18 years ago, my wife Terri, 3-month-old son Caleb, and I drove into Howard County, Maryland, to start a church. It was an “against all odds” story on many levels, but by the grace of God a church was born.
Over the next several years a lot happened in the life of Cornerstone: over 150 people were baptized, and many people were discipled and sent out all over the world. Relational evangelism took place, several church plants were birthed and supported, worship was authentic and engaging, children and youth were discipled, leadership structures were set up and engaged to do the mission of God, justice and compassion ministries were not only born but done on a healthy kingdom level such as the CWS, Paul’s Place, Samaritan Women, and the D.R. ministries. In short, “ community” happened.
Some time ago, Terri and I began a process of evaluating God’s call in our lives. We have always wanted to only be where God called us to be. For the first time in the entire history of this church, I created a resumé to test the waters so to speak. Open to staying at Cornerstone, the call of God became clear, it was time to make a move.
In truth, it is the new definition of insanity, to pursue this opportunity. The pay cut will be huge and the risk will be high. It is an opportunity to be missionaries, for the second time, here in the United States.
The President of Bluefield College, along with The Ecclesia Network that Cornerstone is a part of, and the Baptist General Association of Virginia, approached Terri and I to come to Bluefield, Virginia to plant a church with the eventual hope to also launch a church planting training center there. This will be a bi-vocational opportunity as I will also be an adjunct professor, part time campus spiritual formation director, and possible consultant to new church starts as well as established churches.
Even though the opportunity focuses on many of my “sweet spots,” Terri and I never thought we would go back into the world of being missionaries/ church planters. Yet the call was clear, to head to this college town to begin a new work.
On paper it does not make sense as here we are in our mid 40s, taking such risks and to go back into fund raising to make this work. Yet it is where we are called.
As one pastor buddy put it, “Spending the second half of your life pouring into the next generation is not a bad way to invest yourself.”
Please pray for Terri and I as we plant a church, for the second time, in Bluefield VA. It will be a bit of culture shock, as all we have ever known is urban/ suburban life, yet we are so excited.
Please also pray for Cornerstone Community Church of Columbia Maryalnd, as they seach for a new pastor. If you know someone that is interested, either contact Chris Backert or myself
Warmly in Christ,
Bruce and Terri Hopler