Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Sep 28
2018

Our New Onramp into Life with DCC

Discipleship, News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

DCC,

Beginning this Sunday (09/30) we are offering a new five-week class called Foundations

Over our history, we have discovered it is important, and extremely helpful, to provide an opportunity for people to learn more about us before committing more deeply to the life of our church (e.g. via community, service, giving, leadership, and more). 

Foundations was designed to serve that purpose and, therefore, function as the primary onramp into life with DCC. So, whether you’re new and curious or a long-time attender who is looking to go deeper, Foundations is for you. 

This class is the first stop for folks who would like to: 

• Learn more about DCC
• Gain an understanding of foundational Christian beliefs
• Join a Cornerstone Community
• Become a leader
• Take your next step toward baptism
• And, ultimately, become a member

This isn’t merely a “hoop to jump through” but a relational opportunity for us to get to know one another in an intentional environment. 

This class will meet on Sunday mornings at 9am and will cover:

Week #1—What we believe (i.e. biblical beliefs)
Week #2—Why its important to belong (i.e. membership)
Week #3—Who we are (i.e. vision, mission, and values)
Week #4—Why we are here (i.e. our city)
Week #5—How we function (i.e. leadership, service, partners, and finances)

By the end of the class, you will have clear next steps for how to grow and get further connected with DCC.

The first class will run Sept. 30—Oct. 28. The class will run again Nov. 11—Dec. 16. We are currently planning to offer this class twice each quarter. You may jump into the class at any point—whether the beginning, middle, or end—and complete the remaining classes the next time the course is offered. 

For more information and to register go here. If you have any questions, just let us know. 

Let’s pray that the Lord would use this class to spread his glory, strengthen his local church, save souls and edify saints, while increasing our joy in him. 

Christ is all, 

Pastor Adam

Aug 30
2018

Classes Are Coming This Fall!

Discipleship, News, Teaching | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

DCC,

I’m writing to update you on an important change coming this fall: classes. Let me explain how this came about.

COMMUNITY IS CRITICAL

Outside of our Sunday gatherings, the best way to to get plugged into the life of DCC is through a Cornerstone Community. In community we’re able to build friendships around the Scripture, prayer, mission, accountability, and service. Being in regular relationship with other followers of Jesus helps ensure that what we believe doesn’t merely remain in our head, but actually takes root in our lives. This is all the more important in a church of our size, where it is easy to remain unknown. 

BUT, SO ARE CLASSES 

But, as important as communities are, they can’t do everything in the life of a Christian. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nothing can do everything—not even the pulpit. Where will we learn about evangelism, or church history, or biblical theology, or counseling care, or how to disciple, or financial stewardship, or spiritual disciplines, or parenting, and more? The only answer to that is “classes.” So, this fall we are going to begin offering a handful of classes.  

THE HEAD IS THE WAY TO THE HEART

The purpose of offering classes is not to create big heads, but big hearts. However, the way to our hearts is through our heads (Rom. 12:2). Spirit-filled thinking about God results in Spirit-filled feeling for God. After all, to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8) we must know who this Lord is and exactly why he is good. That makes learning-well crucial to loving-well—and loving is the heartbeat of worshipful change. All Christian learning should be viewed in that light.

OUR FALL CLASS OFFERINGS

Therefore, this fall, we are offering six classes over a ten-week period. Our Sunday classes will begin on Sunday, September 30th. Our midweek classes will begin on Wednesday, October 3rd. Most classes will meet for one hour over five weeks and will be taught either by pastors, staff, or members. Our fall class offerings will be: 

Foundations (Five weeks)
Our Foundations class is the first stop for folks seeking to learn more about DCC and/or becoming a member. The purpose of this class is to walk through what we believe (doctrine), why its important to belong (membership), who we are (vision, mission, values), why we are here (context), and how we function as a church (leadership, ministries, partners, finances, etc). This class will meet on Sundays, during the 9am gathering, starting September 30th, for five weeks (and will then repeat) and will be taught by DCC pastors and staff. This class is required for membership with DCC.

Dynamics of Biblical Change (Five weeks, every other week)
This is a for-credit, or for-audit, class through CCEF (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation) that focuses on the heart-level dynamics of how people change. This class offers a combination of online and onsite training. The onsite class will meet every other Wednesday, starting October 10th, for five weeks and will be led by Lisa Pratt, a certified CCEF facilitator. 

Meeting with God (Five weeks, every other week)
Would you like to grow closer to God, but you’re not sure where to begin? This class will provide a biblical understanding of the how and why of meeting with God through the spiritual disciplines on a daily basis to grow in deeper communion with Him. This class will meet every other Wednesday, starting October 3rd, for five weeks and will be taught by Pastor Craig Sturm.  

Unity and Diversity (Five weeks)
Can there truly be unity and diversity in the local church? This class approaches diversity through a biblical lens, while grounding us in our unity in Christ. Teachings will address the need for diversity and unity, the role of the local church, and practical next steps for each believer. This class will meet every Wednesday over five weeks, beginning October 3rd, and will be lead by Justin Keogh, DCC’s Director of Communities and Mercy Ministries. 

Church History (Ten weeks)
Have you ever wondered how the church got to where it is now? This class will walk through an overview of the history of the Church. Teachings will cover prominent figures, key events, and important movements from earliest days of the Church in Jerusalem to today in Seattle. This class will meet every Wednesday, starting October 3rd, for ten weeks and will be taught by members Marco Ribeiro and James Rayment.

