 4
2018

New Connect Group Begins January 10th

Community | by Pastor Craig Sturm

Friends,

I hope you’re doing well and enjoying God’s gift of a new year!

As you plan and establish rhythms for the new year ahead, I want to encourage you to prioritize the local church and create space for God-centered, biblical community in your life. It’s our desire to see all our people connecting, sharing life, and forming communities that are deeply rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We’re excited to launch a new Connect Group format to help foster this type of community and invite those who are brand new with DCC or have been participating with us for a while but have yet to get connected to community to jump in. The Winter Connect Group is kicking off on Wednesday, January 10th and is a great opportunity for those looking to build meaningful relationships within our church body!

The Connect Group is an introductory, 8-week group on Wednesdays at 6:30pm where you can meet new people, learn about biblical community, open and discuss the Bible, pray together, develop meaningful relationships for yourself and your family, and learn how to take steps for connecting with a long-term Cornerstone Community. The primary purpose and hope for this time is…

  • Belong. Providing a place for you to begin to build meaningful relationships for the purpose of discipleship.

  • Discover. Laying a foundational understanding and giving you a hands-on taste of biblical community.

  • Grow. Providing encouragement and steps for connection into a long-term Cornerstone Community.

Whether you’ve tried to jump into a Cornerstone Community before, had a hard time getting connected, or want to take the next step of getting plugged into meaningful relationships with our church, we invite you to jump into the Winter Connect Group.

Learn more about the content & schedule, and register here. Have questions? Email community@downtowncornerstone.org and we’ll follow-up!

Expectant and prayerful,

Pastor Craig Sturm

Nov 30
2017

Stories of Grace | A Mighty Love

Community, Stories of Grace | by Anne Johnson

“The Stories of Grace series is intended to capture snapshots of God’s grace and glory amidst our every day lives. They are real stories of real people who have seen the fingerprints of God amidst the ordinary—God’s favorite canvas. Each story is personal, unique and, often, unfinished. Through it all we get glimpses of God’s steadfast love, sufficient grace, and ongoing presence with his people.”

Walking through the book of Job and seeing the affliction and suffering he experienced, I’ve been reflecting on the story that God’s been orchestrating in my life. Like many, it has included several helpings of trials, pain, and suffering. There’s a sign in Swedish’s Cancer Institute office that says, “Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” Cancer is one of the major fears of our modern American culture and most people have been touched by it in some way or another, including me. I am two and a half years out from my diagnosis of cancer. Two years after my last chemo treatment and one and a half years out from my final radiation session. A friend asked “what do you think is the biggest thing you’ve learned through all this?” There are layers of what I’ve learned and, Lord willing, will continue to learn for years to come. But in the interim, I’ve learned about the Church and God’s power to move through it when we are willing to obey. When the Church keeps “fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV), we are able to accomplish such grand things through Him who strengthens us.

I thought I knew what community was. I thought I grasped everything that God had to offer through His Church. After all, I was living in Christian community and had helped lead community groups. Service was one of my love languages and I’d always had a heart for social justice. But the riches of Christ are unsearchable (Ephesians 3:8). There is no end to the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end, which is to say He is always (Revelation 21:6). It will take an eternity to try to understand what I thought I had on lockdown after little more than a decade of following Christ.

When I reflect on my cancer treatment, there is pain, both physical and emotional. There are moments that I hope never to experience again and pray no one else would have to endure. Make no mistake, it was not fun. But what comes into focus much more sharply is Love. Not the word love that we throw around when we talk about our favorite foods or movies. I am talking about Love that came incarnate through Christ. I am talking about the Love of a community that brought countless meals and shuffled children around. I am talking about the Love of a care package with all of the cancer essentials because friends cared enough to research what was best. I am talking about the Love of a 10 year old son who prayed every night that I would be healed from my cancer. I am talking about the Love of friends who changed a cross-country motorcycle trip they’d been planning for six years to better care for me and my family. I am talking about the Love of a community who asks how they can pray for you and actually prays with you in the moment. That is not the love we give to things of this earth. That is not the love that comes from human “kindness”, but the Love that is only possible through Christ Jesus our Lord.

