Our church began in the home of David and Roma Wharton on April 6, 1983. On this Wednesday evening, as Roma played piano and Roger Holmes played bass, Paul, the Whartons’ son, led a group of fifty-five people in worship and then in prayer. He became the first worship leader.
On Sunday, April 17, 104 people met at Ralph and Shirley Kidd’s home for church and dinner. During this meeting, the late Gene Jackson, then District Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, told the fledgling congregation of a hilltop tabernacle that he had purchased, and he offered them the use of this building for their services. That day, Sister Mattie King, Shirley Kidd’s mother, gave the first $100 towards a building fund so the church would one day have a building of its own. On the first Wednesday night in May, the congregation began meeting in the tabernacle on the hill, and the first
advisory council was voted into being—but the church had no name.
On Sunday, May 18, 1983, the new advisory council voted on a first, but short-lived, name: Cedar Hill Christian Fellowship. Within the hour, though, the name was changed to Cornerstone Church.
In May of 1983, Cornerstone made its first purchase, acquiring a church building and eight acres from the Church of God of Prophecy on Old Hickory Boulevard in Madison, Tennessee. On July 10, 312 people attended the first service in this newly acquired building. Cornerstone finally had a place to call “home.”
Though the Sunday school program officially began September 1983, it would be several months before the church got a pastor. In February 1984, Cornerstone’s first pastor, Paul Gilbreath, was elected, and 225 people attended his first Sunday. A year later, Cornerstone bought 13 more acres and the tabernacle, growing its total acreage to 20.9. Meanwhile, the church and all of its ministries also continued to grow.
On January 30, 1991, at the recommendation of Reverend Jackson and at the advisory council’s request, evangelist Maury Davis was invited to preach during the Wednesday night service. Four days later, on February 3, Pastor Davis gave his testimony. On this same day, the church voted and elected him as pastor.
In April 1991, just in time for Easter service, the church parking lot was paved. But in July, the church building was struck by lightning, and services were moved from the church building back to the hilltop tabernacle. The next six months were spent renovating the tabernacle, including the addition of carpet, the stage, bathrooms, nurseries, and a balcony. The average Sunday morning attendance in 1991 was 364.
As Cornerstone experienced amazing growth, an education building was constructed in 1993. In 1995, the gymnasium was completed, and in March 1997, services were moved to the gym. The refurbished tabernacle was no longer big enough for the congregation. This same year, Cornerstone was recognized as the seventh fastest-growing Assembly of God church in America.
In March 1998, in the midst of continued tremendous growth, Cornerstone expanded to three Sunday morning services. By the end of the year, the average Sunday morning attendance grew from 364 in 1991 to 1,400 people. By December of 2000, the new sanctuary was completed and the congregation was joyfully united again after years of meeting in the Family Life Center.
Where We Are Now
Today, Cornerstone Church is situated on 23 acres. Our current worship facility is approximately 90,000 square feet in size. The facility includes a 3,200 seat sanctuary, a 200-voice choir rehearsal suite, and 10,000 square feet of nursery space. We also have a 25,000 square foot Family Life Center that houses our children’s ministry; a 9,500 square foot youth building; and a 10,500 square foot Christian Education and office complex—a total multiplex of 135,000 square feet.
Cornerstone currently holds a 10AM service on Sunday and a Saturday service at 5PM. At present, we average over 3,600 during our weekend services.
In September of 2006, we completed a 30,000 square foot three-story building which houses a state-licensed Christian Preschool for infants and Pre-K children, open from 6:30AM – 6PM, five days a week. Also, in this building is a two-story indoor playground and two floors of adult education classrooms.
God is accomplishing great things through Cornerstone Church. But remember, the church is not a building. The church is you—it is all of us together. Beyond creating a place for His plans to be carried out, God is creating a people who will carry out His will. He is intimately interested in you and in your becoming the person He has destined you to be. Our prayer is that He will reveal to you the part you will play in this amazing victory! You can pray that prayer, too.
Through God we shall do valiantly. – Psalm 60:12