Following Jesus (Five weeks)
Are you a new, or renewed, follower of Jesus and looking for a place to start? What does it actually mean to follow Jesus? This class will walk through the “basics” of what it means to be saved by God and walk in his ways, from the gospel, to listening to God, to meeting with God’s family, to living in hope. This class will meet every Wednesday (except the week of Thanksgiving), starting November 14th, for five weeks and will be taught by members Pierce Martin and Kyle Dunn. 

»»TO LEARN MORE OR REGISTER FOR A CLASS GO HERE.

If you have any questions, email us at classes@downtowncornerstone.org. 

Christ is all, 
Pastor Adam

P.S. FAQs regarding classes can be found below.

—————————————-

FAQ

Q: When exactly will the midweek classes be offered? 

Most midweek classes will begin on Wednesday, October 3rd (be sure to check for your particular class). The building doors will open at 6:00pm. Classes will begin at 6:30pm and end by 7:30pm.  

Q: Where should I begin if I am brand new? 

Welcome! We encourage you to to jump into the Foundations class this fall. 

Q: Do I need to take Foundations before taking other classes? 

That would be our recommendation. Foundations is a soft-pre-requisite. Will we stop you from taking other classes? Of course not. But, we want you to know more about us as a church before digging in too deep, so Foundations makes the most sense as your first stop. 

Q: Will the classes require homework? 

Outside of the Dynamics of Biblical Change class, there will be no homework required in order to eliminate any potential barrier to participation. However, most classes will offer some form of optional reading and/or writing to process what you are learning.

Q: Can I still sign-up if I know I will miss a class or two? 

Yes, please do. While we encourage you to prioritize your schedule around the class you take, in order to maximize your learning, we understand there will be conflicts. Please register and join as you are able. 

Q: Can I jump into a class if I don’t register? 

If you plan on taking a class, we highly encourage you to register. But, if you were not able to register, do not let that stop you from participating. Join the next class and let the instructor know. (There are exceptions to this, such as the Dynamics course which requires advanced registration.)

Q: Should I participate in a community or take a class?

Our answer to that would depend on your particular situation. Are you new? Join Foundations. Have you been on the fringes and are now looking to get more involved? Again, Foundations is for you. Are you involved in a community yet desire to take a class? Our first recommendation would be to do both if your schedule permits (after all, most classes are only five weeks). But, if you can only do one, and really desire to take a particular class, then feel free to take a temporary hiatus from community. Or, your community may decide to take a class together. There are lots of options. 

Q: Will Kids ministry be offered for midweek classes? 

Initially, there will be no Kids ministry offered on Wednesday nights. This will allow us to leverage the Kids space for classes. However, our hope is to eventually offer Kids. If you would be interested in helping to lead, or be part of, that endeavor please let us know. 

Q: So, what should I do with my kids if I’d like to take a class?

There are a number of options:
1) You could bring your kids to a class,
2) One parent could take a class while the other stays at home with the kids,
3) You could make sitter arrangements or swap with another family, etc. You could also pray that we’d get a bigger building, along with a robust Kids volunteer team to staff midweek! 

Aug 22
2018

An Invite to Our 8th Annual Summer BBQ

Baptism, Event, News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

This coming Saturday, August 25th, DCC will be hosting its eighth Summer BBQ & Baptism at Myrtle Edwards Park, from 11am-2pm, on the Seattle waterfront. We invite you to join us. 

This is a unique annual event in the life of our church where the entire church gathers to enjoy God’s common grace in a summer barbecue and God’s saving grace in baptism. 

This is a great opportunity to: 

• Connect outside of our Sunday gathering rhythm
• Make new friends and reconnect with old ones
• Invite family, neighbors, and coworkers to hear the gospel
• Use your culinary skills, or simple generosity, to bring something to share
• Steward your grilling techniques that you’ve been mastering all summer
• Revel in the ongoing saving grace of Jesus at work among us

In the past, we’ve held these barbecues on a weeknight. We’re not opposed to that. However, we discovered that with work, traffic, parking, family schedules, high tides, and racing sunsets it could help to shift this event to a weekend. 

That said, this is the first year that we’ve held this event on a Saturday afternoon. Therefore, we hope even more of you will be able to join in the celebration. We encourage you to make a long afternoon of it. Bring your lawn chair or blanket—and maybe one to share. Break out your favorite lawn game. Dust off your frisbees. Come prepared to enjoy God’s creation and God’s people. 

Parents, we’ll also have plenty of activities for the kids, including bouncy houses, face painting, giant bubbles, and more. 

“What is the schedule?” 

11:00am Mingling 
12:00pm BBQ lunch
1:00pm Baptisms 
2:00pm Mingling

“What can I bring?” DCC will provide the staples but, if you are able, we invite you to bring a dish to share. You can sign-up to bring something here

“How can I help?” As you can imagine, an event like this requires all-hand-on-deck, from greeting to grilling, from set-up and tear-down. You can sign-up to help here

See you all on Saturday, Lord willing!

Christ is all,
Pastor Adam

P.S. Go here to get a sense of what last year’s BBQ & Baptism was like. 

Jun 27
2018

Cornerstone Community Update – Summer Schedule

Community, News | by Justin Keogh

As we enter the summer months and our city comes alive with sunshine, festivals, and cook-outs, so too do our communities shift gears to enjoy this short and wonderful season together. In years past, communities have seen great fluctuation over the summer months as folks take vacations, travel, hike, camp, and seek to engage with neighbors and coworkers during the extended sunlight. So this year, as we enter the summer, we’re intentionally planning for a shift of rhythms over the next two months. Understandably, this may raise some questions – and so I’ve captured some FAQ here.

