Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Jun 15

Serve the City Update & Upcoming Event (Friday, 6/23)

Mercy Ministries, Mercy Update, Serve the City | by Pastor Justin Keogh


We serve our city, because we have been served beyond measure by Christ (Matt. 20:25-28). We are not saved by our works, we are saved by faith (Rom. 3:21-4:8), but saving faith is one that works from the grace we've received (Jas. 2:14-26)!

Last month, we completed our first of three Serve the City events this summer. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out! We had 85 participants at Myrtle Edwards for a wonderful early summer day with sunshine, and lots of great work accomplished. See below for some of our favorite snapshots from the day!

Part 2: Mariners' Day of Service on Friday, 6/23

Our second event this summer is in partnership with the Seattle Mariners and will take place next Friday, June 23rd, from 9 am – 12 pm. DCC will be leading the efforts focused on Pioneer Square by picking up trash, painting out graffiti, and landscaping projects. Like our prior event, this will be a great opportunity to get outside, make a positive impact on our city, and serve alongside our neighbors.

While the Mariners team will be traveling, some familiar faces from the franchise as well as many local business owners and city representatives are going to be joining us for the event too. We'll have projects for all ages—so bring the family, coworkers, and neighbors!

Friday?? Yes, Friday.

This event is happening on a Friday, which might be a challenge for folks working a Monday to Friday 9-to-5 schedule, so not everyone will be able to make it. But, did you know that many companies are offering volunteer days/credits for events just like this one? Ask your HR to see if you've got a volunteer option for the morning. Many of those in our church body work on other shifts, or have flexibility on Fridays, so we're still hoping for a fun turnout from DCC as we partner with many others from around the city next Friday, rain or shine! Register today:


Stay Connected

Our Serve the City events are just one part of how we care for our city. You can learn more about our Mercy Ministries HERE, and also join our ongoing focus area groups to hear more regular updates, events, and opportunities to serve:

For the Kingdom,
Pastor Justin

One Seattle Day of Service, May 20th, 2023

Jan 18

Join Us for a Day of Service This Saturday, 1/21

Mercy Ministries, Serve the City | by Pastor Justin Keogh

Downtown Cornerstone,

This Saturday, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, we've got the opportunity to partner with our neighbors around Seattle in Together Washington's Day of Service. This Day of Service is a great chance to meet others while we bless our city through tangible projects of cleaning, graffiti removal, and light landscaping. Read more and register HERE.

Living As Faithful Exiles

During Israel's exile in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah wrote to the exiles reminding them of God's sovereign purposes in their exile and his faithfulness to all of his promises. Jeremiah called Israel to do good while they wait for the Lord's redemption:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."
– Jeremiah 29:4-7

Jesus and the apostles apply this theme of exile to Christians in the world. Jesus says "I chose you out of this world" and prayed that we would remain faithful in the world, but not be of the world (John 15:19; 17:15-16). That is, because of God's grace to us in Christ, our earthly lives are not our ultimate end—when God adopts us, we become heirs to an eternal kingdom—and our hope is set fully on our eternal dwelling with God in heaven.

Yet this does not cause us to withdraw from the world but rather motivates us to love and serve others freely, knowing God has purposes for our faithful living as exiles. The Apostle Peter writes:

"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation…For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."
– 1 Peter 2:11-12,15-16

So as exiles in this world, we are to do good and seek the welfare of our city, declaring and demonstrating the love of God, found preeminently in the person and work of Jesus as our Savior.

Serving The City

We have often served in tangible ways around our city, and we have an opportunity to do so again this Saturday by participating in Together Washington's Day of Service. Like many of our Serve the City events, this will be a family-friendly time to come together and bless our city. But in addition to this, we will be serving alongside our neighbors outside of DCC, which we pray will create opportunities to declare the good news of Jesus as our motivation for loving the city as we do.

