What does the thought of family mean to you? It’s no secret that the family structure has been under attack for a number of years. The driving force in today’s modern day culture has had success in dividing homes and redefining its values. The eventual fallout can be a loss of identity and purpose. The consequences are not limited to just an individual family, but it’s showing to be a national issue. What does this mean to Cornerstone as a church?
The Cornerstone family continues to see growth both here in Singapore and in the nations. The favour and blessing of God upon the church is undeniable but it’s a trust that comes with great responsibility. Though we rejoice at the increase that God has brought to us, we must never lose sight that we’re a corporate family; a gathering of people whose values and identity are God-given. The same forces that attack individual homes are setting their sights upon the church. Cornerstone must always have that sense of purpose and identity. It’s a shared responsibility involving the church leadership and its members. A brief reflection over the past few months may help put this into perspective.
The Cornerstone Family Camp was a record gathering of members in Malacca over a period of four days. There was a noted cohesiveness that was felt amongst the families gathered, which went beyond the featured events as people interacted with one another. The content of some of my own conversation(s) was at a premium that proved to be mutually-beneficial to those I met. This is significant and noteworthy and it bodes well for the future growth and family health of the church.
The Cell Ministry was highlighted in the month of July, and without doubt one of the key components of what defines Cornerstone as a church. The 2-week exercise of getting to know your neighbour during service was an effective tool in showing how easy it is to connect. It was also an eye-opener in demonstrating just how disconnected we can be from one another. Do we really know the people alongside us? Remember, you may be just one conversation away from a breakthrough.
It was the recent gathering of the Cornerstone Global Network (CGN) of pastors and leaders that really brought this message of family to light. A few days before the conference, I viewed a 2-minute video which deeply impacted me. It was a short story of US military veterans who gathered to take a 4-day river kayak adventure. These veterans all fought for the same cause but were disconnected and drifting after their combat service. After four days, there was a bonding and camaraderie, that in their own words, would last a lifetime. They spoke about knowing that they now had each other’s back in going forward in life. They also shared how they were able to be vulnerable and transparent before one another over those four days. I was moved to tears after one of the veterans stated that he now felt as being part of a family. Is this not a great message to the church?
The CGN gathering had many of these same qualities. The meetings and planned events were very good, but there was something more. Once again, the conversations among the attendees were at a very high level. The giftings and experiences that were shared inspired and built up the network to a heightened family-like feel. Indeed, the Spirit-led bonding has resulted in the CGN of leaders becoming more like a family. This to me was the primary takeaway from this gathering.
Now more than ever, we need to take stock and reflect upon what God is saying. Cornerstone comprises families and individuals who serve the same God, yet coming from varied cultural and societal backgrounds. It’s important that we recognise our need for one other while also recognising that each of us has something to contribute for the strengthening of the church family. Let’s be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that we know our roles and functions.
Heb 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
1Cor 12:11 “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
Pastor Tim O’Connell