Acts 2 Journey: "Rallying Cry" for Church of Any Size
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Weiser is a historic, rural community of 5,500-plus located in southwest Idaho. It was named over 200 years ago after Peter Weiser, an American soldier and member Galloway of the Corps of Discovery on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and many of its original buildings are now on the National Historic Register. Weiser has a reputation as a community tied together through traditional family values.
In the 1990s, Weiser Assembly took on the new name Cornerstone Assembly and earned a reputation as "The Family Church" because of the love they show to each other and the community. The congregation is a multiethnic, multigenerational fellowship.
Pastors Mark and Nettie Burgess came to Cornerstone in January 2017, and 31 people braved a snowstorm to attend their first service. In early 2020, the congregation averaged nearly 80 in regular attendance (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic).
When Doyle Fulkes, superintendent of the Southern Idaho Ministry Network, called upon the regional small churches to prayerfully consider participating in the Acts 2 Journey, Burgess and the church responded.
"We saw the need to improve our ministries, outreaches and facilities in order to be more effective in the Great Commission," he says.
As Burgess and the leadership team participated in the Acts 2 Journey training, they developed their vision and mission/goals statements. They then began charting a course of small steps to develop into the church Jesus wants Cornerstone to be, focusing on five core values: welcoming, Bible-based, Spirit-led, relational, involving, and growing.
The Acts 2 Journey helped Burgess and the leadership team to develop a strategic plan for Cornerstone with quarterly milestones for measurement in several areas of ministry. It went into effect in January 2020, but due to COVID-19 coming to their area in March 2020, much of the plan was placed on hold.
Instead, Cornerstone began offering online services and daily pastor's devotionals. They also increased their contact with members by letter, phone call and online communication.
A significant way Cornerstone continues to reach out to hurting people is by serving as a distribution center for the Idaho Mobile Food Bank, which has expanded to 320 households being fed twice a month!
"The Acts 2 Journey could have been a daunting task to undertake as a solo pastor in a small church," Burgess says. "However, thanks to a great team, a supportive church board, and an excited church family, we are pressing forward and keeping in mind our vision, our mission, and our goals.
"I believe every church must assess where they are, then prayerfully and carefully seek where Jesus wants them to go,” states Burgess. “The Acts 2 Journey is an excellent source of guidance toward a workable plan and is a rallying cry for a church of any size!"
The year-long Acts 2 Journey effort, led by Alton Garrison, helps strengthen churches as they revisit their mission, vision and values. To date, 1,508 churches in 42 districts and three ethnic fellowships have taken the journey, and 1,177 of those have received an AGTrust scholarship to help them participate.