No specific skills or training are required; simply register, bring friends and family, and show up to help on the 21st!
Register Here

For the glory of our King and the good of many,
Pastor Justin

Jul 28

Serve the City Recap & Photos

Mercy Ministries, Photos, Serve the City | by Pastor Justin Keogh

On Saturday, July 9th, over 100 folks from DCC and our Belltown neighborhood came together at Myrtle Edwards Park for our 8th annual Serve the City event. It was a great day serving together as we enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation and built new relationships with friends and neighbors.

Over the day, ten teams worked to remove graffiti, pick up trash, and do significant landscaping along the well-loved paths in the park. Thank you to everyone who made the day a great success!

We serve in events like this as a small way of being salt (a preserving agent), light (a guiding tool), and a faithful presence as part of our witness to Christ in Seattle (Matt. 5:13-16; Dan. 6:3,22).

Learn more about our efforts to serve our city through our Mercy Ministries website, and be on the lookout for upcoming opportunities to serve the city with us! And come gather with us at the same Myrtle Edwards Park on Saturday, August 27th, for our annual Picnic at the Park!

For the King and His Kingdom,
Pastor Justin

Jun 23

Being a Salty, Bright, Faithful Presence in Seattle (Serve the City on Saturday, July 9th)

Event, Mercy Ministries, Serve the City, Service | by Pastor Justin Keogh

Downtown Cornerstone,

In just over two weeks, on Saturday, July 9th, from 9 am – 1 pm, we'll gather at Myrtle Edwards Park as a body to serve and bless our neighbors through our 8th annual Serve the City event!

Being a Faithful Presence

As we've been studying Daniel, one of the themes that have stood out to me is being a faithful presence. Daniel remained faithful to God and served where he was—even serving the King of Babylon, who took him and his people into exile. Daniel didn't withdraw in light of the exile or the promise of future return. Instead, he stewarded his time and energies for the good of those around him while trusting in God's work above and through it (Dan. 1:17-21; 6:3; 6:22; 8:27).

We see this same theme throughout the Bible. Abraham, and later Israel, is meant to be a blessing to the nations (Gen. 12:3). Israel, while in exile, was instructed to seek their city's welfare (Jer. 29:7). And we see Jesus himself embody and fulfill this purpose of doing good to those around him through his life, miracles, and ultimately, his death and resurrection—securing forgiveness and salvation for his people (2 Cor. 2:20-22)!

Being Salt & Light

In Matthew 5:13-16, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs his disciples (and thereby, us, his church) to be salt (a preserving force) and light (a guiding force) to those around them. How are we do to this? He says: Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Of course, we understand that these good works come from hearts that have been transformed by the grace of God (Titus 2:11-14), in accordance with God's commandments to know and love him and love our neighbor (Matt. 22:34-39; John 6:28-29), and to give glory to God, and not to ourselves (Matt. 6:1-4).

Serving the City

One of the many ways our DCC family has sought to be salt & light is through our annual Serve the City event. We look forward to serving our city in this way each summer as we work together to make an impact in a short time while making meaningful connections with others. It's a time of joyful labor and fellowship as we live out our calling to be a faithful presence in the city God has placed us. And this year, we're able to resume our large-scale service while partnering with our neighbors in Belltown to serve in our backyard at Myrtle Edwards Park.

Whether you've been at all seven prior Serve the City events or have not yet had the chance to serve with us in these ways, July 9th is a great time to jump in. Our Serve the City event is a simple, tangible, fun, family-friendly way to serve—and it never disappoints! No specific skills or training are required; simply register, bring friends and family, and show up to help on the 9th.

Register Today!

So we can plan accordingly, please register to let us know you're coming. Please indicate any interest in being a team leader when you register. Bring your communities and friends!


For the glory of our King and the good of many,
Pastor Justin

P. S. For a little taste of Serve the City, check out this video from prior years.

Jul 8

An Invitation to Serve the City | July 13th, 2019

City Life, Serve the City | by Pastor Justin Keogh

This Saturday, July 13th from 9a-1p, we’ll gather at Gatewood Elementary School as a body to serve and bless the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) through our 7th annual Serve the City event.

