Our Story

1999 - 2004
The story of Cornerstone Church started in the late 90s. A group of people with a vision for a regional church began meeting in late 1998. However, it wasn’t until 1999 that Cornerstone Church was officially born - the first service was held on March 27, with a constituting service on November 7. In the earliest days, worship gatherings were held in a rented banquet space next door to Rural King. Volunteers often had to clean up empty beer bottles and sticky floors before weekend worship. In 2000, the church moved to an old drive-thru grocery store building (now home to NAPA Auto Parts).

Eddie Pullen became the church's first pastor in September of that same year (2000). Until that point, a group of faithful lay leaders had provided the congregation with teaching and direction.

In 2001, the church moved yet again to the former Samples Plumbing buildings on Old Bainbridge Trail - large pole barns with dirt and gravel floors. Church members pitched in to help make the building ready for ministry. Before paint and carpet went down, they covered the surfaces of the building with scripture and handwritten prayers.
• 2002 - Cornerstone held their first Trunk or Treat
• 2004 - Attendance milestone: 400

2005 - 2010
A flurry of key developments followed over the next several years. In 2005, the West Frankfort campus was launched under the leadership of Pastor Robbey Smith. It was the first time Cornerstone members were meeting in two different locations. Soon, the fledgling campus outgrew its storefront space in West Frankfort and relocated to a larger building to the south in Johnston City.

With 2007 came key leadership transition. Early that year, Pastor Eddie Pullen moved on, sensing a call to go plant churches. Mike Rose served as interim leader until August 1, when Michael Nave was officially voted in as the next lead pastor. In 2008, under Pastor Michael’s leadership, the church started offering two Sunday worship services in the building on Old Bainbridge Trail. There was a real sense of building momentum. 2009 was a year of highs and lows. In October 2009, Pastor Michael shared a grim announcement: he had been diagnosed with tongue cancer. Cornerstone celebrated its 10-year anniversary the following month, reaching a new attendance milestone of 1,000 people worshipping at the two locations. Thanks be to God, Michael beat the cancer diagnosis and continued leading the growing ministry of Cornerstone Church.

2011 - 2015
Bold moves and big changes characterized 2012. That year saw the first focused attempt at reaching the western portion of our region with a new campus at Carterville. Within one year, that campus was discontinued, but not without teaching some valuable lessons for future strategic planning. 2012 was also the year that the church made the long-deliberated decision to purchase the old Walmart building in Marion.

In 2014, the church could finally move into the sprawling former retail space. It took many long hours and lots of creativity to transform a discount superstore into a house of worship. Yet, the position of the new building at the crossroads of two major Southern Illinois roadways better served the mission to be a church for the entire region and began to bear fruit almost immediately.

2016 - 2019
2016 was a new beginning for the Johnston City campus (formerly West Frankfort campus). On January 1, they were sent out as an independent congregation and were officially constituted as Redemption Church. Pastor Robbey Smith continued at the helm as lead pastor. 2016 was also a year marked by a growing sense of responsibility and desire to be reaching out in Carbondale. That heart for Carbondale and its surrounding communities led to the launching of our Carbondale Campus on September 10, 2017. There were a lot of unknowns, but our small Carbondale launch team set out on mission with a sense of boldness and purpose.

Cornerstone Church was, once again, one church in two locations.

2020 - Now
As we look back on the last 20+ years, we reflect on an incredible journey filled with challenges and triumphs, failures and victories. One thing is clear: God has been so faithful to Cornerstone Church.

Be a part of our story...

Join us as we gather to worship together on Fridays at 6:15pm and Sundays at 9:15am and 11:00am.