Cornerstone Community Fellowship
Cornerstone Community Fellowship was birthed on June 4, 1994, in the garage of Jon and Joan Fricker. Steve Cox was officially called to be the pastor and came on staff the first Sunday in July. The garage was filled with praise and laughter, but quickly could not hold all the people who came to worship.
In September of 1994, the ministry moved to the LaVille Elementary. Every Sunday for one year, all the worship and childcare equipment was brought in at 9am and set up. Fellowship began at 9:30 with worship following at 10:00. When worship was finished all the equipment was then taken down, loaded up and taken off site and stored.
In the spring of 1995, the annual baptism service at Price Park was initiated. Since that time over 100 men, women and children have received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have been baptized in the lake at the park.
September of 1995 saw Cornerstone relocate to the LaPaz Lions Club. The facility needed some work but both organizations were willing to work together. Over several years major remodeling took place with classrooms being constructed, the kitchen remodeled, and new heating and cooling system installed. New chairs were purchased, and Cornerstone had a new home.
At the same time, the church leadership recognized that the Lions Club was only a temporary home. A search for either property or another building was put into place. There were many promising leads, but God had in mind a very special piece of land. In the spring of 2005, Cornerstone Community Fellowship paid $89,000 cash for twenty-nine acres on the east side of LaPaz. God had revealed the Promised Land!!!
Both Dick Beall, with Church Growth Services, and architect, Chet Gamble of CTG & Associates were retained. Several congregational meetings were held as these men guided the congregation towards the development of a master plan. Plans were completed and a three-year stewardship campaign was designed and implemented. February 15th, 2006, was the Celebration Sunday to begin the capital campaign.
Ground was broken in the spring of 2008 to begin the building project. Over the next several years, a combination of local contractors and volunteer congregational help, under the direction of the building superintendent, Larry Hough, began work on the new building. The elders had made a commitment to build the facility debt free, so construction only moved forward as money was available. The site was cleared and prepared for digging the basement and foundation. The members of the church worked side by side with Papczynski Construction Company. In the summer of 2009, local contractor, Craig Hawley was hired to oversee the framing of the church. Again, the members pitched in, and the new building began to take shape and was under roof by that fall.
Funds continued to come into the building account and in the summer of 2010 the members of CCF took on the task of siding the building themselves. Rick Cramer, a member at CCF and a brick mason, coordinated the effort to lay all the brick. By late fall of 2010, the building was completely sheltered from the elements. In keeping with the original commitment to build debt free, everything had been accomplished by paying cash only. A total of $400,000 had been raised and spent.
In 2011, the emphasis shifted to the inside of the new building, with work beginning on the electrical and plumbing systems. The church also learned that the current facility they are meeting in will be donated to them by the LaPaz Lions Club. They will have a downtown campus in LaPaz and a main campus on the east edge of LaPaz. A biblical counseling ministry had also been started and has slots open for appointments each Monday.
On June 1, 2014, the congregation celebrated their twenty-year anniversary with a special service at the new facility. One of the special speakers was Dick Beal, who works with Church Growth Services. He was instrumental in guiding the congregation through the initial start-up and their first finance campaign. The church’s architect, Chet Gamble, also spoke about how CCF had been a model to other churches he was working with on remaining debt free. Chet has been a wonderful friend to Cornerstone and assisted in many ways. The service was a wonderful time of testimony and worship, followed by a cookout.
God blessed the generous giving of the congregation, and the congregation celebrated its first service in the new facility on November 23, 2014! The current facility is the first phase of the construction project. A second phase will add additional classrooms and a church office.
In the summer of 2015, the LaPaz Lions Club sold the building the church had been meeting in for several years to the church for $1.00! The basement underwent cosmetic refurbishing, adding office space for Pastor Steve and counseling rooms. This new facility became the downtown campus and ministry center for the church. Cornerstone Biblical Counseling Center now has its headquarters in the basement. The upstairs has a coffee café, library and meeting room for the various classes taught during the year.
In the spring of 2017, a major initiative began to finish the kitchen. Cornerstone had applied to furnish space for the Real Services meal program but could not begin the program until the kitchen was brought into compliance with state codes. God provided all the cabinets, as well as flooring and countertops at a fraction of the cost it could have been. With the kitchen complete, the Real Services meal program was launched in January of 2018.
Another major renovation was the construction of a new stage. The old stage was a combination of 4×8 platform risers that were becoming unsafe to be on. In the summer of 2017, members of the congregation began building a new stage across the entire front of the Worship Center with a handicap accessible ramp. This included new carpet and installation of new sound boxes for the Worship team. This project was completed in February of 2018 and has already been a huge blessing with all the space it affords.
Covid. It changed the world on March 15, 2020. The church services were streamed on YouTube for ten weeks while everyone was in quarantine. After ten weeks it was decided as a church to meet in person but using extreme caution. This event paved the way for a major upgrade to the computer and video recording capabilities.
Due to increased growth, CCF purchased sixty new chairs for the sanctuary in the fall of 2022. The current seating capacity in the Worship Center is 260 persons. Cornerstone also sponsored a Fourth of July parade that same year with the town of LaPaz. A brief message and cookout followed. Renovation at the Ministry Center saw the addition of a recording studio. A podcast produced entitled “What the Bible Says” is recorded every Sunday after church. This was begun by a group of young men who were given the title of “Lugnuts.” BIC (Brothers in Christ) was launched to reach the Jr/Sr high young men.
CCF hired Nick Sherk as a summer intern in 2023. He is currently enrolled at Cedarville University and pursuing a Master of Divinity degree. It was a busy summer highlighted by a pancake/sausage breakfast provided free to the community in conjunction with LaPaz celebrating its 150th year in existence. The summer VBS program and annual church campout at Potato Creek continue to flourish.
Biblical counseling continues to be a vital tool to minister to hurting families at the church as well as in the community. Pastor Steve is developing more counseling staff to handle the increase in demand.
Cornerstone has always been a community church. The vision for the new facility is to be a tool to help reach LaPaz and the surrounding communities with the saving Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is evident that God’s hand of blessing has been on this ministry. May all who come behind us find us faithful!