Downtown Cornerstone Blog
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

Aug 16
2017

Racism is a Radical Evil

Global Issues, News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Our family just returned from vacation this past weekend. As we did, we watched the horrific scene in Charlottesville, Virginia unfold on Saturday. Many of you saw it. A group of so-called “white nationalists” held a protest that, in turn, spawned a counter-protest. The result? Three dead, at least 34 wounded, and a nation vividly reminded that racial issues remain unresolved in our country. Unfortunately, as we all know, this is not a stand-alone event. 

As Christians, we need to be emphatically clear that all forms of racism, personal or institutional, are radically evil. The essence of racism is discriminating against others based on their race. This discrimination is fueled by a wrongly-held belief in the superiority or inferiority of one race over against another. We need to be clear, however, that this belief is not merely wrong, it’s evil. Racism is sin. 

This is not primarily a political issue. This is primarily a God issue. The Bible reveals that every single human being—young and old, rich and poor, born and unborn, black and white—is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, every single human is equally worthy of dignity, value, and respect as an image-bearer of God. 

The Apostle Paul said, “[God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). The beautiful, diverse, multi-hued tapestry of humanity is God’s idea. Racial distinctiveness is meant to showcase God’s immeasurable creativity and boundless originality. 

Further, we shouldn’t miss that Jesus came as a middle-eastern man. God-incarnate was brown. When He returns again, His redeemed people will be comprised of a countless multitude, “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Rev. 7:9). In a word, God’s saving purposes in the world, in Jesus, are multi-ethnic. 

In light of all this, the racist ideology of groups such as the KKK, “Alt-right”, “white nationalists”, or others like them, is not merely a matter of poor politics nor bigoted ignorance, but of radical moral evil. Racism is fueled by a heart that has separated the gift of race from the Giver of race and distorted it for its own selfish purposes—and Satan couldn’t be more delighted.

Friends, let’s humbly submit ourselves to God when we see events like this unfold before us. We know that politics, blogs, and social-shaming can’t ultimately change the human heart. We know that racial utopia is not possible in this life. We’re not naive. But, neither are we paralyzed. The world is in search of answers; we know who He is. 

We are in this city to know Jesus and to make Him known. So, let’s ask Jesus to search our hearts and dismantle any residue of racism within. Let’s build meaningful relationships with others who are different from us. Let’s engage in the discussion with wisdom, tenderness, and courage. Let’s passionately share the heart-changing, racism-crushing, all-satisfying good news of Jesus with all who will hear. Together, let’s be a visible, albeit imperfect, local expression of Jesus’ redeemed multi-ethnic people to a divided world in desperate need of help. 

Christ is all, 
Pastor Adam

May 18
2017

Taking the Next Step with DCC

Discipleship, News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

It can be hard to get plugged into a church. It raises all kinds of questions, “Where do I start? Who should I talk to? What does this church believe? Are there other people like me? What should I do? Can I use my gifts here? Will I be known?” If that’s you, this is for you. Over the last six years we have grown an average of 45% year-over-year as a church. That means we are continually welcoming new people that are believers, unbelievers, and I-don’t-know-what-I-believers. That, of course, is a great issue to have. But, it can make meaningfully connecting a real challenge. Therefore, I am writing to help those of you who are in that season and encourage you to take the next step with DCC. There are a lot of options, including:

#1 Newcomer’s Lunch

This is our starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about DCC. We provide lunch, share our story, introduce leaders, and answer questions. It’s an informal time of connecting in order to help you get to know us—and us, you. Our next lunch is on Sunday, June 11th at 1:00pm in the Multi-Purpose Room of our building. Whether you’re new or merely looking to take the next step, we hope you can join us. RSVP here.  

#2 Get to Know Jesus 

Nearly every week I meet someone who is not yet a Christian, but is interested in learning more about Jesus. Perhaps you grew up in an atheistic home and have questions. Or, maybe you grew up in a Christian home but walked away at some point. Or, maybe you’re not even sure what you believe but are intrigued by Jesus. One of our current projects is creating small, time-bound, groups that explore Jesus’ life and claims. We’re not quite ready to roll them out yet. But, if you’re interested in considering Jesus, please let us know. We would be more than happy to meet with you and walk through the most important study you will ever embark on. If you’re interested, email us at info@downtowncornerstone.org.

