• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
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    Administrative Assistant
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    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
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    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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Serve with The CornerStone Initiative

Last summer, I had the opportunity to serve as an ally for the CornerStone Initiative’s first Faith & Finances class. The Cornerstone Initiative is one of Southwood’s local ministry partners, and they are focused on breaking the cycle of poverty in Huntsville’s Westside neighborhood. Faith & Finances is a 12-week, Bible-based financial literacy curriculum for people with low or fixed income and is rooted in the principle that Jesus is reconciling all things to himself. It is published by the Chalmers Center, whose founder Brian Fikkert wrote the book When Helping Hurts and spoke at Southwood’s recent Express Grace Conference. Each participant in the class is paired with a volunteer called an ally. Allies encourage and support the participants throughout the class, learn alongside them, and help connect them to resources that are often lacking in low-income communities.

I was initially interested in volunteering because I had an interest in personal finance, I wanted to serve, and I believed in the mission of CornerStone. But I was surprised by how much I personally gained from the experience. I learned and grew a lot over the course of the class, and any specialized knowledge I had was far less valuable than simply showing up consistently, ready to love and be vulnerable. The class is designed for mutual sharing and learning so that it’s not just a transfer of knowledge or resources from the haves to the have-nots.

During the class, I was very encouraged in my own faith as I saw the tangible faith of brothers and sisters in Christ who have very limited financial resources. Many of them live in true daily dependence on God. One participant told a story of praying because his family had no food in the house and no money left, and while they were praying, there was a knock on the door. When they opened the door, they found a basket of food sitting there. It was a great blessing to build relationships with believers from societal backgrounds and Christian traditions very different from my own, but who very clearly believe in the same great Savior.

A new Faith & Finances class just started, and I am excited to be an ally again this year. There are still opportunities to serve by praying for the class and/or bringing a meal. There also will be opportunities for supporting students in the Jobs for Life class this fall, and CornerStone is very good about training volunteers and equipping them to walk with lowincome neighbors in healthy ways. If you would like to learn more about volunteering for Faith & Finances or Jobs for Life, please let me know.