Cornerstone Church in Calera, AL

Cornerstone Church in Columbiana, AL

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Psalm 118:22
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What to Expect on a Sunday Morning

Resources

Theology & Practice

Being a new church, you won’t find a huge auditorium or an over powering light show, but what you will find is a group of people who love the Lord, and are very welcoming and friendly. We would love to have you come join us, and stay for a meal afterwards (we typically have a lunch following the service on the first and third Sundays of each month, and there is always plenty of food).

Here are answers to some common questions:

  1. Where do you meet? – We meet at the Calera Middle School (9178 County Road 22, Montevallo, AL 35007). Sunday School is at 9:30 and Worship is at 10:45.
  2. How should I dress? – The Bible doesn’t have any rules for what you should wear when you go to church, so neither do we. We would ask that you dress modestly, but whether you dress up or dress casual is up to you.
  3. Is nursery available? – Yes, there is nursery for newborns-2 year olds for both Sunday School and worship, and children’s church is available for kids 3-4 part way through the worship service.
  4. Are children welcome in worship? – Yes! We love children, and want them to learn how to worship. If they cry or make noise – it’s OK!
  5. What style of music is in your worship? – Our focus is more centered on content then style, but the style would be best classified as folk. We choose a variety of songs from old hymns to newer praise songs that are biblical in nature, focused on God, and can be sung and understood by the congregation. We also use a lot of retuned hymns. To preview some of the songs we use you should listen to Indelible Grace Music or Red Mountain Music. Or you can stream the Cornerstone Worship Spotify playlist.

How can I get involved?

There are several ways to get more involved with the church and get to know people better. Here are a couple of the main ways.

  • Join a discipleship group – A disciple group is a small group of men or women that meet at various times and locations for Bible study, prayer, and fellowship.
  • Find a way to serve – What are you good at? What do you like to do? Talk to pastor Jeph, and there is probably a way for you to use your gifts to serve the church or community alongside others.

Are there any confessions of faith or declarations that Cornerstone espouses?

We believe that the Westminster Confession of Faith is the most accurate summary of the Bible’s teaching. This does not mean that we believe that the confession is inerrant or on par with Scripture, but it is a useful tool for explaining our doctrinal positions, and is useful for growing deeper in our understanding of the faith.



Why does Cornerstone baptize infants?

The practice of covenant baptism (baptizing the children of believers) is a biblical and historic practice, based on the following reasons (for a more thorough explanation, please reach out to pastor Jeph):

  1. The continuity of the covenants
    The Old Testament and the New Testament are organically related (Gen. 17:7; Gal. 3:6-9). They are not two completely separate ways that God acts with two separate people; rather, the plan of salvation that God started in the Old Testament (OT) was fulfilled and furthered in the New Testament (NT). Therefore…
  2. The place of children in the visible covenant community remains
    • Children in the OT were seen as vital members of the visible community of faith for around 2,000 years, receiving the physical sign of belonging (circumcision).
    • As we move into the NT, rather than changing the position of children in the visible community of faith, their place is confirmed (1 Cor. 7:14; Acts 2:39).
    • While the Apostles were very clear that the sign of the covenant was changed from circumcision to baptism, there was never a change in the recipients of that sign (believers and their children). In fact, what we do see is that 4 out of the 9 baptisms in Acts were whole households.
  3. We believe that baptism is a physical sign pointing to a spiritual reality
    • We do not believe that baptism actually saves a person.
    • We believe that it is primarily a sign of God’s faithfulness to fulfill his promises to those who believe.
    • When a child is baptized, we believe it is still necessary for that child to respond at some point in his/her life in personal repentance and faith.
  4. We do not mandate this practice.
    • This church is made up of people from various church backgrounds, and we understand that there are various convictions on this issue; therefore, no one is ever pressured to baptize their children if they do not believe they should.
    • Following the historic Presbyterian and Reformed tradition, we normally baptize by sprinkling; however, we will also baptize by pouring or immersion if a person has a strong conviction about this issue.


Why does Cornerstone take communion weekly?