Why are we adjusting our rhythms?

In part, there is a recognition that rhythms naturally change over the summer as mentioned above. But more than that, this is part of an intentional structure to enable rest for the community leaders and apprentices, women’s discipleship leads, and community hosts who faithfully serve during the year week in and week out. Rest is a means of grace and spiritual discipline, and is essential for the health of those leading, which significantly impacts the health of the communities overall.

What will our communities be doing?

We’ve encouraged the leaders of each community to pursue a rhythm that fits for their community this season. With 21 communities, that is likely going to mean 21 different plans for the summer – and that’s okay! Some communities are leveraging this time to seek intentional missional opportunities to host neighbors and non-believing co-workers; other communities are adjusting to serve together; still others are taking space for prayer and worship together. All of the communities will be doing something together, whether that’s a structured gathering or something informal, at least once a month over the summer (many doing more).

When will we be back to the regular rhythms?

We’ve set July and August as the designated time for this summer schedule, and will return to our regular rhythm of weekly discussion gatherings in September, following Labor Day.

How else can I stay connected over the summer?

There are a number of great ways to stay connected, even while our community rhythm shifts. Consider the following means:

1. Continue in worship on Sundays. While you’re at it, why not invite someone new to grab lunch following the gathering?

2. Continue serving, or join a service team. Our Sunday worship will remain and still needs your help to run smoothly. Not only does serving on Sunday bless the church body, it also creates and supports meaningful relationships with those that you serve with.

3. Continue meeting with your community in the adjusted rhythm. Just because your community may not be meeting for the regular meal and discussion, doesn’t mean the time isn’t relationally valuable. If your community doesn’t have plans set just yet – consider taking the lead to put together a social, missional, or service event!

4. Save the date and join us for our corporate gatherings this summer

  • July 31st – Prayer Night
  • August 25th – Summer BBQ @ Myrtle Edwards Park

What if I’m not currently in a community – can I still jump into a community over the summer?

YES! As mentioned above, there is still great value in being connected to other brothers and sisters in our local family. If you’re not yet connected to a community, check out the map of existing communities here to find out which community is nearby your home or work, and then email connect@downtowncornerstone.org and let us know which one you’d like to jump in to, and we’ll connect you!

 It is our prayer that everyone who calls DCC home will be meaningfully connected to others in our body for their mutual discipleship and spiritual up-building. If you have any questions on how best to get connected, don’t hesitate to reach out!

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

May 31
2018

June 10th will be the last 5pm gathering

News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

This week we announced to the members that, after much prayerful deliberation, the elders have decided to make Sunday, June 10th, the last Sunday that we will gather at 5pm (This will not affect our morning gatherings). We started the 5pm this past October. Since then, that gathering has made up approximately 15% of our total Sunday adult attendance, so it has not been a failure. At the same time, it has not taken root, nor opened up more space in the morning, as we hoped it would. The five o’clock hour doesn’t seem to be a particularly attractive gathering time for us, as a church.

We know that some of you are fans of the 5pm, but it’s not many of you. While we genuinely want to create as many opportunities as possible for people to grow in Jesus, we believe our limited resources would be better stewarded, for the good of more people, by cancelling the 5pm and reevaluating for the fall. We are currently considering three morning gatherings beginning mid-September.

We want to thank the handful of committed volunteers, and band members, that have selflessly sacrificed to make the 5pm happen over the last eight months. Thank you! We will keep you posted as plans come together for the fall. 

Q: When will the 5pm be cancelled?

A: The last 5pm gathering will be held on Sunday, June 10th. Therefore, there will be no 5pm gathering beginning, Sunday, June 17th. 

Q: What do I do if I’m a volunteer at the 5pm? 

A: Don’t quit yet! If you are on a 5pm service team, your Ministry Lead will reach out and help get you connected to a morning service team. But, keep in mind, we still have two weeks until our last 5pm gathering.

Q: What will we do in the fall? 

A: We are still deciding, though moving to three morning gatherings is a real possibility. That means we will only have three months (June, July, August) before we’re back to three again in September. 

Q: Why not change to three morning gatherings now? 

A: Changing gathering times is no small feat and requires significant coordination and communication. Therefore, it seemed most prudent to not attempt that as we enter summer, but wait until the fall. 

Q: Does this mean we will never have an evening gathering again?

A: No, not at all. We are still open to an evening gathering when timing, circumstances, and the life of our church align in such a way that it makes sense. Though, I will say it would be our preference to be able to have everyone gather at the same time! Let’s pray Jesus would make that a possibility. 

Q: Will this change how long I can park in the lots next to the building? 

A: Yes, we’ll be adjusting our parking lot reservation timeframe to end at 2pm on Sundays. So, please ensure you do not leave your car beyond 2pm or you may be ticketed. 

This isn’t a withdrawal, by any stretch, but a recalibration for more effective gospel ministry. The Lord is at work among us, friends. Let’s pray for the Lord to use this change to shake off any spiritual sleepiness and alert us to the importance of the realities we are swimming in as his people. Together, we are “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15) in Seattle no matter what time, or how many times, we happen to gather on Sunday.  

