Twelve Years and Counting
by Aaron O'Kelley
In August of 2010, Cornerstone Community Church started its pastoral apprenticeship with a group of six men. In the intervening years, the apprenticeship has undergone growth, development, and refinement, while in the process engaging a total of 52 men (and counting) at some level of theological training for leadership in the church. As long as the Lord is pleased to continue providing for this work, we expect that this program will continue to develop and adapt to a changing world while maintaining its core mission: to train faithful leaders who will strengthen, revitalize, and plant biblical churches.
The pastoral apprentices at Cornerstone work through a hefty reading list and have regular meetings to discuss what they are learning. In addition, they meet regularly with the preaching pastors at Cornerstone to work through sermon texts as they aid in the work of sermon preparation. They also learn more about the depths of the human heart through our counseling class. They have opportunities to preach and teach publicly at our congregation and among sister churches in West Tennessee. And they are able to pursue all of these tasks while benefiting from seminary education through the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Jackson extension center.
Currently, Cornerstone invests in the training of nine men who are studying biblical and systematic theology, apologetics, cultural issues, and are pursuing the skills of public teaching, preaching, and leadership. It has been our privilege to see these men grow over their time with us in knowledge, character, and skills that will be needed to serve Christ’s church faithfully in the coming decades of their lives. We are thrilled to announce that one of our current apprentices, Cliff Thompson, has plans to move his family to Plattsburgh, New York, this summer in order to aid the work at Bread of Life Baptist Church where a former Cornerstone apprentice, Logan Smith, is now serving as pastor. From the far end of the northeastern United States to the mountains of the west in Utah, and even down in the jungles of Peru, former Cornerstone apprentices are engaging in the work of serving Christ and making disciples of all nations.
We are coming up on twelve years and counting. May God give us many more, if he is pleased to do so.