These citations provide some external perspectives on Cornerstone Community's training and mission.
They are representative of endorsements received from trainees, graduates and both church and community leaders over the last 35 years.
Select a name to read their comments.
From past & present trainees ...
"We went out there to the Cornerstone community because we were challenged to 'seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness' ... it helped us to see that our faith was not just about propositions of truth, but the living reality of it every day ... 'Let your natural life be spiritual, and your spiritual life be natural' - I was really attracted to that; it was a life-wide vision of the Christian life, that there really isn’t anything that’s not ‘spiritual’; rather than the compartmentalised approach ..."
"The benefits still reverberate in our lives ... To be in Christ is a wonder above all. To learn to give all we are to Him who is our life, in service, devotion and humility - that's a life-long road. But I think we discovered that road in a special way the day we drove through the gates of Cornerstone Pera Bore."
"As I have moved on through university... and an ongoing ministry role, I still reflect, often, on something from the Cornerstone years, and thank God that I had this experience early enough in my life for it to flavour the rest of my journey. It still does."
"More than 15 years on, I continue to serve God in... an industry that is full of aggressive and tough business people... I thank God that He used my Cornerstone journey to set a great foundation that has withstood the numerous tests thrown at me so far."
"As a young man I felt a calling to draw others into the life of the Kingdom of God. Being part of a Cornerstone mission team has set me on a life-long path - developing the skills and passion to do this."
"Cornerstone provided a wonderful set of 'growing up' experiences. The course pushed me to grow up in my faith - and prepared me well to weigh up and challenge all the ideas I would face at university. Living in a diverse community really broadened my vew of the world and deeply enriched my understanding of what it means to live as God's people ...
My 'team year' was full of opportunities to get creative about connecting with people and representing Jesu to them meaningfully ... The blend of work, study, community and mission provides a wonderfully stimulating, stretching and realistic training experience, with a richness of life and truth that I have continuously tried to emulate in my lifestyle in the 6 years since I left Cornerstone."
"Cornerstone has been hard work, challenging, a growing time, and a time to learn patience and make friendships, but overall, the best thing I’ve ever done for my faith!"
"My life will never be the same again..."
"I grew like I’d never grown before."
"The most important thing about my time out at Cornerstone was my relationship with God ... Cornerstone is all about a relationship with Jesus and getting to know Him. I can honestly say that if it wasn't for my time at Cornerstone I have no idea where I'd be at with my walk with God ... I see Cornerstone as a major starting point in my walk with the Lord."
"Ten years down the track ... in our own walk with Jesus - everything - I would never have done it any differently ... The things we learnt out here [at Cornerstone], the things we were challenged by out here, that was what grounded us."
"I came from Norway as a 19 year old, not knowing much about the bible-school except that it was in Austraila, way out in the country and that it was hard work. That year in Canowindra and the following 6 months on a mission team in Young, are probably the months that have affected me most so far in my life. What I appreciate most, 10 years down the track, was that I had the privilege of taking a "sabbath-year" to really think through how I live my life as a christian. I found that the teaching there was very down to earth, and I still use what I learnt there in my everyday life.
I'm more mature and have more life-experience now, and would probably approach things differently if I were to do the training all over again. However, the teaching from Bible, the guidance of how to have a good relationship with the Lord, the knowledge and experience of life and relationships in a small community, application in the workplace ... these are all lessons that are still important in my life. Since leaving Cornerstone in '95, I have been back 3 times to visit my '2nd home' ... the people and the place have a very special place in my heart."
"Jim and I both feel very thankful to the Lord and to our teachers/mentors at Cornerstone. Aspects that are unique to Cornerstone, such as living in community, work and discipleship have given us a grounding and experience that God has been using in a Discipleship Training Centre in North Thailand. We were told culturally we will never be able to have one-on-one mentor meetings and be able to reach deep into the hearts of Asia's mountain tribal people, but this is exactly what God has been doing. "All of life discipleship" - is making a dramatic difference among these people. We are grateful for our experiences studying at Cornerstone and how God is using us now."
"The thing that Cornerstone does better than anyone else is community, and that's the 'place' where we learn the most about ourselves and our responses to God. That's the environment where iron sharpens iron and where you have a real chance to take those biblical principles from the 'to do list' and build them into real actions and then real habits everyday. Community is the place where you can 'sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny' ...
I can't say that in Cornerstone I had an amazing ministry and saw dozens of people come to Christ, but I can say that the calling that has been stirred within has given me such a thirst for the gospel, and to see it spread, that I can not consciously give up. My experience and training with Cornerstone will continue to show it's effects for decades to come and in so many ways that I would never have thought possible."
