Offering hope, Bro. Douglas Wright and Cornerstone Tabernacle of Holland, Michigan are dedicated to helping as many people as possible find their way to God, encouraging each and every person to not only find God but also to have their own personal relationship with Him.
Adhering to the philosophy that “this is anyone’s church,” Bro. Wright and the members of Cornerstone Tabernacle welcome everyone regardless of race, economic background or educational status. “We are all here by the grace of God,” said Bro. Wright. “Everyone we meet, or anyone that comes to Cornerstone Tabernacle, is treated with the same respect. We realize that the person we see initially is in the beginning stages of greatness, and what God needs from us is to love them right where they are until He is able to refine and mold them into a finished product.
“We strive to have exciting, Spirit-filled and Spirit-led services, with an emphasis on fulfilling the first commandment spoken in Mark 12:30, ‘And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength,’” Bro. Wright said. “We strive to have a well-rounded church with something for everyone: children, teens and adults.”
Growing up in Flint, Michigan, one of the most economically challenged areas in the United States, Bro. Wright knew it was easy to be consumed by the streets and what they seemed to offer. Losing many friends to violence and seeing many more locked away, he knew something would have to change or he would wind up as just another statistic. “In the end it was a huge factor in my conversion,” said Bro. Wright. “I knew that there had to be more to life than what was being offered by the world.”
He was invited to church initially by a co-worker, Michelle. The efforts of this young woman ultimately led to Bro. Wright being born again. “The person who witnessed to me, and was my initial contact to this great gospel, is now my wife,” said Bro. Wright. “Michelle and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage this year.”
The Wrights have two children who play an integral role in the life of the church. Their daughter, Alexis, is one of the youth leaders of Cornerstone Tabernacle and is in charge of multi-media as well as working in the administration department of the church. Their son, Douglas, is involved in the music department and is the church drummer as well.
After receiving the Holy Ghost in 1986, Bro. Wright began a journey that seemed to him too good to be true. Upon his conversion, he was privileged to work in many facets of the church under Pastor Robert E. Henson of South Flint Tabernacle. His duties included ushering, singing in the choir, working as the groundskeeper, helping with outreach, as well as working in Sunday school. Bro. Wright was happy to help fill any need his pastor had. Along this journey, he served as the assistant Sunday school superintendent, head greeter, youth pastor, and became a leader of outreach at the local prison.
“I owe my pastor so much for taking me and so many others under his wing,” Bro. Wright explains. “He challenged us, taught us and believed in us, whereas in many cases nobody else did. He literally poured hours upon hours into my life, guiding my journey through each and every step of ministry. To this day he is still the one constant in my life that I look to not only for support but accountability as well. In this age, you cannot put a value on a true man of God who imparts so much of himself into you, and will tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. Along with my pastor and first lady who helped my wife along this journey, I could not begin to put into words what my home church did for me. They were there and supported our efforts every step of the way, and I am indebted to them for life.”
Principles of Growth and Revival
Known for their friendliness, Cornerstone Tabernacle attracts many visitors simply by word of mouth. “Helping people understand that they can live an overcoming Christian life on a daily basis helps us to realize that in doing so we will not only affect ourselves but our families and communities in the process,” said Bro. Wright. “I believe the essential requirement for a growing church is that before you launch into outreach, you must spend quality time on ‘in reach.’ By this, I mean we must prepare the church body to receive what will come through the doors in revival, as well as focusing on their personal growth before trying to reach others. I think a revival pastor needs to place his emphasis on his core leaders, instilling a passion in them for the vision that he has for the church. In turn, they will graft his vision into their everyday walk with God, propelling it to others.”
As far as growth is concerned, Cornerstone Tabernacle has utilized a variety of methods and many have been truly successful such as picnics in the parking lot, friend day, baby dedications, dinners, turkey give-a-ways, etc. “As a church we must understand that the seeds we plant may take time to grow, but in God’s time it will come to pass,” Bro. Wright said.
