Pastor Steve Taitt, founder of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Middletown, New York, began the church as a Bible study back in the fall of 1988.
The Bible study grew into regular services in the pastor’s home before it moved to a motel conference room.
On June 10, 1990, Cornerstone Baptist Church was officially organized as a church.
Below is Truitt’s firsthand account of how he considered God’s questions to him before planting this church. The excerpt appears exclusively from the new book, “When God Happens: True Stories of Modern Day Miracles.”
We’ve all had that experience. Sometimes we are searching and are still surprised when we find our answer. Other times we are on cruise control and caught completely off guard when God gets our attention.
One Sunday night in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, I sat in an agony of indecision.
That night was just like any other in our small Baptist church, and I was sitting on an oak pew halfway back and on the left. Beside me, a red carpet ran down the center aisle and ended at the platform where the empty choir loft rose behind the guest speaker. That preacher was preaching away from the passage where Abraham sent his servant out to seek a wife for Isaac.
A few years earlier, I sensed God was not opening an opportunity for me to be a youth pastor because He wanted me to be a church planter. I shared this with my wife who promptly replied, “When I married you, I agreed to be a youth pastor’s wife, not a pastor’s wife. That can’t be right.”
So I put the idea on the back burner until God could get us on the same page. We later traveled to Dallas, Texas, to consider an opportunity to be a youth pastor.
During that visit with some church people, God helped us to be in agreement, and we looked forward to starting a church. But where?
Related: ‘If God Didn’t Come Through for Me, I Would Have Given Up Preaching’
Through a complicated series of events, I traveled to Middletown, New York. When I first drove into Middletown, I got slammed with a feeling of home — odd since I had never been there before. Middletown was home to only 40,000 people, but I could see there was a strong need for an evangelical church. Maybe this was where the Lord wanted us to serve.
My mind drifted back to one of the meetings Dr. Jerry Falwell once had with Liberty University’s pastoral student — he called us “preacher boys.”
After graduating from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, Dr. Falwell planned to start a church in Atlanta, Georgia. One student asked what he thought might have happened if he had gone to Atlanta instead of remaining where he was.
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Dr. Falwell’s answer was simple and profound: “God would have built a Thomas Road Baptist Church ministry and Liberty Baptist College in Atlanta,” he said.
“This is God’s work, and He will build His church wherever we serve Him.”
Maybe the “where” didn’t matter so much. Maybe I still had to decide.
So, after weeks of praying and wavering back and forth, I was in church on that Sunday night and sensed God asking, “What about you? Can you trust Me?”
This excerpt is from “When God Happens: True Stories of Modern Day Miracles,” from Salem Books, available online and wherever books are sold.