Mission: Outpost


Outpost [noun]:
A small military camp that is an extension of the main base. Its purpose is to establish a strategic position in order to protect, secure and advance the greater overall mission of a sovereign body.

Our prayer and desire is to be an “outpost” for Christ’s Kingdom in Northwest Detroit. Pushing back darkness and advancing the mission of the Gospel. 

Outlining the Mission

Over the next 3 years our goal is to raise $375,000 to put towards new and augmented ministry efforts as well as purchasing a building to be a permanent home for our church in Northwest Detroit.

3 Main Objectives:
        1) Purchase a Permanent Meeting and Worship Space
        2) Expand Community Development Initiatives
        3) Hire a Director of Operations

Read more about Cornerstone Church - Detroit, our journey, and the goals of Mission: Outpost below.

Evident Calling

My wife, Elita, and I both began our journeys in Christ in the city of Detroit.

My early years reflected the all too common reality of countless people growing up in the Detroit. Raised by a hard working single mother, in America’s most violent and crime-riddled major city, I was constantly in trouble at school, and unfortunately started running the streets. In contrast, Elita was a “good girl” from a close-knit family. She made excellent grades and even attended a small Christian school in the city.

By God's Grace I came to know Christ at age 19. It was then that I felt the overwhelming compulsion of the Lord's Spirit calling me to plant and pastor a church in my neighborhood. Through many years of preparation, training and the assessment of many qualified men, this calling was confirmed.  

Two years later I met Elita and we were married two years after that. Service in Christ has defined our relationship from the beginning; serving our city by evangelizing, making disciples, serving in prison ministry, mentoring at-risk youth, and serving those in financial need since 2002. And, in 2016, planting Cornerstone. 

The Lord has blessed us with five amazing children: Elisabeth (16), Philip (14), Sarah (12), Tabitha (8), and Abigail (4).  

Evident Grace

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." ~ 1 Peter 4:10

Since launching publicly on October 16, 2016, the clear and evident grace of God on Cornerstone Church-Detroit has often been overwhelming. Time and time again, through providence and provision, The Lord has confirmed His presence with us.

By God’s grace it seems just as my wife and I were merely dreaming in our living room of one day planting a church, God swiftly transformed our hearts’ burden into a diverse, Christ centered, discipleship focused, church-planting family. One whose impact is rippling through our city and beyond!

In less than two and half years, we baptized nine Believers. We have welcomed over 35 adults into church membership at Cornerstone, and many have taken major steps in their faith journey.

With the aim of serving and discipling people of all ages and life stages, we have developed flourishing discipleship groups for men, women, pre-teens and teens; hosted and led by gracious church members. In 2020 we also kicked off a revamped children's ministry with the hiring of our new Children's Ministry Director, Kelsey Lambrecht.

We have planted deep roots in Northwest Detroit. Since our beginning, we have partnered with local schools, The City of Detroit, other churches and orchestrated many service projects and mission trips.

For example, in 2016, before our public launch, we commercially cleared, boarded up and secured 13 abandoned homes in our community with the assistance of several partnering churches through the Project Nehemiah initiative. In 2020, in partnership with one of our supporting churches, we hosted a mission trip where we served two local elementary schools and several other urban churches; clearing lots, painting classrooms and sharing the gospel.

We have organized and facilitated a number of community events through Acts29's Church in Hard Places initiative, focusing on a variety of topics from Urban Evangelism to Urban Apologetics.

Additionally in April 2020, while witnessing the ravaging impact COVID-19 was having on our city we set out to bless those who had been hit hardest. We began our Cornerstone Cares program, offering prayer, counseling and financial support to residents of Metro Detroit. As of February 2021 we've been able to raise close to $40K specifically for this effort, and support dozens of individuals and families struggling with employment, housing and homelessness, medical expenses, educational expenses and food insecurity, as a result of the pandemic.

Despite still being in our infancy as a church, we have already seen our vision to plant other churches come to fruition and we continue to be a hub for urban church planting through Church in Hard Places.

In 2018, our first Church Planting Resident, Drew Ansley, and his family were sent out to plant Refuge Church in Southwest Detroit.

In 2020, we formally began our Pastoral Pathway Residency, commissioning four men into a discipling relationship with our church with the aim of seeing them enter pastoral ministry. We've already had one resident, Joshua Manning, begin the process of planting Patmos Church, in Cleveland, OH.

In 2021 I was selected to lead Urban Strategy for all of Acts29, where I will continue my passion for identifying, evaluating, and coaching urban church planters. I have been blessed to regularly contribute articles on ministry and church planting to Acts29 as well as The Gospel Coalition.

Cornerstone Church - Detroit
Member Testimonies

"I love that Cornerstone has committed & already put in practice the service to our local community. The members here have welcomed me & are truly intentional with building relationships & sharing our lives. Genuine authentic friendships form & the Gospel is consistently preached & lived out by the leadership."

~ Shataura Clayborne

“We love Cornerstone Church - Detroit because we know that when we invite our neighbors to attend church they’ll not only hear The Gospel clearly and be challenged to consider accepting Christ, but they’ll see The Gospel lived out among the church body.”