I can only hope that I would be able to proclaim this great news had the cancer still been ravaging my body. I am healed in my body of a disease that threatened to take my life, but moreover I stand healed of the sin that threatened to take my soul, which is of immeasurably more worth and value. So my boast will not be in the healing of my body from cancer, but my boast will be in Christ who lives and reigns and invites me into eternal joy and life with him whether I die tomorrow or in 40 years. Like Job, my suffering helped me turn my eyes upward, fixing them on the Living God, and I’m praising Him all the more.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

– Anne Johnson, DCC Member

If you are a member with DCC and have a story of grace to share please email info@downtowncornerstone.org

Nov 15
2017

Supporting Families and Children in Foster Care

Community, Foster Care, Service, Stories of Grace | by Anne Johnson

“Take up the cause of the fatherless.” Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

November 12th was Orphan Sunday, a day when the Church stands up for the orphan. November is also National Adoption Month. As of July 2017, there were 1,460 children in foster care in King County, and about 8,800 children in foster care across the state of Washington (more statistics here). Our church family hopes to rally around these children and the families directly supporting them, bringing and being Christ to them in their isolation, fear, and uncertainty.

Caleb and Leah Gross, members of Downtown Cornerstone, have experienced first hand the joy, heartache, difficulty, and miracle of welcoming foster children into their home. Leah was familiar with foster care and adoption through her previous church and had a strong desire to be involved after seeing the great need for homes and foster parents. When they got married, Caleb was still getting used to the idea of foster care.

The Grosses reached out to us as we had gone through the process to become licensed and had been fostering for a short time. We shared our story of how God grew our desire to foster parent and our experiences with the fostering process. We met with Caleb and Leah a number of times over the course of several months. They helped care for our kiddos in foster care and brought us meals during transitions. It was remarkable to watch their hearts grow for children stuck in the foster system and become increasingly confident in God’s sovereignty and goodness for their life.

The Grosses became licensed through the state with relatively few hiccups and have since welcomed two kids into their home. When things got difficult, as they inevitably do, we met together, we encouraged one another, we cried together. We left that place more confident in the call to which Christ has called us.

“Is this the most comfortable or most convenient life? No. But if we’re followers of Christ, comfort isn’t the point at all. Rather joining in the work of bringing redemption and hope to the brokenness and darkness. In the meantime we are sanctified and are touched with new awareness of God’s love for us, His heart of mercy, and His compassion towards us. He is our good Father. If we get the honor of being a father or mother to those without, why wouldn’t we?”

Their story continues. The day in and day out of caring for children, going to appointments, attending court dates and bio-family visits, checking in with social workers, etc. We are here to support one another, spur one another on, and remind each other what Christ has done for us and the life for which He saved us.

DCC ENGAGEMENT

DCC has been engaging with the foster care system for a number of years. During the 2014 and 2016 Advent seasons, we ran clothing drives for the foster youth in King County. We collected over 1,000 pieces of clothing! These clothes were distributed to kids in need of comfort and necessities. Learn about opportunities to help support foster families this season here.

  • The Capitol Hill North Community supports a ‘Fostering Together’ support group by providing childcare and dinner every month to the foster families who attend.
  • The Foster Support Faith Alliance (FSFA) is a ministry of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. The FSFA connects local churches wanting to engage the foster care system with the agencies and foster families in need of volunteer service. I have the opportunity to represent DCC as well as facilitate the local chapter of FSFA. We partner with the King West Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) office which is less than a mile away from our church building. We’ve partnered with the office in numerous ways to support foster families, bio families, and social workers.
  • On September 30th, DCC hosted a Caregiver’s Evening Out event. Foster, adoptive and kinship care parents were able to enjoy an evening to themselves while we cared for their children. Thirty-five volunteers welcomed 40 children from 18 families, prepared dinner, played games, made crafts and tangibly loved these families involved in foster care. We were also able to provide goodie bags for all the parents. For various reasons, many of these families don’t have opportunities like these to take time for themselves. The families were so grateful and appreciative for the special night we helped facilitate for them!

