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  • Baptist Beacon

1 Couple - 2 Campuses

by Dr. Tony L Lynn

DETROIT, MI – Names of dynamic-duos easily role-off the tongue when we speak about them. Batman and Robin. Captain Kirk and Spock. Chewie and Han Solo. Pastor Corn and Marisa!

For decades, Pastor Cornelius and Mrs. Marisa Roberson have possessed two identities. “Pastor Corn,” as he is affectionately called, has guided people through troubled times as a counselor in group and private sessions. Marisa has taken new employees with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan by the hand, guiding them to unlock all the services of an insurance agency to help people in times of crisis like we have all experienced. Pastor Corn and Marisa, by day, have assisted thousands throughout Michigan to escape troubled-times and discover renewed hope in their successful careers. Simultaneously while pursuing their careers, Pastor Corn and Marisa care for a family of scholars and athletes. Life gives the Robersons a lot and they give back more to others, wrapped-up in love.

Along with all that I already mentioned, Pastor Corn and Marisa established a well-known neighborhood church in the heartland of Detroit’s underserved sections. Our partnership with Pastor Corn and Marisa started more than five years ago as they became an assessed and endorsed church planting couple in Michigan. The church building of Heart and Soul Community Church Detroit has become known as the cornerstone of the ministry because hungry children are fed, a secure environment is protected, and the Good News of Jesus Christ is taught and lived out in action.

However, there is more to the ministry than the building, so don’t miss it. Frequently, the Robersons are seen walking the neighborhood’s one square mile of homes and families engaging people in conversations about faith, current events, sports, and the latest news on families.

Tony Lynn, the church planting leader with Send Network says, “Among the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, Pastor Corn and Marisa are identified as missionaries; and rightly so, because they will overcome barriers to share the Good News of Christ with everyone within their lives regardless of their age, their background, and their address. They are convinced that Jesus Christ changes everything in people’s lives.” Lynn having witnessed the church’s annual summer baptism celebrations at Kensington Metropark, Milford adds, “Pastor Corn and Maris’s affection for Christ overflows into their devoted relationships with neighbors. They speak about Christ with others as easily as they breath.”

Marisa. while beaming with pride over her husband’s spiritual influence with others reports, “In the neighborhood, Pastor Corn is referred to as “The Sheriff” because he is always watching out for everyone’s best interest.” Boys and girls intentionally ride bikes or walk to the church building where they know they will encounter Pastor Corn or Marisa. When they speak to one another, everyone knows one another by name. There is a sense of family within this one square mile of Detroit.

Pastor Corn, with a warm affection in his eyes and a smile on his face will tell you, “Marisa is my rib. I couldn’t do any of this without her.” The two are inseparable and committed to one another. It is hard to believe that a spiritual romance like theirs started at a Detroit Tiger’s baseball game, but it did. The Lord has taken their game into multiple innings and the city of Detroit is all the better because of Pastor Corn and Marisa.

Yet suddenly this past year, through some pivotal moments, the Roberson’s lives shifted unexpectedly and dramatically! Like the day Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider then became Spider-Man, a new story started to unfold for Pastor Corn and Marisa.

A friend of Pastor Corn was a longtime and loved pastor in West Bloomfield. Though the two men served miles away from one another, the two pastors made it a point to share life together and enjoy one another’s company. One day, Pastor Corn’s friend passed away leaving a widow and a congregation behind without a local shepherd.

Recognizing the bond between the two pastors, Pastor Corn was asked to perform the memorial ceremony for his dear friend and the congregation of the deceased became rapidly attached to Pastor Corn and Marisa.

Through a series of conversations, the members of the established church in West Bloomfield decided to merge their building, property, parsonage, and its leadership with Pastor Corn and Heart and Soul Community Church. The details are amazing. The new campus in West Bloomfield is across the street from the local high school which is a perfect combination for “Coach Corn!” That is right. He has another identity and superpower he is using for the Lord. A coach.

Many volunteers contributed money and muscle to prepare the new site as Heart and Soul Community Church West Bloomfield. Separated by fifteen miles distance from the original campus, the Robersons and volunteers from churches like Merriman Road Baptist Church, Garden City, descended on the new site during long evenings and busy weekends, to redirect previous flooding problems, perform demolition, then refit and rebuild the space for a fresh start. During these past chilly winter months, the church launched at the new site: one couple, two campuses, God’s strength.

Would you pray for the leadership and the members of the church as they find ways to minister in two locations fifteen miles apart? The leadership understands that in Detroit and West Bloomfield people need Jesus Christ because he changes everything. This one couple, Pastor Corn and Marisa, are focused on the two campuses with one eternal mission: to see every man, woman, and child offered an opportunity to know Jesus Christ.

Would you like to encourage Pastor Corn and Marisa? Occasionally, God does things that are not on the agenda or in the budget for a local church. If you would like to express your appreciation in a tangible way to Pastor Corn and Marisa Roberson you can do so by sending a card and writing a check to Heart and Soul Community Church, then mail it to:

Heart and Soul Community Church

Attention: Pastor Cornelius Roberson

18701 Grand River Avenue, Suite 257

Detroit, Michigan 48223

Your expression of love will be greatly appreciated.



Dr. Tony L. Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.



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