Christ is all, 

Pastor Adam

May 16
2018

Seven Hopes For Our Next Seven Years

News, Prayer | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Last month we turned seven years old as a church. You can read more about that here. Since many of you are relatively new to DCC, I thought I’d take this milestone as an opportunity to share seven hopes we have for the next seven years. These aren’t exhaustive, of course, and my assumption throughout is that our current culture of being a God-saturated, Christ-centered, Spirit-dependent, Bible-fueled, faith-filled, holiness-pursuing, people-loving-people will only deepen (which is why I don’t explicitly mention them below). If you’re not already a part of this family-on-mission, we invite you to join our next membership class this weekend. Here are seven of our hopes, in no particular order:

Hope #1 A Permanent Home

This can seem like a bland hope, but its not. We spent our first four years completely mobile, setting-up and tearing-down every single week. Every piece of equipment that was needed for a Sunday gathering fit into a barrage of boxes with wheels. During the week we had an office in a donated space on the 17th floor of a downtown high-rise. But, the office was so small that all of the staff couldn’t work there at the same time—and we only had four! For midweek classes, or meetings, we met at the Belltown Community Center or in various apartment community rooms throughout the city. In other words, being able to consolidate our base of gospel ministry in our current building has been a game-changer, even amidst its own challenges. With two years left on our current lease, in an inflated real estate market, finding a permanent home in the city is a significant point of prayer. 

Hope #2 A Missional Culture

God’s mission for us is to make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9; Acts 1:8)—across the street and around the world. That happens as we cultivate a heart for the lost and seek to share the good news of Jesus with our not-yet-believing friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. It is easy for a church to subtly shift to being so preoccupied with its own needs that it neglects the greatest needs of our neighbors—to know and belong to Jesus. Therefore, a second hope we have for the next seven years is to continue to intentionally cultivate a culture that loves the lost and seeks to share the radical news of Jesus. 

Hope #3 A Discipleship Culture

Christians are meant to grow, mature, and develop deep roots in God. That process is called “discipleship” where a follower of Jesus progressively—amidst starts and stops—learns to walk in Jesus’ ways for our joy (Jn.15:11) and his glory (1Cor.10:31). Discipleship doesn’t happen in a vacuum, or merely by reading books or listening to podcasts, but primarily in the context of relationships with others who are seeking the same. By God’s grace, we do have a culture of discipleship in place, but there is more to be done. Imagine if every member of DCC had two to three people they were intentionally investing in to help them grow in Jesus. Our aim is to kneed this even more deeply and fully into the fabric of who we are as Jesus’ people in the next seven years.

Hope #4 A Diverse Culture

We know that God’s great redemptive purposes span millennia, continents, ethnicities, ages, genders, socioeconomic statuses and more (Rev.7:9-12). Jesus’ redeemed bride will be a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-socioeconomic people. It will be like that then because that is the kind of people Jesus’ is redeeming now. That means we need to think intentionally and thoughtfully about how to cultivate a diverse people, in Jesus. We need to ask important questions like, “Why is the city, during the week, so often more diverse than the church, on Sunday?” Or, “Are there systemic and historical ways sin has created this bifurcation? If so, how we can intentionally bring healing there?” Believe it or not, as a church, we’re more diverse now than we’ve ever been. But, we know there’s room to grow. So we’re actively navigating these waters in hope, asking Jesus to allow us to grow as a diverse people in the years ahead.  

Hope #5 A Forward-Thinking Culture

I was recently struck by verse four of Psalm 145, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts….” In his wisdom, God has chosen to spread his fame and saving goodness, in Jesus, as one generation commends him to the next. I suppose this stood out because I recently turned 40. Now that I’ve crossed the 50 yard line I have begun to think about the importance of the next generation—namely students. I’m not saying I’m ready to hang it up! Far from it. But, its never too early to think about those who will be here long after us. How I long to see a generation of young people, passionate about the Lord, convinced of the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, gripped by the gospel of grace, with lives open to follow his leading. But, that doesn’t just happen. As with everything, intentionality is required. Therefore, another hope for the next seven years is that we are able to implement a plan to reach, equip, and send students, and other young people, for the cause of Christ. 

Hope #6 A City-Loving Culture

If you’re around long enough you will hear us say something like, “We’re not in the city to look down on the city in pride, nor cower under the city in fear, but to love and challenge the city with the reality of Jesus.” We love Seattle. God’s common grace here is staggering, if we have eyes to see. Yet, amidst the beauty, there is tremendous brokenness. So, we want be known for spreading the good news of Jesus, but also known for being good news in our city. Our hope is that this will continue to express itself in the form of expanding mercy ministries, partnership with like-minded churches, integration of faith and work, thoughtful engagement with the arts scene, and more. By God’s grace, we hope our roots sink even more deeply into the soil of this city for its good and the glory of God. Let’s love this city to life in the next seven years. 

Hope #7 A Sending Culture 

Our hopes for the next seven years go well beyond ourselves. Over the last seven years, together, we have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund church plants around the world, including places like Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Turkey, Japan, and all along the west coast (from San Diego to Alaska). This is, in large part, due to our affiliation with the Acts 29 Network. We hope to do even more in the next seven years. Even right now we are looking at developing a formal partnership with Radius, a training center for missionaries seeking to plant churches amidst unreached people groups around the world—three of our members are already involved. Will you join me in praying that the Lord will continue to grow us as a sending center for the sake of the world? 

What Might He Do Next?

I write all of this fully aware that, “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Pr.19:21). The Lord of all the earth will do what is right. Our role is to be faithful, while allowing the Lord to determine the fruit. Knowing that should cause us to pray big prayers and dream big dreams. This is not the work of one man, nor a particular group of passionate individuals—this is our work. This is the work of Jesus’ church—and we’re all gifted and called to participate in his unfolding drama of redemption (1Cor.12:4-30). Let’s enter these next seven years filled with faith, hope and love. “Come Lord, Jesus!” (Rev.22:20).

