Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Jul 27
2012

Serve the City Recap+Photos

City Life, Photos, Serve the City

[portfolio_slideshow slideheight=400]
Photo credit Christy Giusti

Last Saturday, July 21st, 70 volunteers of Downtown Cornerstone walked the City Center of Seattle, from the avenues to the alley ways, collecting 24 bags of garbage littered throughout the core. Our goal was simple: to sacrificially serve the city as we’ve been sacrificially served by Jesus Christ (Mat 20:28). Jesus willingly entered into our mess of sin and decay, so we gladly do the same for our city. (Rom 5:8; John 3:16; Phil 2:4-11) Check out some of the photos from last Saturday morning above. A big thanks to Seattle Public Utilities and Adopt-a-Street for your partnership and assistance. This is just the beginning as we aim to spread the message and mercy of Jesus Christ, and in so doing, love our city to life.

Jun 30
2012

Serve the City | Sat, July 21st

City Life, News, Serve the City

Join us July 21st as we serve the city by cleaning and connecting with the people in downtown Seattle’s avenues and alleyways! This project includes partnering with the Seattle Public Utilities “Adopt-A-Street” and “Clear Alley’s Program.” DCC will pin point which downtown Seattle streets and alleys will be cleaned by our volunteers. Seattle Public Utilities will provides necessary resources like garbage bags, gloves, brooms, etc.

WHEN: 8:00a – 12:00p on the third Saturday in July (7.21.12), Download this flyer to share with your neighbors and friends!

WHO: You and your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors. This serving opportunity will be a great bridge to build in Seattle and will help us give people a taste of the love, grace and mercy Jesus freely offers them.

WHERE: We will meet up in the parking lot on the northwest corner of 7th Ave & Lenora in front of “Piranha”. Parking in that Impark lot is only $5 for up to 10 hours, so we recommend parking there.

HOW: We are aiming for 65+ volunteers! We will break into 8 teams of 8 or so people. Each team will be assigned specific streets and alleys to “own” by way of cleaning and caring for people within the vicinity. We’ll proceed block by block through the City Center until each street and alley is served or we run out of resources.

MISSION: Our goal is to love the city to life by way of service and care for people. Our primary function is to serve the city and as we do that we will be mindful that we are Jesus’ ambassadors, making much of him in how we serve, and ultimately, why we serve.

More details to come. If you’d like to join us please email info@downtowncornerstone.org.

Jun 11
2012

“What if no one else within DCC is like me?”

Community | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

If you’ve asked this, you’re not alone.

More than one of you have asked this very question – and it’s a good one. Maybe you’ve thought, “There is no one like me here.” Or, “No one is interested in the same things.” Or, “No one is in my season of life.” Or, “I’ve tried but just don’t seem to connect.” Those thoughts inevitably leads to other thoughts like, “Maybe I should go somewhere else.” Or, “I should be with people who are just like me.” Or, “Perhaps Christianity isn’t for people like me.” My concern is for where the initial question may lead, not with the initial question itself.

We have a new, growing and very diverse church.

We have younger and older singles; younger and older marrieds; couples with and without kids; college, post-college, and no-college; rich and poor; out-of-shape and in-shape; tattoos and no tattoos; healthy and sick; employed and unemployed; extroverts and introverts; mature and immature; consistent and inconsistent; faithful and unfaithful; recovering drug addicts and current drug addicts; Christians, non-Christians and I-potentially-want-to-be-a-Christian’s; white, black, latino, asian, and native american; and more. It doesn’t surprise me if you may feel a little different or out of place. I feel different and out of place.

But, don’t miss what Jesus is doing in you and us.