"The Cornerstone experience provides an approach to life that incorporates all facets of a healthy & wholesome lifestyle. The training challenges & stretches the muscle of the mind. The work shakes off apathy, complacency & self-interest paving the way for a work ethic of diligence & whole-heartedness. Community living naturally nurtures the growth of real relationships, maturity & inter-personal skills. The one-on-one mentoring helps cleanse all the skeletons from one’s closet & directs you towards a focused life of self-awareness, purpose & direction. The mission experiences open your eyes to the vast possibilities of serving your community & the wider world with your talents & abilities...
I found it to be an environment of radical self-discovery, rigorous inquiry & down-to-earth practical living that ultimately helps to build a foundational understanding of all of life from which to build something solid."
"My Cornerstone experience was instrumental in my early faith development. It challenged traditional ways of being a Christian while at the same time building a deep ongoing love for the life of the local church. Those foundations have been my greatest asset in serving as a Pastor in the Churches of Christ for the past ten years. I believe the investment made by Cornerstone in the lives of its students is repaid to local churches Australia wide many times over."
"I did the Cornerstone training in the mid 80's and then went on staff till 2001. I stayed with Cornerstone so long because I wanted to help other young Christians the way I had been helped. Personally it helped develop in me a passion for the Lord, discipleship and mission. As a staff member I was privileged to see God do miracles in people's lives year after year. The main strengths I bring into my current ministry are there largely due to my time in Cornerstone. I would enthusiasticly encourage people to go to Cornerstone."
"We were both born into Christian homes and came into a personal relationship with Jesus in our youth. We had been married for over 30 years and during that time had been involved in youth work with our local church. When we heard of Cornerstone and saw the changes that came about in the lives of many young people who had been there, we decided to find out what made the difference. In 1991 we applied and went to Cornerstone at Canowindra. In the time we spent there we found it took our view of God ‘out of a box’, and gave us a bigger view of a great God. We gained not only a biblical knowledge of God & His Kingdom, but also skills in discipleship that has equipped us not only in our daily lives but also in more useful church life. Age is no barrier to discipleship training in Cornerstone community; we recommend it to all."
"I've been given the tools to continue maturing into a whole person, as well as the the tools and growing desire to help aid others to wholeness ... I want to bring joy to people's lives, real joy that comes from a unity of life with God and an understanding of His purpose for us. I want to head into the field of welfare and counselling, as well as be part of a mission community."
"I went there because Cornerstone seemed to be a 'radical' Bible college, not just about academic achievement but dealing with other aspects of life as well. Over the last 3 years, it has not disappointed me! I've also found that my life can be a Gospel story. The more I learn to be like Jesus, the more his 'fragrance' will flow out from me. This makes Christianity a practical and attractive way of life."
"I value the variety of skills & backgrounds of people within the movement ... in a training session there may be a school dropout, a small business operator, a tradesman, uni students and doctors - all coming to be a part of mission and discipleship."
"Cornerstone helped me take a good look at all the ideas and assumptions I'd picked up along the way from church and culture and home, and helped me sort through what actually fits in with reality and what I could let go. It was a very freeing, adventurous process."
"I desired to know God in a deeper way and to make sense of life with Him at the centre. That is what drew me to Cornerstone, attracted by the genuine and everyday holiness that I saw there. I can only thank God for the ways in which He has fulfilled these desires in my 3 years at Cornerstone far beyond my expectations and imagination. I'm now heading for uni in a Cornerstone mission team, and am excited to continue the journey there!"
From community & church leaders ...
"Cornerstone offers the most carefully-constructed, Biblical and up-to-date training courses for the Lord’s disciples to be found anywhere in Australia. You will train on the job, with teams of like-minded and big-hearted students and lecturers. Cornerstone’s great range of training options arises from long experience and a deep commitment to quality and community relevance. You’ll not only love it; you’ll be transformed by it."
"There are several reasons why I was attracted to Cornerstone and delighted to have an involvement with it:
- it is anchored in rural Australia and an integral part of the life of several provincial centres ...
- it is committed to a holistic vision of Christian discipleship. This combines an emphasis upon serious learning, spiritual, communal living and work experience that is not always found in Christian organisations
- it is focused on young people looking for or who would benefit from further discipling before proceeding with their preparation for adult life and work.
I warmly commend the work of Cornerstone to church leaders, youth workers, parents, schools and to your people themselves."
