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Cornerstone Word of Life Church
By: Jennifer Walker-Journey

In 1993, Pastor Mark Garver moved to Madison, Alabama, with $900 cash, two friends, and a car that barely ran. But more importantly, he came with a vision – to raise up generations from infants to adults to know God and to make him known.

It was a tall order, but momentum built over the years. Cornerstone Word of Life Church was founded and soon church leadership was ready to establish a brick-and-mortar home. Madison, located in Madison and Limestone counties in Alabama, is part of the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, and in 2010, it was the fastest-growing city in Alabama, according to the Madison Chamber of Commerce. The number of families moving into the city was growing exponentially, and Cornerstone wanted to provide a place or worship for families to walk in faith.

When the leadership was ready to build its church home, Pastor Garver knew where to turn. He contacted Charlie Daniels, a former classmate at RHEMA Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and owner/CEO of Churches by Daniels, a leading church construction company based in Oklahoma. Churches by Daniels helps with any phase of the design and construction process from new church buildings to renovations, remodeling and expansion projects.

Cornerstone was looking to build a church building from the ground up, and its biggest challenge was to meet the many needs of its members while staying on a tight budget.

Church leadership wanted the new facility to include a 500-seat sanctuary, spacious children’s area, large gathering spaces, expansive lobby, and a café/coffee shop. The plan was to meet the church’s varied needs under one roof, which meant the facility had to be versatile.

Thus, the lobby was designed in an open format to allow not only for pre- and post-worship gatherings, but also special events. This open layout was designed with tall windows to bring in an abundance of natural light to welcome members and visitors alike. A portico was included to allow covered entry through the front doors. The sanctuary was also designed to be multifunctional, with removable chairs to open the space for gatherings, receptions and community events.

The budget was maximized by value engineering the audio, visual and lighting system within the sanctuary. The AVL System provides a decorative acoustical wall and ceiling products for interior spaces that absorb, diffuse and/or reflect sound to provide improved hearing, space functionality and listening enjoyment. A huge three-paneled, 60-foot-by-12-foot screen inside the sanctuary was designed to provide breathtaking visuals.

The interior was designed in muted earth tones with carpeting in the sanctuary to absorb sound. The lobby and coffee shop was designed in a simplistic contemporary fashion. The modern structure and muted color palate was continued on the exterior of the building.

While the design allowed for much flexibility within the church, the cost was an issue. Despite being over budget, the church took a leap of faith and started the project in the fall of 2013.

“We were able to do this due to our relationship with the owner,” Daniels said. “There was no rush, allowing us time to make the right decisions and work things out.”

Patience paid off for the leadership of Cornerstone Church. By the time the building was completed in fall 2014, the project was right on budget. Since the Cornerstone opened the doors to its new church home, the response has been heartwarming.

“Cornerstone Word of Life Church is the best it has ever been,” Daniels said. “They continue to teach people to walk in faith and victory in every part of their life.”

Churches by Daniels has been building churches since 1980. Through the years, the company has served pastors and commercial developers from coast to coast with an unwavering focus on quality craftsmanship and commitment to its clients, www.churchesbydaniels.com.

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