Only the saving, forgiving, reconciling work of Jesus Christ could bring such a diverse group of people together. Jesus is creating a people for him, out of all the people of the city of Seattle, and we get to be part of that work, together. The very thing we find challenging (i.e. our diversity) is the very thing that brings Jesus deep joy and glory. It’s the very thing that causes visitors and newcomers to ask, “What in the world is going on here?” I love that question. The answer? The gospel of Jesus Christ is at work. Listen to how the Apostle Paul describes this work in his letter to the church at Ephesus:

“[Jesus] came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we [all] have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Eph 2:17-22

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sin and life with God, we simultaneously become part of a new people, the church, with a new identity. Paul says we are “no longer strangers and aliens” to God and to one another, rather we are “fellow citizens”, “members of the household of God”, and a “holy temple” of living stones “being built together”. In other words, in Christ, we are now citizens of the same kingdom, members in the same family and living stones in the same building. We are a new people and our identity is found in him, and one another, before it is found anywhere else. Read this story that highlights this point so clearly:

“Listen to how the fourth-century Roman historian Eusebius described one early Christian named Sanctus, when Sanctus stood before his torturers in the year AD 177: ‘With such determination did he stand up to their onslaughts that he would not tell them his own name, race, and birthplace or whether he was slave or free. To every question he replied, in Latin, ‘I am a Christian.’ This he proclaimed over and over again, instead of name, birth place, nationality and everything else, and not another word did the heathen hear from him.” Jonathan Leeman, Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus, p32

You might say, “Ah, but Pastor Adam, does Jesus know what it is like to be so different, misunderstood?” Yes. God became man in Jesus Christ. God. became. man. Literally, there was no one like him. Talk about feeling out of place. Yet, he humbled himself for those who were very different and had nothing in common with, entered our story, died for our sins and rose again to new life in order to rescue and create a new redeemed people out of all the peoples of the earth. You and I are part of that great redemptive masterpiece of God, in Christ. Our diversity is a sign that Jesus is at work. Don’t run from that, embrace it.

So, practically speaking…

First, many of you are new to Downtown Cornerstone. That is great! Though we work to create a culture that is warm, welcoming and hospitable, you will also have to step out in faith to pursue others, start serving, join a community, etc. to begin to enter into the lives of others.

Second, we all have to work to create the culture we want – that Jesus wants. If we wait for our ideal church to appear, we’ll be waiting a long time (read: forever). So, if you wish folks would invite you over for dinner; start by inviting them over. If you feel misunderstood, try first understanding others. If you feel out of place, try making others feel at home.

Third, make a decision to embrace the diversity, and the accompanying difficulty, as good. The diversity within our church is from Jesus and he wants to use it to continue to form more of himself in you (cf. Rom 8:29) for your good, the good of others and His glory.

Fourth, demonstrate a holy violence against all relational bitterness, division or disunity. Our enemy loves to undermine the work of Jesus, particularly through the use of Jesus’ own people. Hebrews 12:15 says it well, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” Bitterness effects the entire church, particularly at our stage.

Lastly, remember we are all, individually and corporately, a work in progress. Above, Paul says we are “being built together” which means we are still under construction. This calls for grace, patience and prayer.

May 23
2012

Picnic at the Park Photos

City Life, Community, Photos

Check out these photos from our party at South Lake Union Park last Thursday. It was a great kick-off to the summer! Photos by Daniel Looman.
Apr 27
2012

What’s Next? Glad You Asked.

City Life, Community, News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Now that we’ve moved gathering spaces to make room for growth, celebrated our first birthday as a newly forming church, remembered Good Friday/Easter, and held our largest gathering ever on 4/15, what’s next? It has been a great season together, hasn’t it? Many of you, particularly our deacons, community leads, and ministry volunteers, are well deserving of a break to refresh and recoup. If you can, take some time to do just that. Thank you for your selfless service to this fledgling flock of Jesus-followers in the city. He has only just begun his work in, among and through us. You might be asking, “What’s next?” Glad you asked.
Here’s a snapshot:

Spring/Summer

Summer is near and that means every Seattleite comes out of their cave to enjoy our beautiful city under the sun. We want to leverage this summer to develop our communities, engage our not-yet-believing neighbors and enjoy our city. While many churches experience a decline during the summer, we grew last summer. So, we don’t know what to expect. We’re currently working on plans to serve our city, enjoy some good ‘ol fashioned barbecue lakeside, get out of the city for an all-church campout, and celebrate our next round of baptisms at Myrtle Edwards. Email us at info@downtowncornerstone.org or reply below if you’d like to help. It is going to be a great summer.

