Police Car as Pulpit: Setbacks Follow Church’s Unique Start, Ministry Prevails

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Great Lakes

By Lendell Hood

The ministry of Chief Cornerstone Christian Center started in the back of my police car in Michigan City, Indiana. The police car was the pulpit, and the backseat was the altar. I met people at the worst time in their lives and saw the opportunity to minister to them about the grace of Jesus Christ. I ministered to people from all walks of life, various cultures, and different ethnicities about Jesus—and that their mistake was just that—a mistake. It was no surprise that God put them in the backseat of my police vehicle to hear about him.

The idea of Chief Cornerstone Christian Center emerged from one of my former students when I taught a criminal justice class at the local high school career center. In the classroom, I always found the opportunity to introduce Jesus during one of my lectures, and this former student suggested I start a youth ministry. That ministry started with a monthly Bible study in my classroom, where I invited my students to come and hear about Jesus Christ. If we could not meet in my classroom, we would meet at the police department’s community room.

The Lord called me and my family to launch Chief Cornerstone Christian Center in Michigan City, Indiana. When we started the Bible study, we noticed young adults of different ethnicities started attending. At God’s direction, we would be a church intentionally seeking to be multicultural, diverse, and judgement-free. With the help of a local pastor, we launched our first Sunday worship service on October 6, 2019, at St. John’s United Church of Christ. Chief Cornerstone Christian Center began slowly but started to show progress entering 2020 until COVID-19 hit our area and, in turn, shut the doors to St. John’s. The pastor informed me that services were temporarily halted until further notice.

COVID-19 was not going to shut us down. Due to the circumstances, we began meeting online via Zoom. We began researching how to stream our services on different social media platforms and what equipment we would need. We transformed our family room into a sanctuary, and conducted “Teaching Tuesdays,” an online Bible study for people looking for answers with no place to go. We experienced growth in attendance on Sundays and Tuesdays. We had faithful members who were there from the initial launch who continued to attend, but we also began to see new people showing up on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Eventually, when the positivity rate declined in our area and St. John’s resumed services, we returned to in-person services while, at the same time, did not neglect our online presence. Chief Cornerstone Christian Center had found new members in California, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. With us having in-person services, we had to research how to stream from our church location and purchased the necessary equipment to spread the gospel every Sunday.

As we approached 2021, God told us the time had come for Chief Cornerstone Christian Center to find its new home. After an extensive search, God pointed us to 2058 East US Highway 20 and, when we felt that the church could not afford the space, God pointed us in the direction of Genesis 15:6: “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” God said, “If you believe in me, I will make it happen.”

Although we had found our new home, the plumbing could not be completed due to supply chain issues, which pushed back our launched date. Then carpet and flooring orders were put on hold, which pushed back our launch date again. We learned that chairs would not be ready until spring of 2022, but there were people in the community who donated chairs, musical instruments, and other items we needed. Finally, the flooring and carpet were installed and on Sunday, January 23, 2022, and Chief Cornerstone Christian Center launched its first Sunday worship service. Despite the setbacks, it was worth the wait.

People often ask, why does Chief Cornerstone Christian Center affectionately call itself C4? The Lord said that this ministry will be an explosion to a community that lacks a church that is multicultural, diverse, and judgement-free. God directed us to be a church for the abandoned, the neglected, the outcast and the rejected in the LaPorte County area.

Article originally published by Indiana Ministries. Learn more about the Church of God in Indiana at www.indianaministries.org. Learn more about the Church of God in the United States and Canada at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

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