What might he do next? 

Expectantly yours, in Christ. 

Pastor Adam

Apr 26
2018

Seven Lessons On Our Seventh Birthday

News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

This month we celebrated our seventh birthday as a church. We weren’t able to properly highlight it because it coincided with Easter Sunday. However, I thought it would be helpful to speak to it, before the month’s end, so that we don’t miss an opportunity to revel in the grace of Jesus among us.

Getting Started

I remember our first Sunday well. We had spent the previous ten months growing our launch community, helping people move downtown, sharing the gospel, serving the city, fundraising, training disciples, studying the scriptures, desperately praying, developing our vision and values, all while growing as a sent people. It was exhilarating and, to be honest, frightening. We met in apartments, conference rooms, dingy basements, and cafes. I networked with anyone who was willing to speak with me, including pastors, lawyers, programmers, small business owners, non-profit directors, and city council members. I ended each of those meetings by asking, “Who else do you know that may be interested in what we are trying to do?” I lost track of how many people I met with. 

Our First Sunday

After ten months of preparation, we marked our birth as a church on the first Sunday of April 2011 at Court in the Square, a former alleyway turned foyer, in Pioneer Square. Jen was one week (!) out from having our third child, Ella. Carter was four. Macy was two. Our kids accounted for the bulk of the kids ministry. If I remember rightly, we had 135 people join us that Sunday, many of whom were well-wishers. I preached on Jesus as the Cornerstone. The following Sundays, with all the well-wishers gone, we averaged 95 or so and began to grow from there. We continued to teach the Bible, share the gospel, baptize new believers, multiply communities, and disciple one another.

Seven Years Later

Fast-forward seven years and what Jesus has done is nothing short of incredible, particularly in our context. It is easy to take for granted, which is one reason we take time to celebrate our birthday. It wasn’t long ago that we didn’t even exist. That is not a testament to our ingenuity, wit, or diligence. That is a testament to Jesus’ grace, love, and transformative power. We’re not saying “Hey, look at us!” We’re saying, “Hey, look at him!” I’ve been involved in church planting circles for nearly fifteen years and I can tell you that this is not par for the course. We have much to be grateful for and those to whom much is given, much is required (Lk. 12:48). Therefore, in light of all this, I thought I’d take our birthday as an opportunity to highlight seven key lessons from the last seven years. 

#1 We can take God at His Word.

There can be a lot of pressure to cut corners (practically, theologically, or otherwise) to get a church planted when you have little funding, few people, two little kids and a pregnant wife, as you live in a cramped over-priced apartment, in an incredibly under-reached city. It is uncomfortable. You need firm convictions about what the Bible is and what it does to stand amidst such discomfort. By God’s grace, from the beginning, we decided the Word must be central. No props. No gimmicks. No marketing hacks. No glossing-over the hard stuff. Just the pure, undiluted Word of God taught with love. I’m embarrassed to say now that I was surprised then to discover how powerful the Bible is. Teaching through the Bible pumps the reality of God, and all that he is for us, into the bloodstream of his church. The Bible creates appetites for God that it goes on to satisfy. As we’ve taken God at his Word friends have been saved, sleeping Christians awakened, and a church was born. We can trust His Word. 

#2 Relationships are the bread-and-butter of discipleship.

Preaching is central to the life of Jesus’ church. Without preaching, a church won’t be around long. But, though preaching is indispensable, hearing faithful preaching isn’t the only ingredient to our discipleship, nor a guarantee that we’re growing. I’ve met with many people who, though they’ve heard countless sermons, when faced with the question, “What is the gospel?” are unable to provide a clear answer. Hearing the gospel is one thing, but embracing it with the heart is another. Hearing about forgiveness is one thing, but forgiving others is another. Hearing about sharing our faith is one thing, but doing it is another. Hearing about the importance of the local church is one thing, but being an integral part of one is another. You get the picture. It takes someone looking at you across a Starbucks table asking loving questions to reveal the disconnects between what we’ve heard and how we’re actually living. In other words, relationships are the bread-and-butter of discipleship. Those who are the most relationally invested are typically those who grow the most and are of the most help to others. That’s not a coincidence. 

#3 People are hungry for truth—even the hard bits.

Our world is in search of answers because we’re becoming increasingly unmoored from the truth. The very things that many caution against talking about—sovereign grace in salvation, the reality of hell, gender complementarity, sexual immortality, the exclusivity of Jesus, and more—are the very things we need to be talking about. The goal, of course, is not to be intentionally controversial, but loving. There are realities revealed in the Bible that God wants us to know for our good and flourishing. These matters, and others like them, directly impact how we view God and make decisions that will literally have eternal repercussions. This was highlighted two and a half years ago when we walked through the On Being Human series, where we talked about masculinity, femininity, sexuality and more. Honestly, we envisioned the series would be one of healthy “pruning” for our church, but the opposite occurred and we grew. It showed us that people are hungry for truth—even the hard bits. 

#4 Jesus is alive and changing lives.

I fear this may strike you as a religious platitude. I hope not. He is alive, after all (Mt. 28:5). We’ve seen Jesus at work over-and-over again: forgiving sin, giving new life, infusing fresh hope, changing ungodly desires, bringing sin into the light, granting wisdom, bringing reconciliation, offering freedom from anxiety, forging new relationships, creating new spiritual taste buds for truth, answering prayer, brining physical healing, giving supernatural love for his church, calling to the mission field and church planting, creating generous hearts and hands, and more. By the Spirit, Jesus is at work among us in countless ways, seen and unseen. He meant it when he said, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20). So, we can have confidence whether we’re at the office, in our yard, or gathered with the church that Jesus is at work in and through us. We are participating in his unfolding drama of redemption.