#3 Jump into a Community

Relationships are foundational to our lives. That is by God’s design. Therefore, we are not merely interested in holding events but helping foster relationships that are deeply rooted in the gospel of Jesus. To help facilitate this we have Cornerstone communities. These are communities of diverse imperfect people that are committed to living out the implications of the gospel in every sphere of life. These communities meet throughout the week, around the city, to eat together, pray together, laugh together, and open their Bibles together. We understand that certain jobs, circumstances, health issues, and life stages may hinder you’re ability to be in a community. But, whatever the case may be, we encourage you to participate to the extent you are able. There are few contexts that are as transformative as being in regular life-on-life relationships with others who are seeking Jesus with you. To find a community near you, or on a night that works for you, email us at connect@downtowncornerstone.org or drop by the Connect desk on Sunday. 

#4 Start or join a Discipleship Group

At the heart of the Christian faith is “discipleship” or, in other words, being a learner of Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20). Growing as a disciple of Jesus doesn’t happen on accident, intentionality is required. Therefore, we have created Discipleship Groups (affectionately known as DGs) which are small (2-5 people), gender-specific, biblical, and missional groups who regularly meet together for life-on-life intentional discipleship. The purpose of these groups is to cultivate trust in Jesus, growth in holiness and missional living. Typically these groups are formed by those who are already in community with one another, thus maximizing their impact, but there is a lot of flexibility. Some meet every week, others biweekly, and some monthly. Learn more here.

#5 Go deeper with an Equip Group

An Equip group is basically a Discipleship Group (see above) that is time-bound and guided by pre-selected reading. The purpose is to make disciples-who-make-disciples that are anchored in all that God is for them, in Jesus. This one year development track (roughly 52 weeks) is designed to help this happen in the context of small (4-6 people), covenanted, gender-specific groups. These groups meet regularly for discussion of reading, scripture, prayer, and sharpening. This is not intended to be a class, but a context for life-on-life missional discipleship. Membership is required for leadership of an Equip group, but anyone can participate. Learn more here.

#6 Start to Serve

The church is a family, not merely a service provider. That means we need all hands on deck. An important step towards investing in DCC is to consider serving in some capacity. In serving, you build relationships with those you are serving with. In serving, you get to use (and discover) your God-given gifts. In serving, you get the joy that inevitably comes from putting others before you. The benefits are nearly as numerous as the opportunities, which include: Kids, hospitality, greeting, music, productions, facilities, design, communications, Connect, and more. This doesn’t even include the many ways we are currently partnering with mercy and justice organizations in the community. If you have a specific gift that doesn’t fit into these categories, let us know that too. To sign up email us at connect@downtowncornerstone.org or drop by the Connect desk on Sunday. 

#7 Become a Member

We practice meaningful membership as a church. Church membership isn’t mainly about the benefits we receive, but mainly about the people to whom we belong. Membership is a tangible declaration that says, “I belong to Jesus and this particular expression of his people.” I am a member of his body here (1 Cor. 12:4-31; Rom. 12:3-8). I am a living stone here (2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22; 1 Pet. 2:5). I am a citizen, along with these citizens, here (Eph. 2:19; Phil. 3:20). I am part of Jesus’ family here (Eph. 2:19; Gal. 6:10; Heb. 3:6). These metaphors point to realities that are both universal and local. That is why the Bible makes it clear that pastors are responsible for specific “sheep”, and that “sheep” follow specific leaders (1 Pet. 5:2; Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:7; 1 Tim. 5:17). Membership is how we seek to embody these profound realities.  If you’re interested in learning more, and we hope you are, our next membership class is this weekend. It’s not too late to jump in. RSVP here

#8 Move towards others

It can be hard being in a church where so many people are new and unknown. We have 225 members but up to 700 in attendance on any given Sunday. That means there are up to 475 people in various states of connectedness with DCC on any given Sunday. That’s a lot of people. So, if you don’t feel welcomed it could be because you are surrounded by other new people who feel the same! I encourage you to be proactive. Introduce yourself. Invite someone out to lunch. Try to meet 3-5 new people every Sunday. Pray that God would direct your conversations. “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you” (Rom. 15:7).

Lastly, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns along the way. Being only six years old, we know that we don’t have everything figured out. We may even have the same questions that you do (!), but we are seeking to be faithful with what we have. Thanks for your grace along the way. We are grateful that you are considering calling DCC your church family and want to serve you in any way that we can. The local church is central to God’s glorious purposes in the world—and we get to be a part of that together. What is your next step? 