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

“I could never do that”, “I want to but would get too attached”, “They are so lucky to have you”. Many people don’t understand who can or can’t become a foster parent or the multitude of other ways you can support the fostering community.

We are holding a Foster Care Info Session & Viewing on November 19th at 1pm and will share specific ways to get involved. We’ll also watch the ReMoved films to give insight into foster care and will have time for discussion and questions.

If you are interested in attending or would like to find out more about foster care opportunities, please contact Ben and Anne at mercy@downtowncornerstone.org.

For His glory,

Anne & Ben Johnson
DCC members & foster parents

Sep 7
2017

Stories of Grace | Planting Roots in a Concrete Land

City Life, Community, Kids, Stories of Grace

“The Stories of Grace series is intended to capture snapshots of God’s grace and glory amidst our every day lives. They are real stories of real people who have seen the fingerprints of God amidst the ordinary—God’s favorite canvas. Each story is personal, unique and, often, unfinished. Through it all we get glimpses of God’s steadfast love, sufficient grace, and ongoing presence with his people.”

People have places and place yields meaning; it’s easy to forget. Rivers have beds, houses have foundations, kings have thrones, and planets have orbits. Adjust any of these places and you will find fundamental shifts in the meaning and expression of the object. People aren’t all that different. Christian people are called to be pilgrims, to seek, but even we have places along the way. Like Florida, for instance.  

Florida — sunny, humid, beautiful, and weird, was home to my wife and me for the first three decades of our lives. Like all good Florida kids we knew the smell of suntan lotion from the earliest of ages and could pick out the venomous snakes from the harmless varieties. Yes, the logs have eyes and are called alligators, not crocodiles. Florida had family and friends, thirty years’ worth. It was our place. And we left it for Seattle.

More specifically we left a four-bedroom home in a subdivision on a cul-de-sac with three kids in tow and moved to a two-bedroom condo in a downtown neighborhood. Then we added another kid. Suburban to urban, cicadas to cyclists, red to blue, known to unknown. Why? The driving impetus behind the cross-country relocation was a call to serve a young classical Christian school in the heart of the city. But that’s not the part of the story we want to emphasize. Rather, we want to tell you about living through this call, what we as a family have experienced, and how Jesus has continued to demonstrate His kindness.

When others discover our living situation, family of six residing in downtown Seattle, they tend to focus first on what must have been sacrificed. Our people back in Florida typically note the amenities we no longer possess: multiple vehicles, expansive square footage, expendable income, a yard. Progressive neighbors either don’t know how to process the parade of children perpetually accompanying us or openly marvel at our choice to plant roots down here where dogs outnumber kids 2:1. Conservative neighbors, likewise, question the wisdom of exposing children to the vanguard of cultural redefinition. It’s not surprising that a person’s first reaction is shaped by the difference in their position compared to our own. But our experience has not been dominated by missing pieces or dysfunction. In truth, we have known community, family unity, and purposefulness unlike any other time in our marriage.

Seattle became home for us largely through our Cornerstone Community. Members of the church community, people we had not yet even met, were here on day one helping us to unload our moving truck. These friends have told us to go out on dates and freely babysit our children, approach us with straight exhortations from Scripture, invite us to know their hopes and hurts, and have effectually knit us into this place. It’s common to head out on the sidewalk and spot someone we recognize or hear our names called out by a passerby. Our children see firsthand how other adults in seasons similar or dissimilar to their parents seek to follow and serve Jesus. We couldn’t imagine leading life here apart from our Cornerstone Community.

