Cornerstone Church Profile

Cornerstone, an Evangelical Free Church

Cornerstone was founded in 1960 in Annandale, Virginia, a suburb located about 15 miles outside Washington, D.C.  The population around the church is well educated and quite diverse due largely to significant immigration to the area from Asia, Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East.  Cornerstone itself is a generally well-educated and diverse church family of about 250. Our  mission statement is “Building a Community of Grace and Truth for Ministry and Mission to the Glory of God.”

For the past 35 years, we have been blessed tremendously by Senior Pastor Bill Kynes, who recently announced his plan to retire in May 2022.  Our Associate Pastor Tim Cho serves in multiple roles including as a Youth Pastor and Chaplain for the Washington Nationals.  Part-time compensated staff includes a Director of Music, Director of Children’s Ministries, African Evangelist, and Co-Directors of our international student ministry known as International Friends.  We have five Elders and seven Deacons elected by the church membership, as well as several ministry leaders appointed by the Elders and affirmed by the church membership.

Who We Are

  • We have many mature believers who have been following the Lord and studying the Bible for many years.  While we are a mature body, our church family also includes believers at every stage of Christian walk.
  • We come from many different Christian denominations and backgrounds who sometimes have differing positions and perspectives on what we view as secondary theological issues.
  • We have a blend of long-term continuity and regular turnover in our congregation.  As a church in the national capital region, we have a substantial number of families in military or government service, who move in and out, and sometimes return.
  • We are known to engage and embrace new members, and members quickly get involved in the life and service of the church.
  • We are an ethnically diverse church.  This is due in part to our African brothers and sisters who have immigrated to the area over the past couple decades, and to our large international student ministry
  • We have members of all ages and from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.  Our fastest-growing demographic is families with young children.  We also have many active members who are retired and some in their 90s.
  • We are financially stable and our congregation is generous in its giving to Cornerstone and the Lord’s work.  Our current year general budget is slightly more than $900,000 with a current budget surplus of over $80,000.  While our solid financial condition reflects in part the relatively high-income levels in our area, we also believe that it reflects generosity and right priorities.
  • We have an outsized impact in our denomination.  Originally a church plant out of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) headquarters, we have consistently played a large role in our national denomination.  Pastor Kynes has served in multiple senior EFCA leadership positions.  Members of church family also have served in national and district positions including as EFCA Moderator and Board Members.
  • We are predominantly professionals with a significant number of people with advanced degrees in law, economics, mathematics, and the sciences.  Many of our members work in the engineering and computer fields.
  • While our church family has a wide range of different personalities, some have observed that we tend to be somewhat intellectual and perhaps a little introverted.

How We Share Our Lives

  • We encourage active participation in every area of our church life as well as our individual Christian walks.
  • We expect our members to faithfully attend public worship on Sunday morning, and we encourage attendance at our regular congregational business meetings.
  • We offer small groups for participation in Christian education and fellowship.  Our adult participation in Sunday School and Community Groups is over 80%.
  • We provide engaging and challenging Sunday School opportunities for children through adults.
  • Our members host about ten Community Groups that offer fellowship and outreach throughout the week.
  • We also have numerous Bible study, fellowship, prayer and accountability groups.
  • We encourage personal devotional time in prayer and Bible reading as well as one-on-one and family-on-family relationships.
  • We have active children’s ministries.  We are blessed with talented and called leadership in these ministries.  Over 75 adults currently serve in some capacity in our children’s ministries.
  • Our Youth ministry (grades 7-12) is small (20-25 students) but has increased in numbers over the past several years. It reaches students at several different area middle and high schools.
  • We also have active women’s ministries, as reflected in Bible studies, prayer, and fellowship groups for women.  Though complementarian in our approach to male and female roles, women are active in leadership (elected and appointed), worship, and ministry.  Working closely with our Pastors and Elders, a team of five respected women leaders provide support and encouragement to the women in our church family.
  • We enjoy a broad trust in our church leaders.  Our Pastors and Elders exhibit openness and accessibility toward the congregation.
  • We follow a congregational form of governance and, in practice, tend to be more “bottom up” than “top down.” 
  • This is apparent in our two most successful areas of local outreach.  Our African Fellowship (including a relief ministry called Fulaa Lifeline International) and our International Friends student ministry reach hundreds of people in our community each year.
  • These two ministries began at the initiative of individual church members whom our leadership came along side to support.
  • Our business meetings are remarkably harmonious.
  • When differing views are expressed, it is generally done in a respectful and constructive manner. 
  • This unity has been tested over the last couple years with the political, racial, and COVID-related divisions in our nation.  But with few exceptions, we have remained unified and free from rancor.
  • We are a singing church—music is an important part of our worship and service.
  • Our worship style  blends traditional hymns and contemporary music that is accompanied by piano, guitar, and percussion.  Our music ministry also includes a praise team, an adult choir, and a hand bell choir.
  • We spend considerable time in planning worship to ensure that it is balanced and firmly rooted in Biblical truths.  While our worship is not “formal,” it is intentional. 
  • We seek to engage the congregation in worship, rather than focusing on entertainment or performance.