We believe weekly communion (aka The Lord’s Supper) to be a biblical practice and our preference for the following reasons:

  1. The practice of the first century church. Although we don’t have any clear-cut command, the New Testament evidence does seem to point in the direction of regular, if not weekly communion (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-20; cf. 14:26).
  2. Evidence from church history. This was the practice of the majority of the church throughout it’s history from the earliest days. While the history of the Church does not have the authority of God’s Word, it at least ought to interest us that the Christian community observed this practice, apparently without much discussion, so shortly after the time of the Apostles
  3. Consistency with other elements of the worship service. Why should the Lord’s Supper be the only regular element of worship, which does not find a place in each worship service? To be consistent, any argument against weekly communion would be an equally valid argument against weekly hymn singing, weekly preaching, prayer, offerings, etc…
  4. Focusing on the simplicity of the gospel. Regardless of the sermon text or topic, the congregation is always brought back to the fundamentals: the death and resurrection of Christ, which is symbolized in the Lord’s Supper.
  5. Appealing to the whole person. Since the Lord’s Supper is the only element of worship that appeals to all five senses, its weekly observance helps to prevent an "intellectualizing" of the worship service. In a real sense, communion is like receiving a hug from God.
  6. Opportunity for covenant renewal. The Lord’s Supper is the ideal means of meditating on God’s Word and renewing our faith and repentance so that we may serve the Lord in the upcoming week.
  7. Personalizing the assurance of the gospel. Every week we receive tangible and visible assurance that Christ died for us.
  8. Identifying with the people of God. This Sacrament stresses the corporate dimension of the Church, thereby promoting unity and the restoration of broken relationships. Don’t we need this every week?
  9. Proclamation of the gospel to unbelievers. By setting forth so plainly the work of Christ on the cross, and especially by fencing the table, any unbelievers present are called to faith and repentance. Weekly communion thus provides a natural and regular opportunity to present the claims of Christ to visitors and to younger children.
  10. Spiritual Nourishment. Since the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace (the ordinary ways God works in our life), through faith it provides us with what we need to grow in grace. Thus, the frequent partaking of the bread and the cup for our spiritual nourishment is as necessary as the frequent partaking of food for our physical nourishment.


Can you explain Cornerstone’s Sunday morning worship elements?

  1. THE RHYTHM OF APPROACH
    The beginning section of the worship service focuses on entering into God’s holy presence.
    • Call to Worship: This is a kind of "Call to Attention" from Scripture, reminding us that we are entering the very throne room of God, but also that we are here not to be entertained, but to worship God by his very own invitation.
    • Hymns of Approach: As we enter into God’s presence in worship, we sing songs that focus our hearts and minds on God’s character and works.
    • Confession of Faith: Our responsive confession of faith is a declaration of who we are worshipping (the triune God), why we are worshipping (The death, burial, resurrection, and future return of Christ), and the result of our worship (peace from God, which then extends out to others).
    • Prayer of Adoration: This is a prayer of praise and adoration for who God is. This prayer focuses on the glory and honor of our great and mighty God, but also asks God to help us worship Him.
  2. THE RHYTHM OF RENEWAL
    The middle part of the worship service focuses on the response to being in God’s presence, which is Scripture, is always a recognition of sin, confession, and receiving God’s gracious pardon.
    • Call of Repentance: Being in the holy presence of God reminds us that we are sinful. Scripture constantly calls us to repent (turn away from) our sinful actions, thoughts, beliefs, and false hopes.
    • Confession of Sin: Even as we praise God for who He is and confess our faith in Him, we must face our own unfaithfulness to Him and confess our sins. We do this first in unison using a written confession that will focus on a specific need for confession that is typically common to all people, and which was prompted by the Scripture used in the call to repentance. This corporate confession then leads to individual confession so that we have an opportunity to confess our particular sins privately.
    • Assurance of Pardon: Praise God! Where sin abounds grace abounds all the more! Our pardon is assured through the finished work of Jesus Christ. This assurance comes straight from God’s word, and usually within the same chapter as the call to repentance, showing that when God calls us to repent, He always offers grace.
    • Songs of Praise: Upon hearing that our sins are forgiven, we break into joyous songs of praise for God’s grace manifested in Jesus Christ.
    • Pastoral Prayer: As God’s people who have glorified His name, affirmed our faith, confessed our sins and been assured of His pardon, one of the pastors or elders brings our personal petitions before the throne of our Holy God with boldness through our Mediator, Jesus Christ.
    • Worship through Offerings: Following our prayer for past thanksgivings and future provision, we acknowledge God’s constant provision for us through His tithes and our offerings. The offering goes to support the work and ministry of the local church as well as national and international mission work. It is given as a sign of trusting God to provide for all of our needs.
  3. THE RHYTHM OF FELLOWSHIP
    Having confessed our sin and been renewed by grace, this last section of the worship service focuses on fellowshipping with God by hearing from his word and meeting with him at his table in the Lord’s Supper.
    1. Scripture Reading & Preaching of God’s Word: Each element in our liturgy drives our desire to know more about God and His gracious dealings with mankind, so we turn to His Holy Word and hear a sermon which explains the meaning of the text and how it is to be applied to our lives today. We are committed to the exposition (verse by verse explanation) of God’s Word, so the majority of the sermons we preach are expositions through a particular book of the bible.
    2. The Lord’s Supper: as the climax of the service, we are spiritually fed as we partake symbolically of the body and blood of the lord jesus christ (symbolized by the bread and the cup). each time we partake we are fed anew and reminded of the finished work of christ for us individually and corporately. in christ, we have received complete forgiveness of our sins.
    3. Hymn of Response: following the hearing of god’s word proclaimed through scripture and the lord’s supper, we sing a song that aids us in expressing what we have just heard concerning god and our response to him.
    4. Benediction: this is a word of blessing from god to the congregation using scripture. it assures all who have worshipped god in spirit and truth of his blessings as they depart.