One of the most common perceived drawbacks about family urban living we have heard is the concern over too little space. Surprisingly, not least of which to us, are the gifts we have enjoyed as a result of proximity both in and outside the home. Within 950 square feet it’s tough to avoid one another. But this closeness means we have to live life among each other. Contentious problems are rarely left unresolved, challenges with the kids are discovered early; it’s hard to keep skeletons in your closet when you don’t have any closet space. The absurdly restorative message of the gospel must, therefore, be present often.

As we strive and struggle to follow Jesus and raise up our children in the instruction and admonition of the Lord we find that our home in the city demands purposefulness. This is not to say that living with purpose is solely relegated to urban life. However, culture, what people do with creation, is typically innovated in the city. As our family encounters developments both beautiful and ugly we are pushed again and again to send roots down deep into the Truth and Goodness of God. Divisions, disparity, images, stories, change, appearance all vie for a place to stand in our hearts and the souls of our children. And we have the amazing opportunity to seek His kingdom amongst our diverse neighbors! Shoot, do you know the parental training opportunities provided by a protest? The old Story proves fresh, resilient, and life-giving over and in the pulsations of the city.

God was good to us on the cul-de-sac and He’s been good to us in the city. I don’t think our story is all that exceptional or inspiring, but it is true. Make our story less peculiar. Consider planting roots, sticking around, and raising your kids here as well. The challenges are real, but our Father loves to give good gifts. His church is called to bear and bequeath the beauty of Jesus in every square inch of this world.

– Luke Davis, DCC Member

If you are a member with DCC and have a story of grace to share please email info@downtowncornerstone.org

Aug 28
2017

Stories of Grace | An Unlikely Door

Community, Stories of Grace

“The Stories of Grace series is intended to capture snapshots of God’s grace and glory amidst our every day lives. They are real stories of real people who have seen the fingerprints of God amidst the ordinary—God’s favorite canvas. Each story is personal, unique and, often, unfinished. Through it all we get glimpses of God’s steadfast love, sufficient grace, and ongoing presence with his people.” 

When I became a foster parent two years ago, I anticipated changing relationships: a new relationship with a child, her family, social workers, and even changes in my own family relationships. What I did not expect was a dramatic change in my relationship with the church body.

As a single, childless adult, I was (or thought I should be!) pretty self-sufficient, more in a position to give than to receive. However, when I received my first foster placement, I was thrown into an uncomfortable position of neediness. I needed baby clothes, supplies, advice, prayer… I needed a door.

In order for my foster daughter to remain with me past infancy, I was required to install a partition door in my apartment. As a deer-in-the-headlights, sleep-deprived, carpentry-clueless, first-time single parent, I wasn’t going to pull this off on my own. I humbled myself, became vulnerable, and asked my church family for help. I was overwhelmed by the love I received. Two men gave up a Saturday with their families to construct a sliding door. Other people in the church, whom I knew only by name, brought a crib mattress, baby carriers, clothes, and a diaper bag.

In receiving these gifts, I was surprised to find that the greatest blessings were not the need met, but the deep bonds of affection that the love of these people called forth in me. As I opened myself to the love of the church, I experienced, in a new way, the love of Christ himself. In fact, I had been caught up in an out of control love spiral; as the love of Christ moved me to pour myself out in love for a child, I was filled to overflowing by the love of Christ through the love of the church.

This is the mysterious trinitarian love economy that Christ prayed we would experience in John 17:20-23: “…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

Isn’t it amazing that Jesus says our love for one another preaches the gospel to the world! Truly, our Father delights to bring marvels from mustard seeds, from a licensing requirement for a door, to unleash a deluge of love and proclaim his glory to the world.

– Adrienne Haass, DCC Member

If you are a member with DCC and have a story of grace to share please email info@downtowncornerstone.org

Jul 17
2017

Building Community in Green Lake

Community, Discipleship | by Pastor Craig Sturm

Downtown Cornerstone is a community of communities scattered throughout the city, declaring and displaying the gospel of Jesus Christ in relationship to each other and the city. These are communities of diverse, imperfect people that are committed to living out the implications of the gospel in every sphere of life.

