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Our Pastors

Pastors of Cornerstone Church

Brad Kalajainen

Brad Kalajainen

Lead Pastor

Brad Kalajainen is the founding and lead pastor of Cornerstone UMC in Grand Rapids, MI. Cornerstone began as a church plant in 1990. Cornerstone has experienced continual growth over 29 years, and is now a multisite church of three campuses in Caledonia, South Wyoming, and Heritage Hill in downtown Grand Rapids. Brad’s passion is helping people know Jesus and make Him known, and helping churches recover their vision and effectiveness.

Approximately 2,650 people worship on one of the Cornerstone campuses every week. Cornerstone is deeply involved in helping to break the cycle of poverty in the Grand Rapids area through several community partnerships. Cornerstone has also established a global outreach to northern Kenya and Guatemala through child sponsorships, clean water and evangelism efforts.

Brad coaches, consults in areas of new church planting and church revitalization, leadership, growth, and multisite ministry related topics. Brad has been married to Colleen for 39 years. They have two grown children, Kaylee and Ben, one son-in-law Mitch, and a granddaughter Avery Joy.

Campus Pastors

Alex Fernandez

Alex Fernandez

Heritage Hill Campus Pastor

Born of Cuban immigrants from the 1960’s, Alex grew up most of his life in West Michigan. He is a graduate of Central Michigan University in 1993 with Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Sociology. Alex met his wife Bethann at their first job out of college. Bethann is also employed by Cornerstone Church as Director of Kid’s Ministry.

Alex’s roles within ministry at Cornerstone have been many. He served as a lay leader for 7 years in Youth Ministry. He also led the development and implementation of Cornerstone’s Young Adult Ministry, The Haven, where he co-led for 6 years. Alex officially joined the Cornerstone staff as a Campus Pastor in 2012. His theological education has come through the United Methodist Local Pastor Licensing process.

Since 2000, Alex has been employed at Herman Miller, Inc. He has served as Plant Director for a manufacturing division for much of the last ten years, and now more recently he serves as a Senior Manager of Corporate Diversity and Inclusion, championing diversity and inclusion efforts within the company, community, and globally. He continues his employment with Herman Miller on a part-time basis.

Alex is fluent in Spanish. He and Bethann live in Caledonia and have two children, Grant and Maya.

Marcus Schmidt

Marcus Schmidt

South Wyoming Campus Pastor

Marcus was born in Southern California and moved to West Michigan for better weather. After growing up in Grand Rapids, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University to pursue a degree in Christian Ministry. He returned to West Michigan in 1995 and found many years of success as a restaurant operator.

Marcus met his wife at a 10 year High School class reunion and married in 2004. (I know, ask him about that story!) Marcus and Jody thank God everyday for energy and patience to raise three kids. Joselyn, Isaac and their foster son Fresenai.

Marcus has served as a Cornerstone lay leader in Youth Ministry and Worship Teams since 2004. After officially joining the Cornerstone staff in 2013, Marcus has continued his theological education through the local licensing process of the United Methodist Church.