~ The Bakers
(Jake, Katie, Claire, Lois, Joshua & Caleb)

“Cornerstone has become a really beautiful picture of what it looks like when the church strives to be more like Jesus. It's is a group of people who, on many standards, should not be okay being in a room together, much less worshipping together. But, this is a family who constantly strives to love each other and our community well, who shares the messiest parts of ourselves with each other and aims to point back to the Gospel every single time. Cornerstone has always had room for the things that I am passionate about, while constantly challenging me to grow in areas that I never would have explored otherwise.”

~ Angie Bolton

"I love attending Cornerstone Church because I feel loved and respected and the presence of the Holy Spirit. I have been blessed at my church because I found Jesus, got saved and now I'm living everyday to be the best Christian I can be. Cornerstone Church is incredibly fruitful. Being in a family that abounds in new believers is not only exciting, it's stimulating. Lastly, Cornerstone Church is diverse. The body of Christ in heaven is made up of every ethnic group. The church on earth ought to be like that too." 

~ Daniel Maniece

"We love Cornerstone Church because it feels like family. We cherish the openness of those who attend, with sharing their faith and struggles therein. It makes the community feel like God's. We love that the church leadership is committed to teaching The Gospel and discipling each of us, the commitment that the church has made to the neighborhood, and that there are donuts every Sunday!”

~ The Streeters
(Stephen & Tanisha)

Evident Need

After a season of much prayer, careful consideration, and seeking godly counsel from trusted ministry advisors, we firmly believe the Lord is leading us to pursue a permanent meeting place.

In December of 2019 the boiler in our rented space failed, forcing us suddenly into homelessness in the middle of winter. By God's Grace we were able to secure space with one of our partnering schools, Detroit Achievement Academy, leasing their gymnasium for Sundays.

Although our current space has served us sufficiently for a time and we have truly been blessed by our partners, the situation was always meant to be temporary. God continues to grow and mature our church. Our present worship situation cannot support the needs of our ministry or the sustained growth of our body. The primary challenges being:

1) Limited Building Access

Our lease limits us to the Gymnasium and two classrooms for Sundays only, no mid-week access. 

This leaves us without space for mid-week ministries (discipleship groups, prayer, etc.), office space, and with only limited storage space for just the Sunday morning essentials. 

The required set-up and teardown of the space places additional burden and strain on our worship and volunteer teams.  

2) Inadequate Children's Facilities 

We ultimately are able to use just one of our allotted classrooms on Sundays. Both classrooms have dedicated use during the week for students and in order for us to use them we must deconstruct and reconstruct them meticulously each Sunday so that they can return to their proper use on Monday. This offers us little to no flexibility to do sustained and meaningful children's ministry, and limits our ability to fully disciple our 50+ children. 

3) Miserable Acoustics

The gym we worship in is old and cavernous. The echo can render worship songs and sermons inaudible and at times unbearable. 

The situation is exacerbated by the addition of several loud industrial air purifiers that have been brought in to improve air quality as we deal with COVID-19 (more on this below). The additional noise pollution has had a deteriorating affect on fellowship. 

4) Poor Ventilation/Air Safety

The gym space is unventilated, which as we have learned, dramatically impacts the spread of the coronavirus indoors. We have tried to mitigate this to some degree by adding the air purifiers mentioned above, but these are still not fully adequate as they filter and recirculate, but do not ventilate with fresh/outside air. This issue has been a main factor in decisions to discontinue indoor services for extended periods of time throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

5) Displacement Due to  Renovation

In June of 2021 the school where we meet will begin a months long renovation on the building. During this time we will not be able to meet there. This makes our search for a permanent meeting space a matter of absolute urgency. 

Our Goal

Our goal is to be an Outpost for Christ’s Kingdom in Northwest Detroit; securing, protecting and advancing the Lord's mission.

Year 1


Year 2


Year 3


3 Main Objectives


1) Permanent Meeting and Worship Space

 Purchase a building to be a permanent meeting and worship space for Cornerstone Church - Detroit to gather and do the ministry of: 

Training and deploying disciples
Blessing and serving our community in tangible ways through new ministry initiatives
Seeking out and training church planters
Pushing back the dense darkness with the Light of the Gospel

2) Expanded Community Development Projects

Seeking the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of those living in Northwest Detroit through:

a Center for counseling services, Food pantry & Community Closet, Transitional housing, Low-cost office space for lease, Lawn care company, Urban farming initiatives, Low-income daycare & Montessori, After school programming, Programming for Adult financial planning and life skills development, Growing our Pastoral Pathway Residency.

3) Hire a Director of Operations

Hiring a Director of Operations to oversee Cornerstone Community Development and operational activities for Cornerstone Church - Detroit.


Make a contribution to Mission: Outpost

Give now to be a part of pushing back darkness and securing a foothold for the Kingdom in Northwest Detroit.

Mission: Outpost


PO Box 23812
Detroit , MI, 48223, US

© 2021 Cornerstone Church Detroit