These are communities that eat together, pray together, laugh together, and study the Bible together – in essence, share life. These are communities that build up the church by encouraging people to faith in Jesus Christ and build up the city through deeds of justice and mercy. These are communities where you can be who God created you to be, yourself.

This month, we launched a new community in Green Lake! Taylor Hawkins will be leading the new community, so we asked him to answer a few questions about the people, vision, and prayer requests for the Green Lake neighborhood and community.

Q. What is your vision for the Green Lake community?

We want to cultivate a culture transparency, a culture that allows you to come and be real. (1 John 1:7) As we grow in our love for Jesus and one another, we want to be on mission together as well. Our desire is to be active in the community of Seattle (parties, parks, concerts, bars, restaurants, etc.) and create social gatherings that are easy to invite non believers to. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Q. What are you excited about in launching this new community?

We’re excited about creating our own community culture that seeks to build up one another in our faith and be on mission together in the city of Seattle. Our desire is to make much of Jesus in our lives and see others come to know him.

Q. Who will be a part of the Green Lake community?

Our core group is currently comprised of young professionals. Though much of our community is in a similar life stage, we’re open to any Seattleites that want to partner with us in their walk with Jesus.

Q. Any specific ways we can be praying?

Pray that God would show up and do what he does best, transform lives and bring about redemption. We’d like to grow in our personal walks with Jesus and see him open up opportunities for us to be a light to those walking in darkness.  

If you are not currently participating with a DCC Community and would like to be involved with Green Lake or another community, email community@downtowncornerstone.org.

Jun 8
2017

4 Keys to Engaging the Conversation of Racial Reconciliation

City Life, Community, Discipleship, Global Issues | by Jevon Washington

DCC Family,

Thank you very much for our time last Sunday as we considered what God’s word has to say about race, racial reconciliation, and the reconciliation of all creation by our good King Jesus. In response to the sermon and God’s Word, I want to offer you four practical, actionable things we can all do as we seek to live out the reconciliation of Jesus along with a list of resources for us to grow in our understanding of what the gospel has to say about race.

#1 TAKE A HEART INVENTORY

Before we engage the conversation of practical steps in the area of racial reconciliation, we must first inspect our hearts. We must invite the Holy Spirit to do heart surgery on us and remove any defects of racism, bitterness and put in a pacemaker of grace, love, and peace. Only the Holy Spirit can keep the heart attuned with the rhythmic heartbeat of repentance. When our hearts experience the irregular heartbeat of racism and stereotypes, we are reminded by Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf. We did not deserve God’s grace, but He is rich in mercy decided to love us. Acknowledging our racism, our indifference toward those of differing ethnicities, is a gift from God. Repentance is not a punishment, but it is a gift that brings joy to the heart and dependence upon the character of God. A heart that puts itself above the reach of the sin of racism may be at danger for far more types of sin. Being found guilty of the sin of racism is not the worse indictment upon a person, being found without a relationship with Jesus is. Since there are no people immune to the sin of racism, we must do the work of a heart inventory if we are to live out the lives God has called for us to live.

#2 RUN TO THE CONVERSATION, NOT AWAY FROM IT

For my white brothers and sisters: It could be so easy to run away from this topic for many reasons. One reason I have often heard times is like fear of not knowing what to say. Don’t be afraid of asking what you think may be a “dumb question” to not offend someone. The honest truth is that at some point you will offend and say something that could be hurtful or misunderstood, but this is part of the conversation process. In the conversation process, seek to understand, and not just empathize. Understanding the issues and pains cause enables you to act on behalf of those who are suffering from racial injustice or experiencing racial fatigue which is the tiring day in and day out reality and fight an ethnic minority endures for life. We have two ears to listen twice as much as we talk. Remember the end zone is not our comfort but our growing understanding of the of how the gospel applies to the areas of racial reconciliation.

For my brothers and sisters of color: be patient with our white brothers and sisters and be prayerful about the root of bitterness that Satan would seek to plant in our hearts & remember that God can and will sustain us in this battle to be seen by all as God’s image bearers.