Sacrificing & Serving

Now that we have our first year down and our new gathering space secured, it can be easy to feel that we’ve “arrived”. The truth is, in one way or another, we will always be planting this church. You need to know that we’re in a critical season. 80% of church plants fail within the first three years and 65% fail within the first seven. Seattle – not to mention urban Seattle – is very hard ground. The odds are against us, but Jesus is for us and that means we win. What does that mean for you? It means that we all should have a posture of sacrifice and service for the good of one another and the good of this city, just as Jesus has for us. We need everyone to be sacrificing time, treasure and talents. We’re a family and, like any family, we need all hands on deck. Our resources are few, our needs are great, but He is sufficient. Let’s ask him for even more fruit in this next season. Again, thank you to all who this is already true of.

Living Everyday (this Spring/Summer) with Gospel Intentionality

To be a follower of Jesus means to know and grow in relationship with him. God has given us particular means of grace to serve as gasoline on the fires of faith in our soul; such as Bible reading, relational prayer, memorization and meditation, fasting, community, serving, and more. These don’t earn favor with God, but they help us to more deeply experience the favor we already possess by nature of our relationship with him, in Christ. As we go into this new season, it may be helpful to reevaluate your current practice of the means of grace. What needs to change? What should you stop doing? What should you start doing? What did you set out to do on January 1st that you need to revisit? Additionally, whether you’re a reader or not, I encourage everyone to always have at least one book that they’re working on that was written to facilitate a deeper knowledge and understanding of Jesus, the gospel and the cross. Check out our recommended reading list here.

New Sermon Series

We’ll be wrapping up our 10 month study of the book of Acts in early July. We’ve taken ample time in Acts in order to examine how the early Christian church was formed and managed to spread the gospel throughout the Roman Empire. The parallels to our season of life are clear. I hope you’re getting as much out of it as I have. We’re not done yet! Following Acts, we’ll walk through an eight week series that will serve as the content for our new membership process. (more below) We will then start a brand new series in the fall, which I’m still working on.

Membership

The Bible refers to the church, among many other things, as members of the family of God and members of the body of Christ. In other words, to be in Christ is to be deeply, vitally, organically connected to the bride of Christ, the church (i.e. people). Historically and traditionally that relationship has been described as membership. This is vastly different than a AAA or Costco membership. We align ourselves with AAA or Costco in order to receive. But, we align ourselves with a local church in order to give. To be a member is to indicate that we belong to this particular local expression of Jesus’ people and all that carries with it. All that said, our hope is to have our first round of a membership process in place by the end of the summer. More details to follow.

Clearly, there is a lot happening and much to thank Jesus for. He has been exceedingly gracious and generous to us. Please do keep all of this in your prayers. There is much work to be done, sun to be enjoyed and life to be lived this summer. I look forward to sharing it with you and watching Jesus do his work of saving and sanctifying. Thanks for allowing me to be your pastor. It is a privilege for which I thank Jesus daily. Let’s ask Him to do what only He can this summer.

Apr 5
2012

Five Reasons to Join us for Good Friday and Easter

News, Teaching | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Good Friday and Easter have been set apart since the earliest days of the church to specifically remember, reflect and rejoice in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and all these two events accomplished for those who embrace him by faith. Jesus’ death and resurrection are two sides of the same coin. Without his death, there’s no resurrection. Without his resurrection, there is no salvation. They cannot be separated, so I encourage you to not separate your participation in them. This weekend we remember two great events with one great purpose: God reconciling sinners to himself.
I invite you to join us.

Five reasons to join us for Good Friday and Easter.

#1 Jesus? You and/or your friends may know nothing about Jesus. If you’re an average Seattleite you likely know very little about who Jesus is, let alone why there’s so much hoop-la surrounding his death and resurrection. Given the importance of this towering figure, it is only wise to learn more. Join us. That’s what this weekend is all about.

#2 We forget. Even those who are followers of Jesus forget. We forget how radical a salvation God has accomplished for us in Jesus. We forget how deep our sin really is. We forget how great God’s grace really is. We forget that our condition is so bad God had to die for us, yet we are so loved he was glad to. We forget and need to be reminded. “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder…” (1 Pet 1:13) That’s what this weekend is all about.

#3 Slow down. Life is busy and it can be hard to slow down and truly think about life, death, sin, meaning, purpose, faith and more. We get so caught up in moving from one activity to the next that we rarely get to step back and reflect. What am I living for? Why am I here? Am I living my life in line with the gospel? Do I truly have an interest in Jesus? That’s what this weekend is all about.

