Two years ago Cornerstone made a second move in our multi-site strategy, and we began gathering corporately at the Irish Bred Pub in Opelika. I remember the first time I walked up those stairs to the bar area and felt Jesus say, “This is right where I want you for this next season.” There’s just something different about making a space sacred for a gathering of the body of Christ that is normally used for anything but that purpose. In a way I believe it helps you remember that the life we live as Believers is not meant to be outside of this world but rather right at the heart of it where pain and brokenness exist. It also helps you remember that we are different. We have been set apart as the ones Jesus uses for the redemption of that pain and brokenness. And over the course of two years we have quite a few stories to share of redemption, reconciliation, beauty from ashes and the process of becoming a family.
With the news of our (the Johnson family) transition to Kansas City, Kansas, over the next few months, the leadership of Cornerstone began to pray about what was next for the Bred Pub site. Would it continue forward as it was? What leadership would be in place? Would something entirely new form? We were open to any possibility really, much like we were when we asked Jesus how he wanted to see Cornerstone expand before we ever launched our first multi-site. So we prayed, talked, and prayed some more. We had conversations with leadership at the Bred Pub and the group of people that make that gathering their home.
Through this process we discerned the Spirit leading us to see an ending of the corporate gathering that happens at the Bred Pub on Sundays. I phrase our understanding in this way because the truth is that relationships that have formed, ministries that have begun, and gatherings that take place outside of Sundays will not cease. The Church is far more than a one hour event one day a week. While that is an important part of the rhythm of any church, there is far more ministry that happens beyond that time and place. So on March 29th, we will gather at the Pub for the last time for corporate worship and study.
Two images from Scripture have come to mind as I’ve talked and listened to Jesus in these last days. The first is that of the changing of seasons from King Solomon in Ecclesiastes. The second is the potter from Jeremiah that we recently studied in the “Redeemed” message series.
We sit on the edge of winter coming to an end and the beginning of all the beauty that spring in the south can bring. Solomon tells us that there is a season and time for everything that happens on earth, and it is all under the control of our heavenly Father, the physical and the spiritual. Solomon says that God has made everything beautiful in its time. He is fully aware of all things. Solomon also says that we cannot fully understand all of the Father’s work. Rather than discouragement as some might read in this passage, I take great encouragement. I trust the Father. I trust that He is good. I believe that He has allowed a great season of ministry through our Sunday gatherings and has a great plan for a new season of ministry. The work is not over merely because the form changes, which brings me to imagery of the potter.
Jeremiah, as many other Biblical writers do, reminds us that the Father is shaping and forming us. He can and sometimes does choose to “rework us into another vessel as it seems good to the Potter to do.” While the people that have gathered at the Pub will soon be worshipping at Lee-Scott or Hamilton Road or some other place the Father leads them, many will still gather in their homes weekly, continue to love their neighbors and create places of belonging, and they’ll continue to demonstrate the gospel all with the desire to lead people to know and serve Jesus. We’re trusting the Father to shape all of these works for His own glory.
So we ask you to pray with us and for us as we see this season end, and we transition back to other sites and continue on the good works that have begun. I believe I can speak for all of us that have gathered at the Pub in saying we’re grateful to have been a part of these last two years, and we’re excited to see what happens next as Cornerstone continues to seek ways to bring the Kingdom to our community.
Site Pastor, Bred Pub Site