#5 Prayer really does matter.

As far back as I can remember we have carved out space to pray as a newly forming church. This was never a “we should do this because this is what a church does” sort of thing. No. It was a “we need to pray or we won’t survive” sort of thing. It felt impossible because it was impossible. Our prayer has always been, “Lord, we want to see what you can do, not merely what we can do. Move among us in ways that make it obvious you have done this.” John Calvin called prayer the chief exercise of faith, meaning that one of the primary ways faith expresses itself is in prayer. We wanted prayer to be integral to the fabric of our church. That said, prayer can feel awkward. We may wonder if our simple, broken, wandering prayers will actually make any difference. But, God has repeatedly shown us that he hears the imperfect prayers of his people, in Jesus. Like a good Father, he delights in giving his children good gifts (Mt. 7:9-11). He has done so for us, over and over again. 

#6 His power is made perfect in our weakness. 

It’s important to include this. I wouldn’t want the previous points to paint a picture that this has been an easy seven years. They have, in fact, been the most difficult years of my life. We’ve seen friends walk away from the faith—and still pray for their return. We’ve encountered adultery, addiction, and suicide. We’ve been lied too and lied about. We’ve encountered the Enemy on multiple occasions. We’ve had bad ideas. We’ve repeatedly pressed up against the realities of our limitations. Some say, “There are too many young people.” Others say, “There are not enough old people.” Still others, “There is not enough diversity.” Yet others, “There are not enough college students.” This is just for starters. Oh, how acutely I see and sense all the imperfections of our church! Yet, we must not miss the miracle that our church is! Amidst it all, Jesus has continued to bring us back to his promise, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Our hope isn’t in a perfect church, but a perfect savior. He uses our weaknesses, limitations, imperfections, and sufferings to further his purposes. What an encouragement this is! 

#7 This is not fast work, but Jesus is at work. 

You get the sense from reading the Bible that God works on a different timetable than us: Noah was 600 years old when the rains came (Gen. 7:6). Abraham was 75 years old when he left Haran (Gen. 12:4). Joseph spent most of his 20’s in an Egyptian prison (Gen. 41-46). The Israelites were enslaved for 400 years. Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness as a shepherd, before he spent another 40 years in the wilderness as a shepherd of God’s people. Over and over, we see the Lord’s timetable is not what we would expect. The same is true for our lives—and our church. On the one hand, Jesus has accomplished much in seven years. Yet, on the other hand, there is still so much to be done (see point #6). This is not fast work, but Jesus is at work. Our call is to be faithful as we pursue God-given fruitfulness.  

Happy (belated) birthday, DCC! Jesus is the cornerstone or our lives, our church, and this city. We have so much to be thankful for. Let’s move into the next seven years filled with faith, hope, and love—especially love (1 Cor. 13:13). Let’s also continue to ask him to do what only he can for his glory and the joy of all people. Who knows what he might do next? Let’s find out together. 

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly that all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).

Christ is all, 

Pastor Adam

Feb 21
2018

Meet Our Newest Elder Candidate: Luke Davis

Community, Discipleship, News

Downtown Cornerstone,

Last Sunday we presented Luke Davis 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!

Luke will not be on DCC’s pastoral staff (i.e. vocational pastor), but will serve as an elder in a volunteer capacity (i.e. lay pastor). Therefore, by necessity, the scope of his pastoral involvement will be limited when compared to a staff pastor. However, his service will be equally significant. As a non-staff pastor Luke will be involved with preaching, counseling, membership interviews, officiating weddings and funerals, elder meetings and practical leadership (which currently includes leading a Cornerstone Community). Our hope is to have many non-staff pastors in the future, as it helps diversify and strengthen the elder team and, therefore, the church.

Luke is a good man with integrity, love for Jesus, and for Jesus’ church. 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 Davis’ 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 Luke, 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 Luke as our fifth pastor, and first non-vocational pastor, on Sunday, March 18th. It will be a great celebration and a joyous moment.

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

If you have any questions, comments or concerns you can email me directly 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?

LD: God was often on the perimeter of my mind making forays to the forefront around visits to church on Christmas and Easter. The rhythm of my relationship with Him drastically changed when dad decided our family needed to become faithful members of a local church. The timing coincided with my entrance into high school. As the message of the Gospel became clearer my heart put up a fight. I didn’t want to accept that I was busted without Jesus. But the Spirit patiently melted away my crazed attempt to grasp at some measure of merit and Christ became a living hope.

I guess just about every area of my life has been affected since following Jesus half a lifetime ago. We would not be in Seattle, for instance, were it not for submitting my vocation to His will. Jesus has been the closest of friends, fulfilling promise after promise. My marriage, family, and work have all been profoundly shaped by Him.

Q: Tell us a little about your family.

LD: My beautiful bride, Lynn, and I have been married for almost a decade (wish us a happy anniversary on March 8th!). Within those years we have welcomed William (10), Ezra (8), Rowan (6), and Haven (1.75). Our little girl is the lone Seattleite in the bunch. The rest of us hale from Florida.

Q: What are you most passionate about?

LD: I am deeply committed to seeing wisdom and virtue cultivated in the hearts of children. Paul admonishes all parents to bring up their kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord; to lead them in the way of Jesus. It is a joy of mine to partner with parents as they pass on what it means to be human.

