“I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”—Matthew 16:18
Cornerstone Presbyterian Church was planted only nine months ago, and what a nine months it has been! In some ways, it seems like yesterday, and in other ways, it seems like we’ve been around for years. God has done so much in our little church in these few months, and I look forward to seeing what He has in store for us in the future.
For those of you that were a part of Parish Presbyterian Church originally, and chose in faith to unite with Cornerstone, I want to personally and publically thank you. You have lived out the commitment of the gospel during a time of change and transition. Change is never easy, but it always brings with it great opportunities for growth. You chose to seize those opportunities and rose to the challenge of church planting with faith and hope, embracing the call of the gospel, jumping into the life of Cornerstone with both feet. You are an example to me, to our church, and I thank God for the deep evidences of His grace in your life.
On the other hand, quite a few of you are newcomers to Cornerstone. You began meeting with us within the last nine months or so. When I say, “Parish Presbyterian Church,” some of you are not even sure what I’m talking about. It’s important you know that Cornerstone is a church plant of Parish Presbyterian Church (PPC). Nine months ago Parish Pres. moved to a permanent location east of Hwy 65. When they moved, they simultaneously planted a daughter church, Cornerstone Pres., in their old location (the downtown chapel). This decision to replant in their old location allowed for this new work to be established very quickly. If you are new, it’s likely you walked into Cornerstone Pres. the first week and it immediately felt like a church. That was the hope and part of the design of this plant. Though it feels that way, the reality is that we are still a church plant institutionally, united with and governed by the leadership of Parish Pres.
Now, when you plant a church, you hope and pray that it will experience kingdom growth. You want to see the church established spiritually and fiscally and become in time an established church. “Particularization” is the word used by our denomination (The Presbyterian Church in America, PCA) to describe the process whereby a church plant becomes an established church. This is a very important step in the life of any church plant. After much discussion and prayer, I’m pleased to announce that we are about to begin this process as a congregation. The elders of both Parish and Cornerstone recently voted to move forward with particularization. We will be meeting with the Nashville Presbytery, which is the governing body in our area that oversees local PCA congregations, to walk through the checklist of items to become a particularized church.
Within the next week, you will be receiving more information about particularization proper, and what steps we will need to take together as a congregation. Please be looking for this information and respond in turn. As we walk this road, and take this exciting step, please pray! God has been unceasingly kind to us, and this next step in the life of our church is just one more evidence of His grace.