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Longtime pastor, founder of Cornerstone stepping down

Pastor Brad Kalajainen will deliver his final sermon this weekend
Posted at 6:01 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 18:39:26-04

(WXMI)  — It’s the end of an era at Cornerstone Church in Grand Rapids. Longtime lead pastor and founder Brad Kalajainen is delivering his final sermon this weekend. It all started with a vision 30 years ago, and has now grown into a parish that includes their main campus and two satellite campuses.

“To be honest with you, I'm not sure how I feel. And I think that's going to take some months to unwind,” said Pastor Kalajainen. “It seemed like several months off at the time, and suddenly, this weekend is here.”

The announcement was made in January. It will culminate three decades of growth and ministry—the small congregation started recruiting in the '90s by making phone calls on landlines. They dialed 11,000 homes in ten days, getting an initial showing of about 250 people in the 800-seat auditorium of South Christian High School.

The congregation expanded over the years, outgrowing their original building and moving into a multimillion-dollar church they built at Kalamazoo and 84th in 2008. In 2013, Cornerstone opened their second location in Heritage Hill and in 2015, their third location in Wyoming.

“It's not about the numbers,” said Kalajainen. “It's always about reaching new people for the Lord and, I think, keep your motives right, and I think God blesses that.”

In retirement, Kalajainen plans to move to Wisconsin with his wife, Colleen, to be closer to family.

“I love this place,” he said. “I love Cornerstone; I just love being the pastor; I love being here. I love the people here.”

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