I learned almost everything I know about ministry during my time working at Cornerstone Church in Chandler, AZ.
I walked into my first church service there an unbeliever. I would end up working there for almost seven years. I was a hotel supervisor for a few years before that, but I had zero ministry experience before Cornerstone.
I ended up at Calvary because I spent the past few years developing some passions, convictions, and priorities that weren’t necessarily at the top of Cornerstone’s list. That’s not an insult in any way towards Cornerstone. I just felt myself moving in a direction that they weren’t planning on going. The bottom line is that my vision didn’t match up with the church’s vision. And that’s ok!
I always had a close relationship with Cornerstone’s senior pastor Linn Winters. He took me under his wing and supported me big-time. As I learned the ropes at Cornerstone he was really patient with me. For example, he would let me come into his office, shut the door, and say whatever I wanted. I could go in there and say ANYTHING that I wanted to say, and he would listen and respond. As years went by, I found myself in there a little more often (this wasn’t a regular thing, maybe a handful of times a year). We would usually leave those meetings seeing eye to eye, but sometimes we didn’t. But here’s what I loved about our relationship:
I could say anything I wanted to Linn in his office, but when I left that office I was on his team. He knew that no matter what we had just talked about, I would leave his office and support his vision. He knew he could trust me to lead my team in a way that honored him and the vision of the church. We were able to disagree very well.
One day we both knew that I couldn’t support the vision any more, so I had to go. He knew I couldn’t leave his office and lead my ministry in the same direction, so the right thing to do was part ways. That’s never easy, but I still appreciate the leadership principle I’m talking about so much. I learned it from him and the other pastors on the team.
I want to be someone who disagrees well. But more than that, I want to have an office like Linn’s.
(Calvary readers, I haven’t had any meetings with Dave, Michael, Eric or Josh… but I’m sure they would handle it the same way!)