Pastoral Notes for Sunday, November 25, 2018

Dear Cornerstone Family,

As I reflected this week on our seventh-year anniversary, I found myself pouring out thanksgivings to God for our officers. Not simply for their ministry faithfulness, though that was part of it, but for the joy it is to call these brothers my friends. That’s a rare gift, and I thank God for it.

Now, such closeness can be a double-edged sword. For whenever you’re close to someone, transitions are harder. When a Cornerstone leader has stepped down or departed over the years, our hearts always break a little. Even when it’s the right thing, you never want to see a partner, a friend, go. That’s certainly how we feel about the three leadership transitions taking place at Cornerstone right now. Let me tell you about them.

First, there’s one thing we can all agree on—that one of the greatest gifts Cornerstone has ever received is Greg Wilbur. What some of you might not know is that Greg has served Cornerstone as both a staff person and ruling elder from the very beginning. During his regularly scheduled elder sabbatical, Greg wisely spent time considering the use of his limited time and energy, and although he still senses a strong call to the work of an elder, he decided in relationship with the Session to step away for this next season in order to give more time to other aspects of his calling like writing music and family. Now, don’t get worried; Greg isn’t going anywhere! He will continue to lead us in worship and discipleship on staff at Cornerstone. It’s his hope and ours that this transition away from the eldership for the next season might free him up to be even more effective in his daily calling of ministry at Cornerstone and beyond.

Second, due to some personal matters, our dear brother, Marty Smith, is taking a leave of absence from the diaconate. During this time of change in Marty’s life, it seemed wise both to him and the elders that he be freed from the weekly responsibilities of the diaconate to focus on the things most needful for the next season. Though we’ll miss having Marty’s eager, servant spirit on the diaconate, we rejoice that our brother will be worshipping with us regularly and serving the Lord in a variety of ways in our midst.

Finally, we’re sad to say goodbye to the Clint Branch family. Over the last couple of years, the Branches have felt their center of gravity move away from Franklin to Spring Hill/Thompson Station where they live. Then, due to a number of providential matters in the family, the Branches were unable to attend Cornerstone regularly on Sunday mornings over the last eighteen months. To fill the gap, they began attending a faithful Bible believing church in Spring Hill that had an evening service. Worshipping in Spring Hill for a season has led them to believe they should pursue membership in that local body. We are so very grateful for the many hours of service and contributions Clint made to the life of Cornerstone. Though sad to see the Branches go, we’re glad to send them to a faithful church in their community where they can actively serve the Lord.

Before I go, I should note on the positive side that we have four officer candidates in training right now for leadership at Cornerstone. They are just about to enter their third and final phase of training in a couple of weeks. Please pray that the Lord’s good and perfect will regarding the potential of these men to serve as officers at Cornerstone would be made plain to both them and the elders, as we trust the Good Shepherd to provide for us the under shepherds we need.

Your Servant,

Pastor Nate