Many of us regularly look forward to Serve the City each summer as we work together to make a big impact in a short time while making meaningful connections with others. It’s a time of joyful labor and fellowship. If you’ve never had the chance to serve with us, July 13th is a great time to jump in! Here are just a few things to consider as we gear up to serve:


We love and serve others because we have been loved and served in Christ. 1 John 4:10-11 says this: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” When the love of God in Christ grips our hearts, it overflows in responsive love to God, his people, and all who bear his image.


The apostle Paul writes: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal 5:13-14) We see that the outworking of God’s love for us is love for others.


The author of Hebrew tells us to consider how to stir up one another to love and good works through continued fellowship and encouragement (Heb 10:24-25). As we serve together, not only do we get to enjoy one another’s company and comradery, but we are also encouraged to further love and good works!

With this in mind, let’s serve with a humble and joyful posture of heart, working heartily unto the Lord.


So we can plan accordingly, please register to let us know you’re coming. If you’re interested in being a team lead, please indicate so when you register. Bring your communities and friends!

All of the details, directions, and registration can be found here.

For the glory of our King and the good of many,

Pastor Justin

Jun 28

Serve the City Recap & Photos

Photos, Serve the City | by Pastor Justin Keogh

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:12-13, 16-17).

Earlier this month, on Saturday June 2nd, over 175 of Downtown Cornerstone’s members, friends, and families came together to serve the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) at Bailey Gatzert Elementary and Washington Middle School for our 6th annual Serve the City event. Over the last few years, we’ve become the largest volunteer group that serves SPS and as such we had the opportunity to bless not one but two schools with our efforts.

At Bailey Gatzert Elementary we weeded and mulched the entire building perimeter, washed the walls throughout the building, cleared and organized supply closets, painted playgrounds and a mural. At Washington Middle School, we hung birdhouses, painted playground lines, cleaned up multiple courtyard and garden spaces, making them more inviting and safer for students, with the added benefit of clearing out the space in preparation for 8th grade graduation just last week!

Serving as we do through this event (and many others) is part of how we envision building a great city, as we seek to be salt (preserving) and light (guiding) in Seattle (Matt 5:13-16). The staff at each school, as well as the volunteer coordinators, have all expressed tremendous gratitude for our efforts – a small sampling of comments includes these sentiments:

  • Thank you Downtown Cornerstone Church – to bring these wonderful projects! It truly is a blessing. I am overwhelmed with you generosity to purchase tools for our tool library, which has continued to serve multiple schools this summer. – Gretchen, Volunteer Director
  • Please extend our thanks to your church who worked with dedication in making our school campus more beautiful, less cluttered and ultimately more functional for safe and dynamic learning. – Laurie, School Principal
  • Your partnership was invaluable and all the volunteers who were able to help make such a great impact on both schools is inspiring, to say the least. – Sean, Volunteer Coordinator

We know that our service, while grand on some scales, is ultimately a reflection of a much greater demonstration of love and care from Jesus, who willingly came to serve, not to be served (though he had every right to be served as God incarnate). Rather, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and instructed us to do the same (John 13:1-20). So we celebrated the opportunity to be a blessing to SPS this year, as in years past, displaying in some small measure the gifts and glory that have been bestowed upon us in Christ. We know that it is not our works that make us righteous, but God’s gift of righteousness that frees us to serve our neighbors, for God’s glory.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne … Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matt 26:31, 34-40)

Jesus teaches us that our love is not seen only in massive acts of sacrifice, but rather simple, humane, faithful acts of love and service “to the least of these” around us. Let us continue to serve out of thanksgiving, knowing how much we have been served in Christ, and be salt and light to our neighborhoods – to the children in schools, or in foster care, or in juvenile detention; to the refugee; to women seeking to escape the sex trade; to expectant mothers unsure if they can carry a child to birth; or to the homeless men, women, and families throughout our city.