Crediting any success to his Creator, Bro. Wright bases everything he does on one small principle: never forgetting where God has brought him from. “If not for the Lord, where would I be?” said Bro. Wright. “I am not any better than anyone else, but God still saw fit to save me. I can never repay Him, but with every waking moment, my goal is to try. I lead with this same philosophy.”
Bro. Wright said he spends 90 percent of Sundays preaching on hope. “I end every service with a high intensity altar call that focuses on those that are in need of something that they have not found before but are in desperate need of,” he explains. “On Wednesday nights, I focus on strengthening the infrastructure of the church or any other pressing needs. I also take time to do pastoral Bible studies at least four times per year, and oftentimes I teach a short series on a particular subject of interest.
“No matter how great a vision a man has, if the church does not buy into it, it will not work. I commend Cornerstone Tabernacle for buying in whole-heartedly to my vision as their pastor.”
Organization and Management
Bro. Wright believes that every group is a target group, and he has assembled a great ministerial team committed to reaching the lost. “We have department heads but in name only,” Bro. Wright explains. “Commitment begins and ends with the lost. We meet the needs of the individual now, and then we will sort out their particular grouping later.”
Cornerstone Tabernacle has many exciting ministries, including Sunday School, Youth Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Ladies Ministry, Outreach, Spanish Ministry, Charity, and Music Ministry.
“I believe that the success of a particular department is not in the mandatory meetings, but in the personal level of relationship that the pastor has with them other than just leadership,” said Bro. Wright. “Your relationship as a pastor with your leadership team must be about the lives of your leaders, not just their ministry. In fellowship with your leaders such as taking them out for coffee, going on a hospital visitation, or cleaning the church with them, you will help them to emulate your leadership qualities. You must keep a personal level of communication with your leaders other than just about church matters.”
He conducts department head meetings four times per year, and no less than three times per year he conducts special training for all of the department heads. “Each and every leader has a clear-cut job description, which begins and ends with my vision for the church,” explains Bro. Wright. “Before we launch any ministry, my wife and I will lead that ministry for the first year, setting an example. Once a leader is chosen for the department, we work closely with them and over time give them more and more liberty until their ministry takes root. At that point, we can step back and watch them lead from afar.
“In training our leadership, it’s a 50/50 division. I want them to understand and do their job to the best of their ability, and I want to be sure they are trained to do so. More so than the training, I teach them about the love of God for the lost and that the ministry they are undertaking is a privilege.”
Once new converts make the decision to live an overcoming life and have fulfilled the plan of salvation, Bro. Wright instantly involves them in some type of ministry, giving them accountability and making them feel like a vital part of the church. “They may start out with the task of washing the baptismal towels and gowns, taking attendance, folding bulletins, or even washing windows,” said Bro. Wright. “In time their ministry will develop and they will want to do more for God as well as form a relationship with the membership of the church.”
Cornerstone Tabernacle was founded approximately 10 years ago; there were two pastors prior to Bro. Wright’s installation in 2008. The building consists of a sanctuary that can hold about 550 people, a fellowship hall that can seat 175, along with seven offices, a library, a nursery, seven classrooms, a kitchenette, prayer room, baptismal room and a media room. There is also additional office space and classrooms that will eventually be used for after-school programs, along with a host of adult educational programs.
“We conducted our first service in Holland on May 4, 2008,” said Bro. Wright. “We had 22 in attendance and met in a 3,000 square foot building. In June of 2010, we purchased a 28,000 square foot building where we now conduct services. This facility is located on one of the main throughways of our city. We now average 275 to 300 people in service on Sundays, and this past Easter we had a record attendance of 428 in service.”
Vision for the Future
Bro. Wright and Cornerstone Tabernacle are excited about their future in Holland, MI. “Our vision is to continue spreading our works into different areas of the city, through future daughter works and various ministries,” said Bro. Wright. “We look forward to reaching into our city and offering people hope.”