Chirstopher L. Simmons stated serving at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in the inner‐city community of South Dallas/Fair Park, Dallas, TX in May, 1988. He was called to serve as pastor in September, 1989. The church was located in an area that was a infamously called the “war zone” because of the gang activities, drive by shooting, drugs, prostitution, and other societal ills prevalent in inner‐cities across America. Although the church had in its DNA community outreach and ministry long before Chris became the pastor, it has been under his leadership that many of these ministries have been expanded and additional ones added in order to reach those in the community at an area of a “felt need” in order to share with them their “real need” – a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Some of the ministries of Cornerstone include: Prison Re‐Entry ministries for women and men, Champions of Hope Mentoring Program for children in a local elementary and middle school, homeless outreach that provides 6,000 meals a month, clean clothing, showers, and medical care to the indigent, private Christian School for youth in grades 10th – 12th in order that they might graduate with a high school diploma, transitional housing, free day camps for children during winter, spring, and summer breaks so that children will have a safe haven during these times when school is not in session. In addition, the church provide several special outreaches during the year that include Thanksgiving meals for about 2,500, Christmas Store that adopts about 1,500 kids from the community, Labor Day of Praise that brings about 2,200 community residents together for a day to celebrate faith, family, and community, to name of few.
Under Chris’ leadership, Cornerstone started the Cornerstone Community Development Corp., Inc. which has as its mission of bringing about community development and revitalization in one of the most blighted area on South Dallas/Fair Park. New homes are being built and residents are moving back into the neighborhood. Cornerstone has acquired a number of properties in the South Dallas community that we were once community nuisances and transitioned them into facilities that currently contribute to the growth and development. Among these are a former liquor store that is now the Cornerstone Kitchen, abandoned crack house that his now the Philemon House for the formerly incarcerated, a rundown apartment complex that is now the Cornerstone Care Center providing a number of outreach ministries in the community. In partnership with the City of Dallas, the development corporation has purchased a number of abandoned vacant so that new affordable homes can be built for the community.
Chris is married to Janie. They have three children and three grandchildren.