Grace abounding, 

Pastor Adam

Dec 8
2016

Meet Our New Church Planting Resident

News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

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We continue to be a church committed to church planting. Over the years we have done much to develop men and women as disciples of Jesus. Yet, we haven’t been able to plant a church (yet) as we’ve been focused on laying a healthy foundation of our own. Planting churches remains our goal and we hope to do so many times over. The local church is absolutely central to God’s unfolding purposes in the world. Therefore, we recently added an element in our development process: hiring a church planting resident. The idea behind this role is to develop a man over the course of 2-3 years and send him, along with a team, to plant a new gospel work.

In light of that, I am glad to announce that we have officially hired our first church planting resident: Jevon Washington. He and his wife, Heather, and baby girl, Ryan, are from the Seattle area, though they are currently in Memphis. They moved two years ago in order to participate in a planting residency hosted by a church there. However, they will be moving back in January to embed with us for a season in hopes of planting a church in the Columbia City/Rainier Valley area. I couldn’t be more excited about how all of this has come together. We will introduce them, in person, in January. Recently, I briefly interviewed Jevon to help you all get to know him and his family a bit more.

“We are looking forward to welcoming you in January, Jevon. Can you tell us a little about you and your family?”

Jevon: The first thing I will say about my family is that we love to laugh and have fun. I am married to my best friend, Heather, and we have a beautiful daughter, Ryan, who as a seven-month-old has the scream of a teenager. I love basketball, football, music, reading, and hanging out with people. I’m also a sucker for movies. My wife likes to cook which is great because I like to eat. Being from Washington my family enjoys going out for walks, or as my wife Heather calls them, “Adventures.”

“Describe how you have discerned your call to plant a church and what that process has looked like for you.”

Jevon: Discerning the call of church planting has been a process that has included years of prayer, affirmation by godly elders, growth as a child of God and training to cultivate the gifts God has given me. To develop these gifts, I needed to submit myself to the care of godly elders. By doing this, I had the opportunity to learn from them by being corrected, built-up, and encouraged to use the gifts God has entrusted to me for his glory to love and serve his church. I’m so grateful and thankful for the time and love people have invested into me throughout this process.

“What are you most looking forward to in this next season?”

Jevon: I’m looking forward to being back in the PNW with friends, family and becoming part of and getting to know the body of DCC. It is a great honor and gift to serve with God’s people for whom he gave his blood. I’m also looking forward to learning from the elders and staff at DCC.

“Are there any ways we can be praying for, or practically supporting, you and your family as you transition back to Seattle?”

Jevon: As the city of Seattle has changed in the two years that we have been away, pray for us as it will be an adjustment in getting to know our city again. We also would love prayers that my family and I will develop a deep sense of fellowship and community in our future neighborhood and body of DCC. Often in ministry “Gospel Goodbyes” are at the core of our God’s missional heart to love the people he has created. With that said, we need prayer for our hearts as a family and those who we have developed relationships with over the past two years to be comforted as we are saying goodbye for the sake of the gospel advancing in Seattle.

“Thanks, brother. We are looking forward to welcoming you in January.”

Downtown Cornerstone, please join me in praying for the Washingtons, and for us as a church, as we continue to grow as a church planting church.

Nov 22
2016

Give and Serve this Advent Season

Advent Drive, City Life, Event, Foster Care, News | by Pastor Craig Sturm

The season of Advent has historically been intended to cause the hearts of Christians to remember and rejoice in the glory of the truth that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us! We celebrate that He has broken into human history to redeem that which was enslaved; restore that which was broken; to renew that which had been dead! The incarnation of Jesus is the single greatest act of love, grace, and mercy in the history of humanity. It is good news of great joy — for the world, and for us as individuals. As we reflect on God’s abundance to us in Jesus, there are two ways that you can partner with DCC to serve and give this Advent season:

FOSTER CARE CLOTHING DRIVE

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On any given day there are 1,200 to 1,500 children in foster care in King County. Whether children are picked up from school or removed directly from home, they often don’t have the chance to bring their clothes with them. Consequently, many children come into foster care without coats or sometimes even socks! It can take weeks for DSHS to get foster children these basic winter essentials. Life in foster care can be extraordinarily challenging and disruptive for kids and teens, both emotionally and developmentally. Having the comfort of warm clothes can go a long way in helping children transition into foster care. Downtown Cornerstone has chosen to partner with DSHS this advent season to provide comfortable clothes for foster children entering state care. The items donated will give DSHS offices a supply of winter items to give out to children as soon as they enter care.