Be on the lookout for ongoing opportunities to serve with your community and DCC in any of these focus areas through our regular Mercy updates and focus groups on the city.

May 17

Why “Serve the City”?

Event, Serve the City, Service | by Pastor Justin Keogh

In just a few weeks, on Saturday, June 2nd from 9a-1p, we’ll gather at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School as a body to serve and bless the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) through our 6th annual Serve the City event. Over the years, we’ve set aside a summer Saturday morning in order to serve together as a family on mission. As we’ve continued to grow so has our impact through this event – and as of the last few years, we’re one of the largest groups that SPS has worked with! Of course, our motivation is not to be the largest group, but to serve with the joy of the Lord as our strength (and thereby do as much good as we can). As we gear up for serving together on June 2nd, I wanted to remind us of some great truths in our service to our neighbors:

We have been loved and served beyond measure in Christ

Our fundamental starting point is the good news of the gospel, which is that when we were dead in our sins Christ came to rescue us through his death and resurrection and restore us to right relationship to God (Rom 5:8). And from this restored relationship overflows a love that is expressed in all areas of our life – how we spend our time, money, and effort; how we work and play; how we relate to one another and to our neighbors. We live with Christ as our model, who came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28).

We serve by God’s strength and for His glory

Throughout Scripture, God speaks of his redeeming work to create a people for his own possession, that we would be set apart, living for His Glory. Ephesians 2:10 says it this way: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God has redeemed us and set before us good works that we might display something of His love and glory to the world around us. Jesus says that we are to be light in the world, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).

We serve our city out of love as an implication of the gospel

In being loved by God through Jesus, we are moved by the love we’ve received to love others, within the church and outside of the church. Paul writes to the Thessalonians that they are to “always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people,” (1 Thes 5:15). We seek to both declare and demonstrate the good news of Jesus across Seattle, through our faithful proclamation and service.

With this in mind, let’s serve with a humble and joyful posture of heart, working heartily unto the Lord. More details, directions, and registration can be found here. Please register to let us know you’re coming and so we can plan accordingly. Bring your communities and friends!

For the glory of our King and the good of many,
Justin Keogh

Aug 3

Video and Photos from Serve the City

City Life, Event, Serve the City, Service, Video | by Micah Rickard

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” – John 17:3

Jesus begins his prayer for his disciples and all believers, recorded in John 17, with this brief and beautiful statement on what it means to be in Christ. Later in this prayer, Jesus prays, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (v. 22-23). The reality that we are in Christ brings a transformational unity with each other, and God uses this unity to display his glory to the world, that others may know him and have eternal life. Paul highlights this when he refers to believers as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

It is out of these deep truths that we are committed to building a great city, not just a great church. It’s why our desire as a church is to see gospel renewal take place from the avenues to the alleyways. We have been infinitely served and loved by Christ, and out of the joy and gratitude that brings, we get to serve together as God’s people to display his glory in our city!

Last month, on July 15th, Downtown Cornerstone had the opportunity to partner with Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle to help out with a variety of grounds work projects, including repainting US and World maps, repainting foursquare and tetherball courts, turning up ground and laying down mulch to outline a new track, removing massive amounts of ivy from fences, weeding along edges and fence lines, and more!

One woman and her family walked past the school, witnessed our efforts, and were moved to tears to see us “carrying out Jesus’ mission to serve others.” She mailed a thank you note sharing her appreciation saying, “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for living the true Spirit of love and community. I will never forget your collective and individual kindness.” Her son will attend kindergarten at Gatewood Elementary this fall!

It’s stories like this that remind us we really are the hands and feet of Christ, sharing the love He’s given us with those in our community. With over 200 volunteers (plus kids!) serving a total of 800+ hours we accomplished an incredible amount of service and support for the students and staff at Gatewood! If the Department of Neighborhood approves the grant Gatewood’s Parent-Teacher Association submitted, they’ll receive an equal amount of paid hours toward additional improvements. What an incredible gift!

