Cornerstone Church started in 1994 out of a thriving college ministry at Iowa State University called The Salt Company. Under the leadership of Troy Nesbitt, Harold Nesbitt and Peter Matthews, God had grown the student ministry from a gathering of about 70 to the largest student organization at ISU with more than 500 students. While the group had been started as a ministry of Grand Avenue Baptist Church, a vision emerged to reach the next generation with the Gospel in a way that had yet to be embraced by a church in Ames.
Troy sought the blessing for this new church from his father, Tom, who was the lead pastor at Grand Avenue at the time. Pastor Tom was thrilled with the idea, and the staff and elders gave their blessing for the new church to launch. Cornerstone Church had its first service in August of 1994. The core membership at that time consisted of 24 community people with an additional 200 students who attended regularly.
The church started meeting on Sunday evenings at Grand Avenue, and eventually grew into increasingly larger rented spaces around Ames. In 1997, Cornerstone began its first campaign to raise funds for a facility. Gifted with land on the northeast corner of Interstate 35 and Highway 30, Cornerstone’s first permanent facility (now the South Auditorium) opened in the fall of 1999.
Since then, Cornerstone has continued to grow. Ministry to college students at Iowa State University through the Salt Company has remained at the forefront, and that ministry has now expanded to many universities across the Midwest. In partnership with the North American Mission Board, church-planting has become a major focus of the ministry of Cornerstone. The Salt Network was formalized in 2016 with the goal of planting a church and Salt Company at every major campus in the Midwest.
Today, Cornerstone Church is a multi-generational church with a passion to reach the next generation of college students with the Gospel. We are a church that loves Iowa State University and the community of Ames. We want to have great ambitions for Jesus, our great king, and build great relationships as we walk with Him together. God has written a great story at Cornerstone Church, and we know that the best is yet to come.