#3 TAKE THE POSITION OF A LEARNER

Any reconciliation disconnected from the bible is not true reconciliation. The work of reconciliation has been done by the reconciler of all things, Jesus. You did not have to be an expert in sociology to engage this issue of racial reconciliation. You need only be a disciple of Jesus in a learner who lives life in the posture of humility. When our hearts and our lives are submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ, everything we value as important is affected. We must be students of God’s Word because God’s Word by the power of His holy spirit is the teacher that guides us and how we are to apply the gospel healing balm to an infected and healing wound of Racial Injustice in our country and our churches. Don’t look for someone else to teach you about the problems of racial injustice but take the initiative to engage it. Once you become a student of the issues at hand, you must become a teacher and educate those who are ignorant in the area of the racial histories in our country that got us here today and how Jesus calls for his people to engage it. There is a grip (that means a lot) of great books and resources available to help you learn and navigate your time as a learner. Humility is the best posture for learning.  

#4 CREATE MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS

Segregated relationships lead to segregated lives, dinner tables, and churches. If Jesus’ work crosses across cultural and ethnic lines how much more are we as His disciples invited to live in light of this truth? Interrogate your cell phone address books and calendar and check how many of the people you hang out with are the same ethnicity and culture as you? It is most likely that the reason why the conversation of race seems foreign and not understandable is that you have rigged your life void of meaningful and diverse relationships. Having a “______ friend” is not enough to live in light of the cross of Jesus. To build cross-cultural friendships you are going to have to engage movies you have never seen, music you have never heard, food that you’ve never eaten and activities you have never done. I kid you not, as of right now some of my white brothers is trying to get me to rock climb. Needless to say, I have no desire in my body whatsoever in my body to EVER climb a rock, but to build genuine relationships, I must be challenged and brought out of my comfort zone. Ask yourself “what are some ways that I could step out of my comfort zone and into the dinner table of meaningful Kingdom friendships”?

Grace & Peace

Jevon Washington

 RESOURCES

  • The Next Evangelicalism by Soong Chan-Rah

  • The HD Leader by Derwin Gray

  • A Cross-Shaped Gospel by Bryan Loritts

  • Divided by Faith by Michael Emerson

  • Oneness Embraced by Dr. Tony Evans

  • The Elusive Dream by Dr. Korie L. Edwards

  • Bloodlines by Dr. John Piper

  • Why We Can’t Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Right Color Wrong Culture by Bryan Loritts

  • How Black is the Gospel by Tom Skinner

  • Letters from a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins

  • Letters to a Birmingham Jail by Bryan Loritts & John Perkins

  • United by Faith by Michael Emerson, George Yancey, Karen Chai Kim, Curtiss Paul DeYoung

  • A Biblical Theology on Race by J. Daniel Hays

  • One New Man by Jarvis Williams

  • Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes by E. Randolph Richards & Brandon J. O’Brien

  • Aliens in the Promised Land by Anthony Bradley

Oct 13
2016

Meet Your Next Pastor: Craig Sturm

Community, Discipleship, News

sturm-family-photo

Downtown Cornerstone,

Last Sunday we presented Craig Sturm to the church as a pastoral candidate. We are taking the next four weeks to give you time to meet with him, ask questions and/or express any concerns you may have. One of the over-arching qualifications for a pastor is that he must be “above reproach” (1Tim 3:1). This waiting period is our attempt to ensure all bases are covered and you have an opportunity to speak into the process.

The office of pastor (or elder) was created by God, for the leading, feeding, and protecting of his flock, the local church. Therefore, we treat the equipping and installation of such men with great seriousness – and joy!

Craig is a good man with integrity, love for Jesus, a passion for the spread of the gospel, and invaluable pastoral experience forged in the fire of the local church over the last 26 years. Personally, I have known Craig for over eight years and am profoundly thankful for he and his family. As elders we believe he is called, qualified, and ready to be installed as a pastor of Downtown Cornerstone. However, we are taking this time in case you know something that we do not.

