Impressed by my first visit to Cornerstone Church (click here to view), and having experienced a dismal morning’s experience with finding a church service (see previous post), I headed to this Brayton Drive church once again on August 16. It was great to be warmly greeted by the same person upon entering, and then again by the same team of greeters outside the sanctuary. Trust me, it makes all the difference in the world to feel you are welcomed into an unfamiliar church. The music was great, the preaching, by a layman, was adequate. In all, this re-visit confirmed that a consistent church maintains a high level of service, to the visitor and member alike.[img_assist|nid=143472|title=Lavonne – Still Greeting With a Smile|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=207|height=390]
Cornerstone has figured out that greeting members and visitors is important. They are well organized with the same people doing this important task. My second visit was a bit like coming home as I instantly recognized familiar faces who had greeted me previously. I was so impressed at the outer door I asked the woman greeter if I could take her picture. Later I discovered her husband greets at another outer door. What a team! The same team of women was covering the sanctuary door I entered, handing me a bulletin. They were still facing toward the sanctuary and don’t always see the people approaching from behind, but the greeting is warm and the bulletin is offered.
Good Music – Long Renditions
The praise band is excellent in this church. I do not consider them to be providing entertainment as in other churches but a prelude to worship. However, the contemporary Christian selections seemed, to me, long and drawn out with much repetition of words and verses. Personally I’d urge they be pruned a bit to move the service along.[img_assist|nid=143471|title=Cornerstone Praise Group|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=160]
Interesting Offering Prayer
Lately I’ve really been listening to the wording of all of the prayers in churches. The offering prayer here was interesting in that the person praying informed God that the offering was going to be taken. Personally, I think God already knew this so the prayer seemed to be more of an informational footnote to the worshiper instead of an opportunity to ask for God’s blessing over the gift and the giver alike. In small ways like this, I believe we train Christians to tell God things already known rather than invoking the power God promises to us. Visitors were not told they were under no obligation to give, a practice lacking in most churches.
The audience was informed that Pastor Brad Sutter was on sabbatical and would be resuming his pastoral duties soon. A layman, Tom Downing, was the speaker this day. Personally I enjoy hearing a good layman sermon. Many churches delegate all of the preaching to a pastor which is contrary to the practice of the apostolic church. Some lay sermons can be most powerful. Titled Encounter With a Lighthouse Mr. Downing’s sermon started off with a series of anecdotes, that did not seem to relate and integrate with the sermon. In fact, it was about 20 minutes into his sermon before Mr. Downing made his first reference to scripture, John 4. At one church I like to visit, the pastor completes his excellent sermons in 17-20 minutes to an articulate, Bible-believing and spiritually aware congregation. You can listen to Downing’s sermon by clicking here and selecting the date of 8/18/09, an error. For a layman it was fine and communicated some good thoughts.
I sincerely enjoyed the experience of meeting with this church again. You cannot go wrong by visiting here. I had an extended conversation with a sanctuary greeter after the service. I was given a welcome gift of chocolate, bookmark, and a small Max Lucado book (pictured below). Thank you Mary and Lavonne for your warm greetings both times I’ve visited. I’m glad I had a bad morning trying to find a church to visit. I was probably meant to revisit Cornerstone this day.[img_assist|nid=143470|title=Cornerstone Welcome Gift|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=354]