#4 Relevance. Even though the events we remember and celebrate this weekend occurred roughly 2,000 years ago in a small, rural outpost of the Roman Empire, they remain incredibly relevant. Jesus is relevant. In a world of one-hit-wonders, seasonal fads and passing celebrity, what we need is real, grounded, truth that has stood the test of time. That’s what this weekend is about.

#5 He is Risen! Jesus’ resurrection proves He is the Son of God (Rom 1:4). By his resurrection sinners are converted (Acts 3:26), sin is forgiven (Acts 5:30-31), the Spirit is sent (Acts 2:33), people are healed (Acts 3:15-16), the penalty and power of sin is destroyed (Acts 13:37-39), we are assured the gospel is true (Acts 17:31) and our future resurrection is guaranteed (Acts 17:31). That’s what this weekend is about.
HE IS RISEN!

Apr 2
2012

Happy 1st Birthday DCC!

News, Video

On Sunday, April 1st 2012 Downtown Cornerstone celebrated our first birthday as a church plant in the heart of downtown Seattle! It was an exciting day as we moved in to our new venue and recalled God’s great grace to us.

To watch on Vimeo go here.


Mar 26
2012

Easter: Bring Someone!

Uncategorized | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Easter is one Sunday, even in Seattle, where it is culturally permissible for everyone and anyone to join a church for worship. With the exception of Christmas, there is no other Sunday like it. Let’s not miss this opportunity but leverage it for the spread of the gospel, the good of our city and the glory of God.

We have 235 seats in our theater at AMC. Let’s fill each one of them. Our dream is for everyone in this great city to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and have an opportunity to respond to his grace-filled, live-giving, soul-satisfying, sin-forgiving news. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people, everywhere, including Seattle:

“Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” Ps 47:1
“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!” Ps 117:1
“And to [Jesus] was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him…” Dan 7:14
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” – Jesus, John 12:32
“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent…” Acts 17:30
“[Jesus] desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim 2:4
“For the grace of god has appeared, bringing salvation for all people…” Titus 2:11

This isn’t about merely drawing a crowd. Let’s not be impressed with crowds, but with Christ. Our Father has put us here to be part of His unfolding, redemptive story in this city – and the cities of the world. Let’s ask Him to do what only He can, starting with us, this season. This may be the only time many of our neighbors, family and friends will hear the gospel. Prayerfully ask Jesus who you should invite, step out in loving faith, and let’s watch Him move this Easter. Together, let’s pray for a packed house for the spread of Jesus’ fame.

Feb 18
2012

State of Downtown Seattle and the Gospel

City Life, News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Last week I had an opportunity to attend the Downtown Seattle Associations’ (DSA) State of Downtown Forum with 1,000 other business, art and civic leaders at the Westin Hotel. Both DCC and my family are members of the DSA. If you are a downtown resident, you should consider it yourself. It was a great event, filled with helpful insights on life (living, working, shopping, playing) downtown.

You might ask, “Why would a church be involved in something like that?”

First, we love Jesus Christ. We are a church with a deep love for Jesus, a thirst for His Word, and a passion for the spread of His Gospel. All things were created by Him, for Him and through Him – including Seattle. He is the Cornerstone of the church, this city, and reality itself. He is not distant and detached. Rather, he made this city and fashioned every person here in his image. Our city’s love for beauty, art, creativity, outdoors, and technology all point to the One who made and sustains them all. Therefore, it goes without saying, Jesus loves Seattle and wants “all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4)

Second, we love Seattle too. If we love Jesus, we also love what he loves, including Seattle. Therefore, we embrace our city, learn from our city and are for our city. We are not in Seattle to stand above it (in judgment) or hide under it (in fear) or to mirror it (in surrender), but to serve it (in love). We love Seattle. We are Seattlites and are here for fellow Seattlites who dislike, hate or are skeptical of the church – as well as those who love Jesus’ church. We want as many people as possible to meet Jesus and experience life as it was intended to be – now and forever.

