Beliefs

Introduction

Restoration Cornerstone Church (RCC) is a part of a cell-church network by the name of Restoration Network International based in Sarasota, Florida.  The network actually began thirty years ago in Harrisonburg, VA at Cornerstone Church of Broadway with Pastor Gerald Martin.  As other Cornerstone churches were planted in various area, the network began to grow.  After 25 years as being the Apostolic leader of the Cornerstone Church Network International, Pastor Gerald sensed from the Lord that it was time to retire and multiply the network into two networks: Heartlink and Restoration Network International (RNI).  RNI consists of five churches in the United States as well as various countries overseas.  Click this link for more information about the History of Restoration Cornerstone Church (RCC).

Restoration Cornerstone Church is a trans denominational church, meaning that we have chosen to operate above denominational lines that tend to separate rather than bring unity.  We believe in the gifts of the Spirit and that every person has a place in the body of Christ.  The primary role of the pastor is not to do all the ministry, but rather to train and equip the people to do the work of ministry according to Ephesians 4.  We believe that missions, both overseas and here in the United States, is the spiritual lifeline of the church.  If we have no outward focus, we become self centered and run the risk of self-destructing.

We don’t preach a legalistic, external kind of religion.  Our emphasis is not on being good Christians, but rather on entering into a personal relationship with Jesus.  We don’t have a list of rules and regulations that people have to measure up to in order to become members.  We don’t pressure people to conform to some external standard.  The Bible is our standard.

The Lordship of Jesus

As Lord, Jesus is at the heart of our church.  Our loyalty to Him comes before every other loyalty, whether it is to government, denomination, doctrine, opinions, or anything else.  As a church that tries to function above denominational barriers, our goal is to be dogmatic in matters of Scriptural dogma, to extend grace in matters of doctrinal differences, and to give freedom in areas of personal opinion or preferences.  We have adopted this as our philosophy of ministry that can be summarized in three words: love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness

True love is described in 1 Corinthians 13 as patient, kind, not jealous, doesn’t brag, get provoked, become arrogant, doesn’t seek it’s own way or take into account a wrong suffered rejoices with the truth, bears, hopes and endures all things and never fails.  The only way we can demonstrate this kind of love is to truly make Jesus Lord in our lives.  Then and only then can we see and relate to people as He did.

Acceptance is love in action toward sinners.  Jesus provides the greatest example for us.  Of all the people He related to, sinners seemed most comfortable in His presence.  He accepted them where they were and ministered to their need.  Jesus looks at them as sheep without a shepherd in need of a Savior.  If Jesus is truly Lord, we can do no less.

Forgiveness is simply releasing another from our own personal judgment.  Jesus did not have a condescending attitude toward sinners.  He loved them and was able to see beyond their sin…as should we.

The Authority of Scripture

To declare that Jesus is Lord and not maintain a high view of Scripture is highly contradictory.  Living under the Lordship of Jesus requires us to submit to the authority of His Word.  Otherwise there is no standard by which we can measure our lives and examine our beliefs.  And if there is no standard, everyone is left to do what is right in his own eyes.  We believe and teach that God has given us absolute moral standards for guiding our lives.  He doesn’t leave us to figure it out for ourselves.  While we have the freedom to reject and rebel against the standards He has set, we cannot escape the consequences.

The Bible is to us what a framing square, level and measuring tape is to a carpenter.  Without these basic tools, a carpenter would have a difficult time building a house.  In the same way, it becomes quite obvious when  people try to build their lives apart from the standards outlined in God’s Word.

The authority of Scripture must always be kept in balance with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Much damage can be done where one is emphasized at the expense of the other.  The Scripture gives stability to the move of the Spirit and the Spirit gives life to the written words of Scripture.  A church that emphasizes only the Scripture tends to dry up.  A church that emphasizes only the Spirit tends to blow up.  What God wants is for His church to emphasize both the Scripture and the Spirit so it can grow up.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

A difference many Christians fail to recognize is the difference between the Holy Spirit in us and the Holy Spirit upon us.  The Holy Spirit “within” saves us.  The Holy Spirit “upon” empowers us.  That may seem like a small difference, but the implications are quite large.  God never intended for us to simply be saved, but to be witnesses.  But in order to be effective witnesses, we need the power of the Holy Spirit upon us.  Otherwise we are limited to our own natural abilities.

Ministry Organization

Our basic organization structure is what Bill Beckham refers to in his book, “The Second Reformation” as a two-winged church.  Just as a bird needs two wings in order to fly properly, the church needs two wings (small and large group settings) to function properly.  The small group wing provides the context for the church to experience community and the priesthood of all believers.  The large group wing provides the context for corporate worship celebration.  Both are essential for fruitfulness in making more (evangelism) and better (edification) disciples.  Therefore, we expect all of our people to be involved in both cell and celebration.

Leadership

The senior pastor/elder has the responsibility to oversee the governing of the local church. The senior pastor is a servant leader and serves the Body of Christ by humble leadership. Along with the leadership team he is responsible for direction, protection and correction in the local church. He is personally accountable to the RNI Apostolic Council that provides spiritual oversight. He is responsible to interpret the mission, vision, goals, and strategy of the church.

We see in the scripture that God appoints leadership.  These leaders are called by God to lead through servanthood. A husband is appointed by God to be the head of his household and along with his wife provide leadership for the family. He is called to lay down his life for his wife and children.

In the church, teams of leaders are called to pray and work together. As these teams walk together in unity and listen to the discernment that comes form God and from those whom they serve, clear direction should be discerned. The principle of headship functions within the team setting.

If the senior leader is appropriately attached to the leadership team through relationships built on trust, servanthood, prayer and proper communication and the leadership team properly supports and affirms the senior leader, the anointing of the Holy Spirit will run down from the head to the shoulders to the body. As these servant leaders dwell together in the unity of Christ, God will command a blessing as indicated in Psalm 133.

Accountability

We believe that it is important that everyone is under proper spiritual authority and that no one serves as his own authority.  Everyone is accountable to someone.  Cell members are accountable to their cell leader.  Cell leaders are accountable to the church cell group leader and pastor.  If there are other pastors in the church, they are accountable to the senior pastor.  The senior pastor is accountable to the senior apostolic leader.  The senior apostolic leader (head of the network) is accountable to a team of three people (spiritual advisors) from outside of our own network.

Worship

Worship is meant to bring us into the presence of God.  For us, corporate worship service is not something to endure, but rather to enjoy.  Restoration Cornerstone views our corporate worship service as a celebration.  In face, we use the word celebration rather than worship to describe our Sunday service.  There are four main sections to the service: celebration (welcome), adoration (worship), proclamation (word), and exultation (works).  This is the same format we seek to follow in our weekly cell group meetings.

Prayer

Prayer is not preparation for the work. It is the work of the Church. Private and corporate prayer is as essential to life in God as breathing. We have seasons of prayer at every meeting. Prayer vigils, half nights of prayer, prayer walks, prayer drives, concerts of prayer, all night prayer meetings, prayer breakfasts, noon prayer meetings, personal and corporate prayer, public and private prayer, prayer in the streets, prayer on the mountains, prayer in the Spirit and prayer with the understanding that all are part of the prayer culture that helps give shape to the prayer infrastructure of RCC.