Q: How did you get involved with DCC?

LD: It was paramount for Lynn and I to identify a few churches where we could worship in good conscience while considering a move to Seattle. DCC, along with some other churches, appealed to us because of its theology and location. When attempting to line up some personal connections during a first visit to the city, David Parker’s warm communication and generous invitation drew us in like a beacon. Our very first impression of DCC was full of good conversation, camaraderie, Gospel care, and hospitality. The connection was set at that first meeting and we have been celebrating our local church ever since.

Q: What are your current areas of oversight?

LD: Within DCC I oversee the Belltown West Community.

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

LD: I have desired to serve the church in this capacity for 16 years. At the simplest level I originally recall a pull to the pastorate when initially reading through 1 Timothy 3 as a young Christian. But discerning the pastoral call should never be done in isolation. The desire grew in clarity, understanding, and affirmation through wise counsel, prayer, and mentoring. My prayer is that our Lord may use me to help lead, feed, guide, and protect the flock.

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

LD: Lord willing, I will be the first lay elder in DCC’s history. That distinction is attended by humbling honor and trepidation. Our pastors expend themselves, body and soul, for the welfare of the church. I need wisdom to walk out this call well in the midst of being a husband, father, headmaster, and citizen of Seattle. Please ask our Father for the grace to serve DCC well without betraying the other responsibilities in my life.

Additionally, my family has called Belltown home during the duration of our time in Seattle. As I write this I am surrounded by bins. We are moving just a couple miles east to the Central District within the next week. Leaving Belltown is going to hurt. But we are celebrating our transition to the CD. Please pray for quick connection with neighbors and vision for flourishing within a neighborhood full of historical hurt and triumph.

Thanks, Luke!

Sep 25
2017

New Fall Gathering Times: 9am, 11am, and *5pm* (Help needed!)

Discipleship, News, Service | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

The fall brings with it a certain freshness, doesn’t it? Fresh rain, fresh colors, fresh starts, a fresh school year, and (for us) fresh gathering times. On Sunday, October 22nd, we will be refreshing our gathering times in two noteworthy ways. 

  1. Moving our 11:15am gathering to 11:00am.

  2. Adding a 5:00pm evening gathering on Sundays.

Therefore, I am writing to answer common questions, and alleviate any concern, that these changes may lead to. Some of us love and embrace change, while others run from it. The former is not “good” and the latter “bad”—just different—and our hope is that the entire church feels cared for in this important transition. 

These shifts are a tremendous evidence of God’s grace and provision to us. Let’s rejoice together and prayerfully approach this next season with expectation. Please know that your pastors, deacons, and leaders are available if you have any questions. So, with that, let’s turn to the questions: 

Q: When will the new gathering schedule be again?

Starting Sunday, October 22nd, our gathering times will be at 9:00am, 11:00am, and 5:00pm.

Q: Why are we adding a 5pm gathering? 

There are three primary reasons. First, most simply, we are consistently out of room in the morning. Just this past Sunday we had nearly 720 in attendance, which included overflow at the 11:15am. We don’t want anyone to feel hindered from learning about Jesus or connecting with his people. Second, we want to create another option for those who work Saturday nights and/or Sunday mornings, or are out of town over the weekend. This has been a frequent request. Third, while our preference would be to have everyone gathered at the same time, the hard reality is that our building size is limited. So, for all these reasons, we’re starting a 5pm gathering. 

Q: Why are we shifting the 11:15am to 11:00am? 

We’re shifting the 11:15am to 11:00am for two primary reasons. First, the shift is for clarity. Many already refer to the 11:15am as the “11.” So, we think this is wise for the sake of clarity. But, more importantly, we hope to provide more options for our families. Cornerstone Kids is regularly full during the 9am. There have even been a few occasions where a family is turned away. We need to fix that. So, we hope starting the gathering just a little earlier will shift some families from the 9am to the 11am and, therefore, create more balance between the two.

Q: Will we be able to start the second gathering at 11:00am given the length of our gatherings? 

Yes, we have been experimenting over the last couple months to see what it would take to make this a feasible option. We have found that it is not difficult to achieve if we start on time and are mindful of the flow of our gatherings.

Q: What are the benefits of going to three gatherings? 

There are many benefits of going to three gatherings given where we are as a church. First, three gatherings will open up more seats and, therefore, more space for people to know, and grow, in Jesus. Second, three gatherings will create smaller gatherings where we can actually recognize and get to know those around us more easily. Third, three gatherings will create more options for Sunday worship and, therefore, greater flexibility. Fourth, three gatherings will ensure that no one needs to miss a gathering because they are volunteering. Fifth, three gatherings will give more people the opportunity and joy of  stepping out in faith to volunteer and serve in significant ways. Sixth, moving to three gatherings will prepare us for a similar dynamic that will take place when we send out our first church plant. All told, this is a really good move for us. 

Q: Will there be Cornerstone Kids available at the 5pm? 

Yes. Initially, Cornerstone Kids will only be available for children up to 2 years old. We expect this to grow as more volunteers arise. 

Q: Why don’t we start a new church instead of starting a new gathering? 

We would love to plant a new church. We still plan to, Lord willing, many times over. We just don’t have anyone ready to lead a plant (yet). However, we are actively training, saving money, and praying to that end. It’s only a matter of time. If you’re interested, talk to me. 

Q: Who will be preaching and leading in song at each gathering? 

The current plan is for the same preacher to preach all three Sunday gatherings. The plan for music is to continue what we are currently doing in the morning, but have a more stripped-back band in the evening until more musicians arise. 