Third, this is why we exist to build a great city through the gospel of Jesus for the glory of God. God created all things good, whole and perfect. Sin shattered that perfection. But, God sent His son, Jesus the Christ, to live, die and rise again for the forgiveness of sin and to begin the restoration process of the entire universe – through His redeemed people. To be truly Christian is to be truly human; living as we were always intended to live, in loving relationship with God and others. God offers us this life-as-it-should-be through the Gospel, and sends us to be “salt” and “light” (Mat 5:13-14) in our city; to be agents of preservation, renewal and light in our homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods. As this happens, the city changes. Personal Gospel renewal inevitably leads to city renewal as the very social, cultural and spiritual fabric of the city is redeemed. The result? A great city, where Jesus is loved, sin is forgiven, lives are transformed, relationships are reconciled, mercy is extended, integrity is restored, families are rebuilt. That kind of city is a foretaste of forever with Jesus.

“But, how do we do that?”

To do that well, our aim is to cultivate a faithful presence in our city and continually work to understand what makes our city tick. Or, in other words, as the Apostle Paul said:

“I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all
for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Cor 9:22-23

If we genuinely love our city, we should strive to understand it so that we can faithfully and effectively articulate the unchanging gospel into our ever-changing culture. That’s where the DSA event comes in. To become “all things to all people” is to understand where others are coming from (likes, fears, passions, hopes, dreams, etc.) in order to more effectively extend the gospel of Jesus. Here are some things I learned about our city last week:

  • 50% of the jobs in Seattle are located downtown, which means that over half the city spends most of its life downtown. This is clearly an opportunity for the gospel that is largely untapped.
  • Seattle welcomes over 20 million visitors every year. How can we connect with them, though briefly, for the advancement of the gospel around the globe?
  • There are currently 17 apartment projects underway downtown, right now. The density and population of downtown is only expected to grow, presenting additional opportunities for the gospel.
  • Seattle is one of the best cities for young professionals (Forbes, May ’10) and is the #1 post-recession mecca for young skilled workers (Wall Street Journal, Oct ’09). This is our primary demographic.
  • Fast Company named Seattle “City of the Year” (’09) based on creativity and innovation, which is one reason why we emphasize design, creativity, and tech.
  • Downtown Seattle has seen more residential growth since 1990 than Boston, Denver, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco.
  • You can view the entire DSA report online here.
  •  
    Let’s love our city – and the people of our city – well, for Jesus’ sake. Let’s work to cultivate a significant faithful presence for Jesus, being intentional about spreading his mercy and message. That doesn’t happen overnight, but over decades. Let’s continue to ask Him to do what only He can, in our lifetime and in generations to come. God’s story truly is the greatest show on earth. “Behold I am laying in [Seattle] a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:6)

    -Pastor Adam Sinnett

    Jul 5
    2010

    Why Plant a New Church in the City?

    Teaching | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

    The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else–not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes–will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.
    – Tim Keller, “Why Plant New Churches?” (article)

    “Church planting? What exactly is that?”

    Any way you slice it the idea of church planting is often either misunderstood or, literally, unheard of. The questions are many, including:

    • Why plant (i.e. start) a new church in a city already filled with many other churches, some even growing?
    • Why not focus instead on helping existing churches grow?
    • Won’t starting a new church merely take people away from other churches?
    • Shouldn’t we focus on cultivating better churches, rather than adding churches?

    These are valid concerns that stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the complexities of revitalization, organizational life-cycles, demographic diversity, theological distinctions, leadership styles, evangelism, and general philosophies of ministry within existing churches. To put it simply, it’s more complicated than we may at first realize.

    Therefore, to simplify it a bit, the following are seven guiding principles driving us to plant a new church in the heart of the city of Seattle.

    #1. Jesus’ fundamental call was to plant Gospel-centered churches.

    Matthew 28:18-20 is known as the “Great Commission” from Jesus to the Church. It is a commission to “make disciples”, “of all nations”, to “baptize”, and to “teach”. In other words, Jesus commissions his followers as a sent people; sent to all peoples, to invite them to become one of God’s people, that results in a changed people. It’s a commission to plant churches not merely isolated acts of sharing our faith. Even the act of baptism itself signifies “incorporation into a worshipping community with accountability and boundaries.” (1) (cf Acts 2:42-47) It is apparent the apostles interpreted Jesus’ words in this way as they immediately began to plant churches after Pentecost. (cf Acts 13f)

    (more…)