Our Story

How it all started...

Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church of Owatonna held its first public service on June 18, 2000 but its history really begins in November, 1999 when three families started meeting as a “home-church” in the living room of Jerry & Joyce Esminger. The fellowship grew relationally, spiritually, and physically, and on January 2, 2000, began meeting at the Clinton Falls Township Hall.  This growing flock decided to seek a shepherd and called Stan Johnson to be their first pastor. Together they would spend much time in prayer as they developed the mission of the church and worked through other organizational issues.

The church continued to grow as God knit hearts together, and in a matter of a few months, this little building became too small as God brought more people to the fellowship. After much prayer and knocking on many doors, the Lord led the church to rent a larger facility which we have lovingly referred to as, "The Warehouse." It was there that the church with a vision to “Build a Family in Christ to Reach Families for Christ” took a major step forward and opened its doors to the public for the first time. The church was focused on reaching the unchurched in the community and being a very relational church. Ministry choices such as having a collection box instead of taking an offering and taking a fifteen minute fellowship break in the middle the service reflected that focus.
  God grew Cornerstone to over 200, and the family circle continued to expand.  This moved the church to begin to explore God's direction in constructing a new building.  Through much prayer and hard work, God led and provided the means to break ground on a new building in May of 2004. God provided not only the funds that were needed but the volunteers needed for electrical work, sheet-rocking, painting and cleaning. After a brief time of meeting at Wilson School the church moved into the new building in October 2005.
The church now had a new a home and was looking for a new pastor as Pastor Johnson had resigned in January. During that time God provided Pastor Carroll Erickson to serve as the interim pastor. The church was very thankful for his leadership during this important time in the life of Cornerstone. In February 2006, a pastor was called but due to personal issues his ministry at Cornerstone was very brief.  Faced with another pastoral transition God provided again. He brought Pastor Lynn Herman to be the interim pastor. His ministry during this time was greatly appreciated by the church.

In July 2008 Brian Wright became Cornerstone's third pastor. During this time the church has continued to grow and reach new families for Christ. That growth has made clear the need to expand the pastoral staff in order to continue to see the church’s mission fulfilled.
The short history of Cornerstone is filled with blessings from the God who promised to build His church. He has been faithful to that promise at Cornerstone. Over the years God’s provision has been seen time and time again. God has provided faithful students of the Word to preach and teach. God has also blessed many ministries like Vacation Bible School, harvest parties, the fall banquet and the chili supper. The church has rejoiced in seeing new believers baptized and in seeing some of its own go on to serve in ministry in other places. In looking back it is amazing to reflect on what God has done and to consider that He has more to come.  We at Cornerstone desire for all people to connect with Jesus, the author of life and the perfecter of our faith (Acts 3:15; Heb. 12:2). Whether your next step is attending a service or getting plugged into a small group, we are here to help!

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