Church Highlight: Cornerstone

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Your name: Bill Curtis Your spouse and children’s names: Lyla, Cherie (Robby, Langley), Cassie

Name of your church: Cornerstone Baptist Church

Location of church: Darlington, SC

Date church was planted: 2002

What are the reasons you decided to plant a church in your city? Florence has a religious heritage, but has few healthy, dynamic churches. We planted to help fill that void.

What have you seen the Lord do in and through your church/church plant? God has been gracious to us over the past 13 years. We’ve grown to more than 1300 members, and seen hundreds of people come to Christ and grow as disciples. We have more than 600 adults in our small group ministry, along with hundreds of students and youth in small groups as well. Missionally, we’ve helped to begin and lead The Pillar Network in conjunction with Open Door Church in Raleigh, NC. We’ve helped plant 6 churches, including Redemption Hill Boston, Cornerstone Myrtle Beach, Essential Church, Seattle, and Mercy Hill, Phoenix. We will be the sponsoring church for Summit LIFE Church in Seattle in 2017. We have several international church planting partnerships, including Cuba and Belize, where we’ve sent more than 30 teams in the past 8 years. We’ve helped to construct churches with partners in Cuba, Belize, and Brazil. We’ve been blessed with a 53-acre campus for ministry on I-20 in Darlington, SC.

What do you hope to see the Lord do in and through your church in the future? We are continuing to press ahead in all of our current ministries, and we hope to be sponsoring five church plants a year by 2022 (currently we support three). We have a goal to take all of our adults through Aspire: Transformed by the Gospel, by Dr. Matt Rogers. Currently, nearly 100 adults have been discipled and equipped to disciple others. Also, we hope to expand our campus by adding a new worship center and children’s space within the next five years.

What advice do you have for current or future church planters? There isn’t a harder or more fulfilling task than planting a healthy, reproducing church. It requires equal parts of faith, courage, tenacity, and skill. Being successful requires the following abilities:

  1. Know your passions. Church planters are all different, but they tend to share the same passion—building God’s kingdom by making disciples within the context of the local church. However, planters have unique passions as well: teaching, writing, coaching, discipling, counseling, and leading, to name a few. Goal—embrace your passions and pursue them for the glory of God.
  2. Know your place. Church plant locations are all different, but they share a common ingredient: the cultural context. It is critically important to be an expert on the location where you plant. Goal: exegete the worldview that defines your locale.
  3. Know your people. Church plant locations share another common ingredient: the people who live there. Each of these people is affected to a greater or lesser degree by the worldview of the culture they share. Again, you must become an expert on the people you hope to reach. Goal: exegete the people who live in your locale.
  4. Know your plan. Church plants come in a variety of styles, depending on the vision of the planter and the cultural context of the location and the people who live there. It is vitally important that the lead planter be an expert on the plan and vision of the plant. No one is better equipped or positioned to cast the vision to potential sponsoring churches or to the people who may consider joining the journey. Goal: develop a concise and cohesive explanation of your church’s vision.

What else would you like to share with the readers of our blog? Our church is using Aspire: Transformed by the Gospel, by Dr. Matt Rogers, as our primary discipleship strategy. We love it because it’s a theologically sound, reproducible model. We are seeing great results in our church through Aspire. If you’re interested in more information, contact Seed Publishing Group at 843-601-6375.

What are your 3-4 main prayer requests?

1) Growth in personal discipleship throughout the life of our church

2) Will and Tiffany Forrest, our church planting Associates, as they prepare to move to Seattle to plant Summit LIFE Church

3) Growth in our other church plants, Essential Church Seattle and Mercy Hill Church Phoenix

4) Preparation and partners for KidzFest 2016.

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