That said, would you pray for the Sturm’s in this season? Would you also pray for our church? It is a sign of God’s grace to us that we have men, like Craig, being raised-up to lead, feed and protect Jesus’ flock. Let’s ask Him for more. Provided nothing arises that would cause us to stop the process, which we don’t foresee, we will install Craig as a pastor on Sunday, November 6th. It will be a great celebration and a joyous moment.

What follows (below) is a short interview with Craig so that you can get to know him a bit better.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns you can email me at adam@downtowncornerstone.org.

Christ is all,

Pastor Adam
On behalf of the elders of DCC

=========

Q: How did you meet Jesus? How has he changed you?

CS: I grew up knowing about God, but never really knowing God. God was a nice concept, but certainly not real and certainly had no impact on daily life. At 16, God brought crisis into my life that this perspective could not address. As I wrestled with this, God was gracious to bring alongside me friends who patiently, graciously pointed me to the living, hope-giving Jesus. On Wednesday, June 13, 1981, the Spirit of God gloriously regenerated my heart — taking out my heart of stone (unbelief) and replacing it with a heart of flesh (belief), causing me to be born again to a new and living hope. On that night I joyfully yielded my life to my loving Savior, receiving his rescue from sin, freedom from wrath, and adoption as a beloved son. Through the gracious work of his Spirit in my life over the years, God has been transforming me to be more and more like Jesus!

Q: Tell us a little about your family.

CS: I am a man blessed beyond measure! God was so kind to bring the treasure of Kathy into my life nearly 27 years ago. Marriage has been a profound journey of joy and sanctification. God has blessed us with six children: Brian (26), Kelsey (24), Caleb (who died at one month), Phillip (21), Jonathan (19), and Luke (17) — and now one grandchild, Nathan (2), with another on the way! I have loved the gift of being a husband, father, and now grandfather.

Q: What are you most passionate about?

CS: There are a few lesser passions in my life, but I am most passionate to see God’s children come to know of his love, mercy, and grace in the Gospel, embrace it with their whole hearts, treasure Jesus above all else, and live out their faith alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ in the local church.

Q: How did you get involved with DCC?

CS: We have a friendship with the Sinnetts, Parkers, and Andersons that goes back to 2008. We watched as the vision for DCC began to grow and stayed connected even after we moved to Chicago. While there, Pastor Adam served as a pastoral advisor for a church I helped plant. It was during a conversation with him a little over a year ago that I shared I would be transitioning from that lead role, and subsequently, he and I began to talk of possible ministry for us with DCC. God’s sovereign hand was weaving our paths back together! We formally began ministry with DCC on February 1, 2016.

Q: What are your current areas of oversight?

CS: Currently, my main area of oversight is our Cornerstone Communities — mentoring the leads, shepherding towards healthy communities, preparing new leaders for new communities, etc. I absolutely love it! The second major area of oversight for me is our Mercy Ministries — working with our current mercy partners, dreaming about future partnerships and initiatives, and helping our communities develop their own mercy ministries. In addition, as a “generalist”, I serve alongside the pastors to help with preaching, teaching, and providing counsel and care when needed.

Q: How did you determine you were called to be a pastor?

CS: I was discipled well as a young Christian. A year into that journey, after having had chances to lead some friends to Christ, serve in up front leadership roles in the youth ministry I was involved with, and being spurred by the man discipling me, I left for university fairly confident that full time ministry would be in my future. God used those years and then my time in seminary to refine that ministry call particularly to pastoral ministry in the local church.

Q: How can we be praying for you and your family in this season?

CS: Kathy and I are humbled by God’s amazing kindness to us and the beauty of the church family at DCC. We take the call to the pastoral role very seriously. We would be blessed to have you praying for continued “humble confidence” that is rooted in God’s strengthening and provision for the call — that we would serve in the strength that he supplies, not according to human wisdom or cleverness. Pray that our joy would be in Jesus and therefore sure and immovable. Pray that our love for you all would continue to abound as he continues to knit our hearts together for the sake of the gospel and your joy in Jesus!

