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Nashville, Tennessee

November 28, 2017 | Charis Saenz


Galen DavisMusic is the very soul of Nashville, Tennessee. Home to musical landmarks such as The Grand Ole Opry House and the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Country Music Capital of the World has seen the rise of many renowned artists. Names like Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline recorded award-winning songs here, making music history. Nashville is the perfect hub for musicians and songwriters from all over the world to establish talented roots and share their stories. 

Many Nashville musicians have found a home at Cornerstone Church, where SAGU alumnus Galen Davis serves as the Associate Lead Pastor. 

“Nashville’s a big, small town,” he says. “I just love the city. I love that people are so talented and gifted, and that’s just normal here. Everyone can do anything. It’s all family.” 

As Davis ministers in Music City, he makes connections with a unique congregation; Many Cornerstone members are in the world of music production and songwriting, having written songs for renowned names such as Brad Paisley.  

In response to how he navigates relating to such a specific culture, Davis speaks of a “Nashville Code” that leaves the stigma of “musician” or “artist” at the door and instead, sees the individual. “Just treat them like regular people and you’ll go far,” he says. “You don’t have a celebrity mentality, you just treat them like family.” 

Davis’ approach to ministry is congruent with the creative and laid-back feel of his home city. He values being available for his congregation, not just as a pastor, but as a friend.

Since 2013, Davis has built a close relationship with Ben Isaac, a member of the gospel band, The Isaacs. Davis says that it didn’t take very much for the two of them to become fast friends. “I was just available,” Davis says. “I dropped in and cared for what he did.” Now, when Isaac records music, Davis often visits. 

This past year, The Isaacs recorded their album, Natures Symphony in 432, at Ricky Skaggs’ studio. During one of Davis’ visits, Isaac asked him  to contribute background vocals for a song entitled “This is the Year.” In April, Natures Symphony in 432 won Album of the Year at the 2017 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards, and the Isaacs presented Davis with his own copy of the award. Davis says their response upon giving him a copy was, “We knew you cherished it more than anyone.” 

The Isaacs are not the only musicians Davis supports among his congregation. He believes in real relationships within the church, even when the occupations of many church members put them in the Nashville spotlight. Davis recently visited Bluebird Cafe, where one of his congregants, who has written music for big, country names like Joe Nichols, sang an original song inspired by one of Cornerstone’s sermons. 

“We all know that it came straight from just being family,” says Davis. “They just want to come in, have a place, enjoy life, and be together in Biblical community.”

His simple philosophy of “love God and love people,” explains why ministry was such a natural choice for Davis, who watched his father pastor Cornerstone since 1991.“ I just loved people...” he says. “It’s my wiring.” 

A passion for authentic community allows Davis to connect with the individuals within his sphere of influence. He’s dealt with plenty of spheres of influence thus far, having transitioned into new roles at two different churches prior to his return to Cornerstone in 2014, when he found himself in a world full of artists and songwriters once again.  “I just loved people enough that I was at the right place at the right time,” he says. Davis will soon transition into the role of Lead Pastor at Cornerstone Church. 

The initial call to ministry brought Davis to SAGU, where he studied Pastoral Ministries and interned at Calvary Church in Irving. A musician himself, Davis also participated in chapel worship. 

As he’s navigated new roles and environments, Davis says that SAGU provided leaders who helped form his Biblical foundation. He describes President Bridges as “a solid leader,” and remembers professors like Dr. Jeff Magruder, who was “challenging and uplifting” as well as Dr. Bruce Rosdahl, whose intellect Davis admires. “The Bible education was great,” he says. 

During times of transition, Davis encourages all students to stay present and live with honor. For those interested in ministry, he advises, “Love people. Have a grace for people, whether it’s church people or people that are lost. They're all broken and need a Savior.” Davis also encourages students outside of the ministry world to embrace the kingdoms they will lead in. “Go be impactful in your business. Go be impactful in your community.”

To learn more about Cornerstone Church, click here


Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu

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