Can you explain Cornerstone’s Sunday morning worship elements?

Pre-composed prayers are Biblical. The historic church got the idea from the Bible, particularly the Psalms and the book of Revelation. The Old Testament is filled with examples of how the saints used set forms of prayer and confession. These kinds of prayers are a very valuable aid to worship. We don’t "naturally" know how to pray, so pre-composed prayers help train our minds to pray biblically.

Good prayers (usually ones saturated with Biblical language) guide and assist us in composing our own private prayers. Prayers sung or said in unison manifest the unity of the church in prayer because we all pray together as the body of Christ, not just as a bunch of individuals.

Printed prayers and confessions also ensure congregational participation. Worship is not something you come to watch, it’s something in which you participate.

Responsive readings are also Biblical. The historic Christian church as well as the church in the Old Testament worshiped using responsive, dialogue forms of speech and song. The parallel style found in nearly every Psalm existed for its responsive use in worship.

Through responsive readings the "conversational" nature of worship is reinforced. We respond to our Lord who is not silent, but speaks to His church through His Word.



What is covenant theology and why should that matter to me?

Covenant theology is how we see the unfolding plan of God throughout Scripture. In short, we believe that God has always had only one plan for salvation; which is by grace through faith alone. The plan from the very beginning was to bring a savior, Jesus Christ, who would fulfill the law and take God’s wrath on the behalf of believers. All of the Old Testament was showing the need for and pointing to Christ. The New Testament is pointing back to what Christ did for us.

The fundamental understanding of the Bible’s unity matters because it affects how you read the Old Testament. More than being a collection of moral tales and history, all of it is about Jesus. For instance, rather than reading the Old Testament in a way that says, "Be like David or be like Moses," we read the Old Testament primarily in a way that shows we need Jesus because the best of us were sinners. Jesus is the greater King David who subdues our enemies and reigns forever. He is the greater Moses, who not only declares the law, but fulfills it for us.

Understanding the covenantal unity of the Bible is also important because it affects how we draw real life application from the Bible. If the Old Testament was a different way God was working with a different people, then we really can’t apply any of its teaching to modern Christian life. If there is unity between the Old and New Testaments, however, then we can look to the basics of how to worship, how to parent, how to live as God’s people in the world, and make real life applications as modern Christians.



Does Cornerstone church have any declared political positions or has the church endorsed any particular candidates in the past?

This church strives to be faithful to all the points of the Bible’s teaching, which will definitely touch on issues of ethics and government; however, it does not endorse any particular party or candidate. The truth is that the teachings of Scripture will convict both conservatives and liberals alike. We strive to teach biblical principles, and encourage the individual to apply those principles to all areas of life.



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