Thanks, Craig!

Sep 13
2016

Cornerstone Communities Are Expanding!

Community, News | by Pastor Craig Sturm

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From the beginning, Downtown Cornerstone has envisioned radical, other-centered, loving community as central to who we are as those created in the image of God, called to be His children by grace through faith in Jesus. In order to equip end encourage us to live out implications of the gospel in every sphere of life, Cornerstone Communities have been, and continue to be, an essential part of our life together as DCC.

It’s our hope and prayer that everyone who calls Downtown Cornerstone home will belong to a Jesus-glorifying, Bible-believing, gospel-centered community. We are passionate to see communities arise wherever our people are. So, as more people gather to worship with DCC, communities also need to grow! As we head into fall, the Cornerstone Community landscape is expanding in exciting and significant ways:

  • We are launching three new communities into new areas of the Seattle region: in Fremont, on the Eastside in Bellevue, and south of the city in Renton.
  • Two of our existing communities will be replicating into five communities. The Belltown community will replicate into three communities: Belltown South, Belltown West, and Belltown East. The University District North Community will replicate into U-District North and U-District Central.

In case you’re counting, that means by God’s grace, we will now have 20 Cornerstone Communities! We rejoice in this not simply for the sake of growth, but because God is building His kingdom and creating space to invite others into meaningful relationship. That means more communities where more people can be known and know more intimately. More communities where we can eat together, pray together, laugh together, and study the Bible together. More communities that will build up the church by encouraging people to faith in Jesus Christ and build up the city through deeds of justice and mercy.

I am grateful that God continues to be gracious to sustain and raise up a great team of Community Leads. Please join me in praying for the four new community leads: Daniel Hallak (U-District Central), Jayson Jodrey (Shoreline), Ross Webb (Renton), and Kyle Dunn (Bellevue). I am also thankful to all those who will be leading, hosting, and administrating these new communities.

May God continue to build us into a Jesus-treasuring, people-loving family for the glory and fame of Jesus and for our deep, abiding joy in him!

You can learn more about our communities and why they are a central part of who we are HERE. To get connected to a community in your neighborhood, visit the Connect Desk on Sundays, or email us at connect@downtowncornerstone.org.

For His glory and our good,
Craig

Jul 28
2016

New Community in Queen Anne!

Community

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This month, we launched a fourth community in Queen Anne! Garrett McGuire will be leading the new community, so we asked him to answer a few questions about Queen Anne West:

Our hope for Queen Anne West is that it’s a place the Lord meets with us each week and we get a lot of Jesus. We want to do life really deeply with each other; to do relationships in a way that is constantly encouraging each other in our sanctification and taking our holiness really seriously. We would love prayer for God’s favor on us. For His favor in our relationships with each other growing in depth, and also taking those roots and growing in our missional relationships. Whitney and I would also love prayer that community has favor on us in our shortcomings, especially in these early days. If you’re interested in joining us on Wednesday evenings, reach out to connect@downtowncornerstone.org! 

About Cornerstone Communities:

Downtown Cornerstone is a community of communities scattered throughout the city, declaring and displaying the gospel of Jesus Christ in relationship to each other and the city. These are communities of diverse, imperfect people that are committed to living out the implications of the gospel in every sphere of life. These are communities of radical grace, sacrificial service, and joy. These area communities that eat together, pray together, laugh together, and study the Bible together – in essence, share life. These are communities that build up the church by encouraging people to faith in Jesus Christ and build up the city through deeds of justice and mercy. These are communities where you can be who God created you to be, yourself. It’s our hope and prayer that everyone who calls Downtown Cornerstone home will find a community like this.

If you are not currently participating with a DCC Community and would like to be involved with Queen Anne West or another community, email community@downtowncornerstone.org.