"Cornerstone have been walking the Way of Jesus for years and as a result they have learned what it means to follow. Their discipleship experiences are standout. I recommend them to you."
"All around us is a culture which forms us with its stories, its values and its dreams. Therefore we need models of discipleship, of incarnational living, which enflesh the gospel, which tell of a different set of values, of a Kingdom dream and a redemptive Story.
The people of Cornerstone Community do not just talk of the need for such a discipling community but are actually living it."
"There are very few movements in this country which take the challenge to be authentic followers of Christ as seriously as the Cornerstone Community. This applies equally to everyone involved, from the most senior leadership to the most newly-arrived trainee.
Consequently the integrity of their mission teams members lives makes a big impact for Christ wherever they work, whether it be amongst civic leaders, the business community, local communities as a whole, young people - employed and unemployed, and students at tertiary, secondary and primary levels.
As well as all this they frequently bring encouragement, hope, new vision, and a new understanding of evangelism to the local churches who request their assistance."
"As a retired pastor who also had 13 years full-time ministry with Youth for Christ, one of the frustrations and heart-aches was to see our young people going out into our hostile world and floundering in their faith in Christ. Having had firsthand experience with the Cornerstone Community for some 10 years I can think of no better organisation to provide a foundation for a life style of mission firmly grounded in the Biblical basis for Christian discipleship."
"Cornerstone educates rather than indoctrinates, encourages rather than enforces and leads by example rather than from behind. I am encouraged by their concept of enabling student teams to positively affect the community in which they live. At this point of Australia's history it is refreshing to know of a group which harnesses and cares for the idealism of youth so that the individual, the community and our nation at large are better for it."
"I am very pleased to endorse the Cornerstone training programme being conducted in various Australian centres ... I would encourage any parent concerned for the overall development of their young people to have utter confidence in the training Cornerstone provides through their competent leaders and effective programme."
"I am most impressed with the results of this course ... Cornerstone is committed to developing people's character, knowledge and skills in Christian and secular work, and I have seen few colleges that do it as well as they do. The staff I have met are well-trained and very committed ... Cornerstone is an interdenominational Christian organisation in good standing with the churches it has association with."
"I would like you to know that I fully support your objectives and your operations. If there is anything that I can do to assist your operations at any time please do not hesitate to call me."
"I have witnessed the people involved in the Cornerstone organisation in my community over the years ... and have the greatest pleasure in attesting to the very fine character and nature of all the people who spent time here. From the time they arrived they set about becoming a part of the community and demonstrating that young people can be very Christian in their everyday lives ... Their wonderful personalities coupled with their Christian training and ways led to a huge respect and affection from the population as their conduct was so excellent.
People who had no religious background themselves were impressed that these young people were 'ordinary' and could do all of the things that others can whilst still exhibiting that Christian outlook ... I can honestly say that I have never met a group of more likeable people or people who have commanded such high esteem in a relatively short space of time. I would thoroughly recommend this organisation and its members to any community as they are a wonderful asset and will become valued community members."
"Members of Cornerstone Community have taken Scripture Seminars on several occasions. Their work with the students is thoroughly prepared and carefully resourced. Presentation is always interesting and well received by the students."
"Members of the Cornerstone Community provide weekly religious education instruction across both the Infants and Primary sites of Dubbo West Public School ... The contribution of Cornerstone representatives is greatly appreciated. The quality of presentation is excellent."
"I am delighted to be associated with Cornerstone and regard their leaders and people as among the finest examples of the Christian faith I know. I also like their philosophy of not just being a great Christian witness in the broader community, but also being part of that broader community in very practical terms. That is through their businesses, their personal associations and friendships, their church affiliations and general dealings, they touch many people in the community and to the community's benefit."
"I believe Cornerstone makes a valuable contribution to the community life in Dubbo generally and to our church. We particularly value input in the areas of teaching and discipleship along with good levels of fellowship."
"On behalf of the Uniting Church Cooma and also the community of Cooma I would like to convey our thanks for the excellent job being done by your team in Cooma. They have been excellent ambassadors for Christ and your Bible College in their behaviour and dedication to Christ's work ... In particular I mention the manner in which they joined all three of the main Churches and are willing to work within the framework of each Church. This proved to be very successful."
"The Young Clergy Fraternal has worked closely with a Cornerstone Team in our community ... The young people of the Cornerstone Team have been sensitive to denominational emphasis and have been taken into the hearts of many church members. Their work in the schools has been particularly valuable. I believe their ministry has had a significant impact on the wider community."