Podcast Episode 016, 40 min
Pastoral Longevity and Ministry Partnership with Gary Garcia (Ep 16)
Karl Vaters and Gary Garcia have a unique relationship. They’ve worked together at the same church for 29 years. For the first 25 years Karl was Gary’s lead pastor. For the last 4 years Gary has been Karl’s lead pastor. Yes, at the same church.

I think that in the eighties, especially in the early nineties, there was a lot of churches trying to figure out what they were doing, because you have all these televangelists, you know, doing all these crazy things during that season. And you have these churches that are just trying to figure out who they are.

And I would say it's taken Cornerstone a long time, but it really wasn't until, you know, you came in and really helped figure out who we are and what we are in this community. And define who we are and not get caught up in what everybody else is and what everyone else is doing, but really becoming our own thing.

KV: Yeah. Yeah. And I think not the, but one of, I think the significant turning point moments for your ministry, my ministry, and for the ministry of the church was our lunch. When I came to try out for the job and they told me, "So there's this kid, Gary, and he kind of stepped in backwards into the youth department. And we know you as a, as a pastor, you get to pick your own staff. We honor that, but he's ours. Can you at least give them a shot?" And my first response was, "Well, then who is the kid I'm gonna talk to him. And I said, "You guys are going to pay for us to go to lunch." We went to lunch. I've heard you tell the story before you tell the story that we went to Olive Garden.

We did not. We went to Claim Jumper. Just to clear it up. I would never take anybody to Olive Garden. Just that's the only reason I bring it up. I remember it was a long lunch because we just kept going back and forth. And I remember multiple times during it, both of us kind of pausing and looking at it and going, "There's something here." Do you recall that lunch? And what do you recall from it?

GG: Not a lot. I mean, it was, for me, it was just, I I'd never done anything like that before because I would never been a pastor before. So interviewing and all that stuff. It was kind of the first step. I just remember being very nervous and, and trying to figure it out because there had been a couple of guys, they tried out before you, who I knew for sure weren't going to keep me. I just knew who they were. And I knew that they would be bringing in their own team and everything. And so I had almost kind of come to the reality of like, I'm probably going to have to let this youth group go and just figure out where I go from here. So for me, I think it was a lot of nerves.

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