What We Value

  • The Bible is central to our lives individually and collectively.
  • We are equipped by the preaching and teaching of God’s word.  Thus, in all of our activities, we give highest priority to the faithful and thoughtful study of the Bible.
  • We prioritize the expository preaching and teaching that seeks to lay aside preconceived personal perspectives and priorities.  While we recognize a place for topical messages addressing social topics (for example, we have had sermons on race relations and gender in the past year), our focus is on God’s declared truth in His word.
  • We are committed to proclaiming the Gospel declared in Scripture.
  • Missions is a very high priority in our church.
  • We have an established and deliberate Missions Policy, and we commit roughly one-third of our budget to outreach.
  • Each Sunday, we set aside time in our Worship Service to pray for individual missionaries.
  • We maintain strong relationships with our missionaries through a variety of means, including through our Community Groups and Sunday School classes.
  • We are a friendly and welcoming church.
  • Visitors often comment on how they are enthusiastically greeted and invited into the life of our church.
  • While welcoming visitors with love and acceptance, we do not emphasize “seeker friendly” practices.  We trust that God’s love and word will draw people to Christ from wherever they are at in their lives.
  • We seek to be a true church family, engaging in meaningful relationships, and loving and serving each other.  As a congregation with many “transplants” from other parts of the country and world, members of our church family often serve as surrogate parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
  • We support ministries outside of our church and actively seek to ally with other ministries in God’s Kingdom.
  • Members of our church family are actively involved, individually and collectively, with parachurch ministries like Bible Study Fellowship, Good News Clubs, and the C.S. Lewis Institute.
  • We support seminaries like Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
  • We seek to form bonds with other like-minded churches in the area from different denominations as well as different racial, cultural and other diverse backgrounds.
  • We are unified in the Gospel.  We avoid divisions on secondary issues.  We “major on the majors and minor on the minors.”
  • We emphasize membership and take care to ensure our prospective members are aware of and agree to our Statement of Faith, our Constitution, and our Bylaws and that they are committed to the unity of the church, service within the church, and the following the leadership of the church.
  • While we are located near our nation’s capital, we avoid partisan political debate. We do not allow the use of church facilities for political activities.
  • We seek to be faithful to teaching and living out Biblical truths in the face of what we view as the many destructive trends in our culture.
  • Though we value evangelism, church growth in itself is not our highest priority.
  • While we are open to growth, and have planted churches in the past, we don’t follow the latest church growth trends. We prioritize spiritual growth individually and collectively rather than numeric growth.
  • We have historically preferred to plant churches rather than expand our own local congregation. 
  • Within our congregation, views range from those who are comfortable with our current size to those that would desire to thoughtfully explore expansion.