Where can you find great worship, great fellowship, and great BBQ — all in one place? Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX. I know what you’re thinking. Great worship and great fellowship should be a part of any church. Where does the great BBQ come in? Glad you asked. It all started seven years ago.
About every six months, my oldest son, Stephen, comes to Dallas for a check-up at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. When he was six (he’s 13 now), he was diagnosed with Legg-Perthes Disease. In adults, it would be like necrosis of the hip, the disease that ended the career of Bo Jackson. If you’ve never heard of it, you are not alone. Neither had my wife or I when we were told by the doctor that x-rays showed that the blood supply to Stephen’s right hip had stopped and the ball of his femur had disintegrated because of the lack of blood. That was the bad news. The good news was that, in the case of children, the blood flow would return and the ball would regrow, although not necessarily in a perfect shape or in a perfect alignment. According to his latest evaluation — which was very good — the doctor described Stephen’s femur head as “a square peg in a square hole.” It will be a continual process that Stephen will have to deal with the rest of his life, but at least no surgery for the forseeable future.
Which brings us full-circle to Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX. Since I began blogging in July 2010, I have had the wonderful opportunity to develop some great relationships with folks who I might have otherwise never met, but for blogging. Although I have never met in person most of those who I have become acquainted with online, I had the privilege of meeting several blogging friends at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans this past June.
My blogging friends are a diverse lot. That’s one of the benefits (IMO) of the SBC blogosphere. One such friend is Dwight McKissic, the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church. Although we do not agree on every issue, we find ourselves on the same side more often than not. And, even when we find ourselves with divergent opinions on a particular issue, we have never gotten crossways with each other. I wish I could say that about all my blogging friends 🙂
I briefly met Dwight at the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans this past June. The place was packed and we didn’t really have the chance to fellowship that night. However, we made up for lost time on Sunday when Stephen and I took Dwight up on his offer to worship with his congregation and to eat some good BBQ.
Since our road trips to Dallas began several years ago, I have been on a quest for good BBQ in the Dallas area. By good BBQ, I really mean pork-based BBQ. I know. It’s Texas and brisket is king in these parts. One can still hold out hope. On our last trip to Dallas in February, Dwight had read my post about BBQ and invited Stephen and I to join him at his church and for some BBQ. He specifically mentioned BBQ oxtails, which I had no idea what they were.
On Sunday, Stephen and I ventured to Cornerstone, about a 30 minute drive from our hotel in Dallas. Even though we lost an hour coming east, we gained an hour because of the time change. At least we stayed even. We got to the church quicker than I had thought we would, which gave us plenty of time to settle in.
From the moment that we walked in the door, we were greeted warmly and shown where to sit. We ended up on the front row, stage left. As we were waiting, several people came by and welcomed us. I think that I have the friendliest church in the world (most pastors would probably say the same thing), but the folks at Cornerstone were some of the nicest and friendliest folks who I have been with at any church that I have visited.
For those readers who may not be familiar with Cornerstone, it is a predominantly African-American Baptist church. Although I served as Associate Pastor of FBC Poinciana, an ethnically diverse congregation, this was Stephen’s first time (that he can remember) worshipping in an African-American church.
The atmosphere was much more expressive than in most Anglo Southern Baptist churches, but the energy and excitement was contagious, beginning with a baptism and including a powerful observance of the Lord’s Supper (that could be a post in itself). From the praise and worship to the fellowship time — with lots of handshakes and hugs — we felt right at home with the brothers and sisters at CBC. I was even asked to bring the Offertory prayer. Good thing I wore my suit and tie 🙂
Bro. Dwight’s message was from Matthew 13 on Jesus’ parable of the “Wheat and Tares.” It is a continuation of his series on “The Kingdom” and how Christians are to make kingdom living practical. Needless to say, the message was powerful and surely stepped on many toes, including my own. At about two hours and fifteen minutes (which was a bit long for them), the time seemed to fly by.
After the service ended, we were taken up to a dining area where we say down for a meal and fellowship with Dwight and his wife, Vera, and their daughter. What we had been searching for — good BBQ — was right in front of us. On the table were BBQ oxtails. I must confess that I have never eaten oxtails before nor have I ever been tempted to eat them. Stephen had never had them either, but I told him that he had to at least try them.
After digging in, all I could say was, “WOW!” The oxtails were delicious. As was the tortilla soup, and the pound cake for dessert. I didn’t need to eat that piece, but I wolfed it down! Who knew that good BBQ in Dallas was at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, compliments of Jerry, the BBQ man?
Well, if you know Dwight McKissic, then the answer to my last question should be obvious. With a church which offers great worship, great fellowship, and great preaching of the Word, why wouldn’t they also offer great BBQ to a couple of New Mexicans on a quest to find good BBQ in the Dallas area? After Sunday, I think I’ll stop searching, thanks to Dwight McKissic and the good folks at Cornerstone Baptist Church!