Q: What will be different about each gathering? 

Generally speaking, apart from the Spirit moving otherwise, the overall flow and feel of each gathering will be similar.

Q: Will we have enough volunteers? 

Given that we just announced this change, we still have significant volunteer needs. In fact, we need 50 new volunteers! If you call DCC your church, we highly encourage you to participate in the life of the family by serving in some capacity. Please visit www.downtowncornerstone.org/5pm to sign up. 

Q: What if I currently volunteer in the morning but would like to shift to helping at the evening? 

That would be great! Just let your current team lead know and sign up via the link above. We expect there to be some shuffling across teams and gatherings. 

Q: Will this hurt our attendance, or lose momentum, by going to three gatherings? 

No, actually, in time we expect the opposite. 

Q: Won’t this create three churches in the same building? Will we lose unity? 

No. We are one church that will now gathers across three different times, on the same day, in the same building. The reason we exist is to build a great city, through the gospel of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God. That is not changing. We will remain vigorously Jesus-centered, gospel-saturated and Spirit-led. We will remain committed to declaring the gospel (in word) and displaying its implications (in deed). We will remain primarily focused on people. We will continue to put our energies into cultivating disciple-making disciples. In a word, we are still DCC, just with more opportunities to worship with one another on Sunday. 

Q: Where will I park for the 5pm? 

The parking lots next to the building will be available for anyone to park in, with overflow parking being validated at the Art Institute garage. Street parking is, of course, also an option. 

Q: “But I won’t see the same people any more?!” 

There’s truth to this. We won’t see all of the same people any more on Sunday. But, here’s the question: isn’t this already happening? It is for me. I rarely get to talk to everyone I want to on any given Sunday. There are just too many great people to talk too.  But, per above, creating three smaller gatherings will actually enhance, not diminish, our ability to be in relationship with one another. Even more, a major function of our Cornerstone Communities is to create smaller, consistent relationships around Jesus, his Word and his call to live sent lives together. If you’re not yet in a community, now could be a good time to make that transition. 

I am humbled by Jesus’ goodness to us. I hope you are too. He doesn’t have to provide for us, but He is. He doesn’t have to draw people to DCC, but he is.  Let’s revel in His grace during this season. It doesn’t have to be “business as usual” so let’s pray and labor to that end. Let’s ask Him to do something only He could do here, for the glory of his name, and the joy of our entire city. 

For Jesus’ Fame,

Pastor Adam

P.S. Don’t forget. We’re shifting to 9am, 11am, and 5pm on Sunday, October 22nd. You can sign up to help here: www.downtowncornerstone.org/5pm. 

Aug 30
2017

Partnering with Local Churches in Hurricane Harvey Relief

Global Issues, News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

If you’ve been watching the news you know that Houston, and much of southern Texas, is underwater. Hurricane Harvey, one of the largest storms the state has ever faced, is producing unprecedented rainfall, flooding, and displacement. There was 50 inches of rain (over four feet!) in just a few days and its not over. Harvey is currently hitting land a second time and the water is still rising. Tens of thousands have been displaced, many have lost everything, and the death toll is uncertain. Direct losses are currently estimated to exceed $20billion. Recovery will likely take years in America’s fourth largest city. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only disaster facing us today. Recent floods in India, Bangladesh and Nepal have killed 1,200 and left millions homeless. There was also a mudslide in Sierra Leone where some estimate 1,000 people died. And that is just the last couple weeks. Creation is groaning and we along with it (Rom. 8:19-23). While we can’t help everyone, we can help some. 

As many of you know, we belong to Acts 29, a church planting network. There are over 20 Acts 29 churches in the local Houston area. Some of these churches have been directly impacted by Harvey: homes flooded, property lost, cars washed away, families swimming to safety. Many stories are still surfacing. One Acts 29 church, Clear Creek Community, is leading the way in partnership with the Houston Church Planting Network, to serve the larger community. We want to partner with them in those efforts. 

HOW WE CAN HELP

PRAY

Let’s pray for the unity of Jesus’ Church in the Houston area. Let’s pray for our Acts 29 family as they have a unique opportunity to be good news to their community amidst a terrible disaster. Let’s also pray that Jesus would use this natural catastrophe to bring about a God-saturated, Jesus-centered, Spirit-empowered revival. 

GIVE

As you can expect, finances are the biggest need in this recovery effort. As a church we’re going to contribute $5,000. I have learned that Acts 29, as a network, is giving $50,000. I want to also invite you to personally consider contributing as well. Donations will be used to provide relief and recovery assistance to individuals, families, and churches impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  

Here are four ways to give:

1. You can text keyword HARVEYRELIEF to 51555 and follow prompts to give via credit card. 

2. You can give online at www.clearcreek.org/harveyrelief

3. You can mail a check to:

Clear Creek Community Church 
999 N. Egret Bay Blvd. 
League City, TX 

4. If you would like to wire funds please email trichardson@clearcreek.orgfor instructions.

SERVE

Houston Church Planting Network is compiling a list of churches outside of Houston that may be interested in bringing a team to serve, donating supplies, etc. as the waters recede. If there are any DCC members interested in leading that charge, please let us know. The recovery effort will be a marathon, not a sprint. Those on the ground envision needing support for months to come. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve done something like this as a church and it certainly won’t be the last, unless our Jesus returns. Let’s prayerfully consider how we might be able to serve our extended family in Christ who finds themselves in the path of Harvey, for “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Let’s be a generous people who reflect the generosity of our great and gracious God. 

Christ is all, 

Pastor Adam