Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Fellowship Purpose...

Cornerstone Unite Believers. This is the fellowship purpose. Cornerstone had been deeply divided six years ago when I arrived. It was obvious that one of the most pressing needs that the church was experiencing was the need for unity. There are a mulititude of scriptures that indicate the importance of unity within the Body of Christ. Jesus in prayed in his High Priestly prayer that the church would be unified even as the Father and the Son were unified. I believe that a church must come together in unity to truly see the Holy Spirit work in and through the church.

The primary caregivers of church unity at Cornerstone are the Deacons. After all, it was the Deacons who were called to serve when the dispute arose between the Hellenistic Widows and the Jewish widows in the early church. Deacons at Cornerstone are true servants. They are not an administrative board and they are not elders--they are servants. Each Spring the Deacons and I head off for a mountain retreat where among other things the Deacons choose the families for which they will provide care throughout the coming year. I ask our Deacons to serve as pastors for their families--providing the same care they might expect from myself. Their care does not replace mine but rather builds upon the care that I provide as well. Deacon care is defined in the following four ways:

Chaplains - providing pastoral care
Accountability - being our brothers' keeper
Resources - meeting needs wherever they may exist
Encouragement - cheering each other on to victory

In addition, our Deacons periodically will get together with their chosen families for times of food and fellowship. The idea is for our church members to assume responsibility for each other under a Deacon's leadership. It is not unusual for a "Deacon CARE Group" to pitch in several hundred dollars to meet a financial need, or to provide meals for a family who has a family member in the hospital. Unity grows when we meet each others needs in practical and caring ways.

Our Deacons, though ordained for life, serve a three-year term before taking a year off from active service. A typical Deacon meeting occurs early Saturday morning and is almost entirely spent discussing the state of our families and any care that is needed.

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