Hero Church: Cornerstone Bible Church, Long Island, NY

Mike Rubino

Lead Pastor, Cornerstone Bible Church

When Mike Rubino first sensed God’s call in 2012 to Cornerstone Bible Church, a non-denominational church on Long Island, he was confident he could lead the church out of its decline and ineffectiveness. The church had declined to 50 to 60 in attendance. It had no small groups, a declining budget, and an aging congregation. But Mike saw potential. The church has seven acres on Long Island, a huge block of land for the area. The facilities were in disrepair, but it had good infrastructure. Yes, Mike was confident he could lead the revitalization. And that was his first major mistake.

“I was self-dependent,” Mike told us. “I was too self-confident. I did not depend on God.” So, when the pastor ran into the buzzsaws of a controlling family, major disagreements, and a church that did not reflect the diversity of the community, he had to make major changes. And, he told us, the first change had to be him. “I was the major problem at the onset,” he told us. “I had to become prayerfully dependent on God if this revitalization would ever take place.”

Once Mike asked God to take over, the revitalization had already begun. Of course, the visible fruit of the revitalization would come later. Mike had to take a second job unloading trucks to pay the bills. He was exhausted. But he remained dependent on God. The church began loving and ministering to the community. Indeed, the members immersed themselves in the
community. Mike said, “The truths are the same whether the church is in Alabama, Tennessee, or on Long Island: Understand your community. Love your community. And be intentional
about reaching your community.

Today, Cornerstone Bible Church is a diverse congregation reflecting its community. Attendance has reached 250. Mike was able to give up his other job as the church’s resources grew. The church has begun to realize its dream of becoming a launching pad for other revitalization efforts. And it began when one man decided to stop depending upon himself and start depending on the One who is the true source of church revitalization.