McIntyre reflects on 10 years of service

Published 12:29 am Friday, February 10, 2012

Bishop James McIntyre celebrates his 10th anniversary as pastor of Cornerstone Family Worship Center Church of God next weekend. (Contributed Photo/Lisa Reid)

A man can accomplish a lot in 10 years, and Bishop James McIntyre may be proof of that.

He has worked hard to foster growth in his church and its advancement in the community.

Next weekend, McIntyre, senior pastor at Cornerstone Family Worship Center Church of God, celebrates his 10th anniversary with the church.

Cornerstone will celebrate McIntyre’s pastoral anniversary with a banquet at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Yankee Hall Plantation (located at 3332 Yankee Hall Road, Pactolus). The cost is $25 a person for adults and $20 a person for children 17 and under.

Bishop Jerry Midgette and Higher Dimension Church of Faith and Deliverance will lead a 4 p.m. worship service Feb. 19.

McIntyre said his proudest accomplishment related to the church is its physical facilities. When he first came to Cornerstone in 2002, he had a vision for the church. He wanted to expand the church’s facilities during a five-year period.

He took this vision to the church council and got the green light for the project. The church bought land along U.S. Highway 264 (west of Washington’s core), building the new building three years ahead of schedule. The building houses church services, special events, educational programs, after-school tutoring, family programs and other church-related events.

McIntyre also is proud of Cornerstone’s school of ministry, where people develop the skills they need to become pastors. Through this, church members and others are able to answer their calls to ministry.

McIntyre includes a community focus among his accomplishments. He genuinely cares about improving not just the lives of his parishioners, but also the lives of those people outside of church.

“I don’t just pastor a church,” he said. “As pastors, we should pastor a community.”

Since McIntyre became the senior pastor, the church has been involved with programs, such as Families Understanding Nurturing, that are designed to help and heal members of the community. FUN is a partnership with the Beaufort County Community Collaborative (of which McIntyre has been a board member since 2006) that provides tools to strengthen families and mend broken homes. Cornerstone houses the program, and some of the church’s members are FUN volunteers. As a unit, the participating families complete classes that build their communication skills and encourage compromise and understanding between parents and children.

“I’m about helping people to be healed and whole. You’ll never be whole until you get healed,” McIntyre said.

Since 2006, the program has helped heal more than 100 struggling families or families wanting to better themselves, and it is a source of pride for him and the staff, McIntyre said.

McIntyre sits on an array of secular and religious boards, serving in various capacities. He has no political aspirations. He prefers to keep his focus on being a pastor rather than a politician.

“I said when I came here that God called me to be the pastor, and so my primary responsibility is to shepherd the flock at this church and to be a pastor in this community. So, I try to forge relationships from that standpoint because my mission is to advance God’s kingdom. If it’s done one soul at a time, so be it. If it’s done in terms of the masses, so be it, but that’s my mission,” he said.

McIntyre believes in setting an example for his parishioners and community.

“My wife and I, we model love. I model it from the pulpit to the door. When you model love, people learn to love. It makes a big difference in the lives of the people you come in contact with,” he said.

He is quick to give credit to his wife, Lisa, for her help in his accomplishments and her role in the church. They have been married 30 years.

“She’s not my right arm. She’s my whole right side,” he said.

She is the Women’s Discipleship president, she teaches Sunday school, assists people in the community and is “a great prayer warrior,” he said.

As for her cooking, which is served at some of the church’s events, it is reportedly so good that several church members claim it’s one of the reasons people keep coming back to the events.

He also credits his staff with helping him with all of the church’s projects and making things run smoothly.

“My staff, I would say, is second to none,” he said.

Each of McIntyre’s staff members is in a position that utilizes his or her special gifts and strengths so he or she can really shine. They operate like a well-oiled machine, he said. It’s not all business, however. Most of them do it because they enjoy it and care about the church and community, he said.

“I’ve got about 16 or 17 people on staff, and the majority of them are volunteers. So, they work in the ministry because they feel that is what God’s called them to do. I believe in a team,” he said.

Of his congregation over the past 10 years, McIntyre said, “I see a lot of growth spiritually. I see a lot of growth, in terms of mentality. They’ve done a lot in the last 10 years. Now, I remind you, they were pretty strong when I came.

…They’re good people, and all we did was just come and love them; that’s all. We’ve found out that you can do more with love than you can anything else.”

The past 10 years is by no means the end for McIntyre’s time with the church. He plans on continuing and expanding the church’s mission. Among his plans for the future is adding a life center to the new building. It would house a multi-purpose area used for educational space, movie nights and “a place where you can just have fun.