Who We Are
In 1990, three long-time friends got together to share about their church experiences and how God was impacting their lives. They had each gone to a traditional church but had experienced a different type of church and worship service in California where the pastor preached to their hearts and not just to their heads. As they began sharing with one another about the amazing experience, they began to wonder if there could be a church like that right here in Seattle.
That moment birthed a dream to reach Asian-Americans like themselves in a setting and atmosphere that would be more contemporary. They embarked on studying about Asian-American ministry and how their culture of being both Asian and American impacted their lives, the way they thought, and more importantly, how they responded to Christianity.
For the next few months, Joey Locke, Amy Chin and Diana Sum (now Diana Tam) studied, prayed, and dreamed. Then one day, they heard that Joe Yoshihara and Brandt Luke (who was in Seminary) were also thinking about planting an Asian-American church one day. To say the least, the three of them were so excited. They thought that maybe their dream could really come true!
After some time had passed, the five of them met and found out that their goals were one and the same. They decided to partner with one another and see where God would take them. Together they learned more about Asian-American ministries in the greater Seattle area. They decided that the most impactful place would be on the Eastside. Many Asian-Americans were moving to the Eastside, so they set their hopes to one day start their ministry there.
In 1993, Joe and Joey began to form their core team and ministry values. (Brandt Luke felt that God was leading him to stay in the Portland area, and Amy Chin would move to California just before the launch of the church). Joe's former church in Southern California, Cerritos Baptist Church, said they wanted to help through prayer and financial means, and they become our Mother Church!
In order to start a church, Joe and Joey knew highly-effective people were needed to help them lead it. Many people from around Seattle came onboard after hearing about this new church through word-of-mouth. In the end, there were 23 people whose hearts God had touched, calling them to what eventually became CORNERSTONE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP. This team of 23 people began meeting on Saturday mornings at the home of Joe and Rita Yoshihara. Together they prayed, shared their lives, were sharpened by God's Word and prayed some more! Starting a church was much like having a baby. They had Cerritos as their mother and God as their Father. Now they just had to go through the process of giving birth! A Baby Shower was even coordinated in February 1996, where family, friends and partners in Christ were invited so that the vision of Cornerstone could be shared, as well as to ask for prayer and financial support. The response was overwhelming! God worked in the hearts of those who came, and over $4,000 was raised to help start Cornerstone!
On March 23, 1996, Cornerstone launched its first service in the chapel of Eastside Christian School! Approximately 140 people came to the first service - a true testament that God always does immeasurably more than we can imagine! Cornerstone quickly outgrew the chapel and is currently meeting in the gymnasium of Lake Hills Elementary School in Bellevue, WA.
Today Cornerstone ministers to approximately 300 people every Sunday. Cornerstone planted its first church in June 2010, New Freedom Christian Community in Renton, WA, and also started an extension ministry in Japan, Cornerstone Tokyo, in August 2011. A lot has changed over the years, but what has stayed the same is our desire to extend God's Kingdom, to grow passionate followers of Christ, and to have a love that is contagious!