How to Participate:
Starting November 27th, donate clothing for elementary-aged children by dropping clothing in barrels on Sunday or by purchasing items online using the Amazon Wish List.

More Details:
More details, including a list of needed items, can be found at www.downtowncornerstone.org/foster-care-drive

VOLUNTEER WITH THE CARE NET MOBILE UNIT

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After Sanctity of Life Sunday this year, a small group of people within Downtown Cornerstone Church felt convicted and called to respond to the alarming statistics of how abortion affects our city. In response, the group began The LIFE Project, which targeted two connected areas of need: Pregnancy Crisis Support and Adoption/Foster Care. The Pregnancy Crisis Support team partnered with CareNet, the largest pregnancy crisis resource in the Puget Sound, to support their strategy of bringing a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) to Seattle. The Mobile Medical Unit is a bus that will serve women and families where there are currently no life-affirming pregnancy service available. The MMU has the flexibility to park near college campuses, churches, and community centers, reaching women right in their neighborhood for free pregnancy testing, ultrasound appointments, and STI screenings. The statistics for the Mobile Medical Unit are staggering: 4 out of 5 women who board a Mobile Medical Unit choose life for their baby. By God’s grace, working through your passion and generosity, Downtown Cornerstone Church helped support the purchase of the first Mobile Medical Unit for Seattle! The next step in our partnership with CareNet is to serve in ways that directly affect the Medical Mobile Unit.

How to Participate:
There are a number of unique ways that you can serve including: Drivers, Marketing Volunteers, Men to give counsel and support to potential fathers, Medical Volunteers, and Medical Professionals.

More Details:
To learn more about these opportunities, our partnership with Care Net, and to volunteer to serve, visit http://www.downtowncornerstone.org/carenet

If you have any questions on these two efforts, please email info@downtowncornerstone.org. If you’d like to participate with the LIFE Project (Foster Care/Adoption or Pregnancy Support), please email craig@downtowncornerstone.org.

For His glory,
Pastor Craig

Nov 17
2016

Advent Photo Installment – Invitation to Contribute

News, Photos

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With the Advent season coming soon, the DCC Visual Arts Team is excited to invite the entire DCC community to participate with us in celebrating the season through creative photography!

THE VISION

Our desire is to create a dynamic photographic art exhibit in the Commons that would feature various kinds of photography around our Advent theme this year.

This year’s Advent theme “A Light Has Dawned,” comes from Isaiah 9:2:
“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.”

The experience of light and darkness is all around us. Additionally, the medium of light is central to every visual art form. We want to harness this beauty for the gospel reflections of Advent this year, specifically by inviting all of you to contribute to the growing and collaborative photo installation that will be located in the long hallway next to our Commons gallery space.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Over the course of the four weeks of Advent (beginning Nov 27th) we’ll begin printing and hanging images to our photo installation wall. Anyone can contribute to this by posting photos with the hashtag #alighthasdawned on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Our Visual Arts Team will be reviewing the hashtag feed weekly to select and print images to add to our hallway installation. Our hope is that over the four weeks of Advent, this piece will grow – photo by photo – to be a unique visual devotional, a reflection of the creativity and diversity in our church body, and beautiful reminder of God’s presence with us in this city.

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE

You can contribute to this project through the following channels:

  • Post your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #alighthasdawned
  • Email photos directly to leahdankertson@gmail.com (please include the subject line: “A Light Has Dawned Photos”)

This is not intended to be a professional installment, but rather an organic expression of the creativity within our church and the themes of light and darkness in our everyday lives. Due to the limited space of the installation, we won’t be able to display every photo that is submitted. However, anyone and everyone is invited to use the hashtag and share things that inspire them this Advent season! The images selected for the final installation will be the ones that best meet with the following criteria: 1) connection to theme, 2) image quality, and 2) creativity in depiction.

Every expression of beauty is a testimony to the grace and glory of God! Snap those pictures! And share the ways you see God at work in the beauty around you this Advent season!

(Please note: by using this hashtag you are giving DCC permission to print and display your photos with this hashtag)

Oct 13
2016

Meet Your Next Pastor: Craig Sturm

Community, Discipleship, News

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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

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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!