Thank you to all who came out to help!

– Deacon Micah Rickard


Jun 22

A Family on Mission | Serve the City

City Life, Event, Serve the City, Service | by Pastor Craig Sturm

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” – Jeremiah 29:7

Downtown Cornerstone,

We’re about three weeks away from our Serve the City event! If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to register and invite two or three neighbors, friends, family, or co-workers to join in as well!  

If you’re new or haven’t been around for a while, you may be wondering, “Why are we serving the city in this way?”As a church, we want to proclaim the Gospel in word and demonstrate it in deed. Because of that, here are three reasons why we are serving the city this summer, and why you should consider joining us:


Romans 5:8 says that even while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us. As a church, we believe that we’ve been infinitely loved and served by God, through the person and work of Jesus. Because of that, we believe that the good news of the Gospel is not only shared in word, but demonstrated in deed. Serving is not just “giving back do-goodism”, but a tangible expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – serving as we’ve been served; loving as we’ve been loved, in Christ.


The Seattle School District has only 5 groundskeepers to maintain 34 schools in the South Seattle school district. This leaves many of the schools without adequate funding and manpower to maintain the properties. As such, these schools heavily rely on volunteer efforts to come alongside and help maintain their properties and facilities. We asked Seattle Schools where their greatest need is, and they told us Gatewood Elementary. We desire to be humble, responsive, loving, service partners with the school district.


Often when we think of the church, we think of it as a family, and it is (Eph 2:19, Gal 6:10), but more importantly, the church (us!) is God’s primary vehicle for the spread of the Gospel (Eph 3:8-11). We call that mission, or the “great commission” (Matt 28:18-20). God sent His son to seek and save the lost, and He sends us as His people, across the street and around the world – with the good news that Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and new life with Him, beginning now. The whole purpose of doing events like this is to not only love and serve the city, but create space to invite others to participate with us, and love and serve others as Christ has loved and served us.  


1. Who can you reach out to this week and invite them to serve with you? 

Be praying now for good conversation, open doors, and that the Spirit of God would use something as simple as serving the city together to change the hearts and lives of our not-yet-believing friends for all eternity! 

2. How might you weave this into the rhythm of your community’s summer schedule?

It would be cool to see whole communities serving together, extending their connecting beyond just their regular meeting times. Talk with folks in your community about making this a summer priority!

That our joy in Jesus would be tangible to our city,

Pastor Craig

Here’s the video from a few years ago to help whet your appetite!

Aug 19

Serve the City: Recap, Thank You & Pictures

Event, Serve the City, Service


On Saturday, August 1st, we had the privilege of partnering with Seattle Schools for our forth annual “Serve the City” event. This year, over 100 volunteers helped, giving over 500 combined man hours of time, to bring some much needed maintenance, groundskeeping, and painting to Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. Thank you to all who came out to help on such a warm, sunny day!

As a church, we’re committed to building a great city, and we desire to see Gospel renewal take place from the avenues to the alleyways. We not only want to declare the good news of the Gospel to Seattle, we also want to be good news to our city. It’s not about “giving back” but a tangible expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – serving as we’ve been served, in Christ.

Here is just a small glimpse into what was accomplished:

  • Brightened the blacktop with refreshed game lines, foursquare, tetherball, international hopscotch.
  • Tackled a huge weeding project in the garden, enabling the garden teacher to focus on planting with the kids.
  • Moved a Big Brothers Big Sisters donation box to new, level gravel pad, creating a safer, more inviting donation experience.
  • Weeded the playgrounds and mulched plant beds.
  • Picked over dozen of bags of trash from the school grounds.
  • Cleaned and primed the YMCA childcare room (and we returned two weeks later to finish the painting job!).
  • Weeded and mulched the perimeter of the entire school building, empowering them avoid spraying pesticides.