Blake Armstrong, the new pastor at Cornerstone Church, is used to trusting God when it comes to big decisions.
Earlier this year, Armstrong resigned from his job as pastor of Cozad’s Living Hope Assembly of God. He had not yet secured a new position, but he knew God was telling him to go east.
Trusting the Lord’s plan, Armstrong accepted the job at Cornerstone Church earlier this summer, and he and his wife, Susan, moved to Nebraska City in July.
Armstrong grew up in a Christian home and worked in radio broadcasting and retail management before being called to the ministry in January 2000. He pastored in Cozad for eight years while his wife taught at the local elementary school. The couple has four grown children and had planned to stay in Cozad permanently.
Despite the plan to stay in Cozad, Armstrong felt God calling him east in January of this year. At the time, he wasn’t sure whether that meant Japan, the East Coast or closer to family in Iowa and Missouri. He and his wife prayed for discernment, and Armstrong then began looking for jobs a few hundred miles east of Cozad.
His wife was also searching for teaching jobs, and in June it became clear Nebraska City was the right fit. Susan secured a position as a 5th grade teacher at Hayward Elementary, while Blake met with Cornerstone’s pastoral search committee. After preaching in June and a vote by church members, he accepted the job at Cornerstone.
“Cornerstone Church has a vision for reaching the area, which is a good fit for me,” states Armstrong. Located on Highway 2 a few miles west of Nebraska City, the church began the search for a new pastor after former pastor Rob Conner resigned earlier this year.
Long-time Cornerstone deacon and search committee member Mike Knapp relates, “Pastor Blake’s ideas for reaching out and getting involved in the community were impressive to me. Finding out that his wife had been offered a job in the local school system led me to believe that God was leading them here.”
Search committee member Cathy Meyer is equally as excited about Armstrong’s role as pastor, stating, “Pastor Blake has extensive experience growing church membership and developing leaders. I feel he has great wisdom when it comes to discipling people and reaching the lost in our community.”
Armstrong’s vision for Cornerstone Church is to create a worship experience where people feel excited about inviting friends to church. He plans to implement leadership training, discipleship training, life groups, and eventually, a recovery ministry. He is intent on utilizing the ministry gifts and leadership skills of those people already attending the church.
Even with plans for several new ministries, Armstrong believes it is crucial to realize a healthy church environment, rather than lots of programming, is what makes churches grow. He sees Cornerstone as a church packed with potential.
Armstrong’s greatest joy is seeing individual lives changed and then watching those people step into what God has called them to do. He looks forward to partnering with Cornerstone members to reach out to Nebraska City and the surrounding area.
Long-term plans for Cornerstone Church include building a solid foundation. “Leading a church is about following the Holy Spirit. It honors the Lord when we build structure,” states Armstrong.
He is excited and hopeful about the new vision and new direction for the church.
Armstrong invites everyone to worship at Cornerstone Church on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. He says, “A church alive is worth the drive.”