OCTOBER 23 - 25




Hitchhikers is an event designed to give leaders an in-depth look at the ministry of The Salt Company and Cornerstone Church. Participants will get firsthand experience of the ministry, hear the story behind Salt Company and Cornerstone Church, and attend breakout sessions which will share the principles and practices behind their approach to reaching the next generation in a multi-generational church.

Participants will learn from key leaders from Cornerstone Church and Salt Company, as well recent church planters sent out by Cornerstone Church. Additionally, this event provides a significant networking opportunity for those who share a passion for the church and the university.






3:00p     Arrive at Cornerstone

3:30p     Session #1: The Cornerstone Story

5:30p     Dinner

6:30p     Session #2: The Cornerstone Vision Frame

8:00p     Meet Host Homes Hosts - Depart to Houses


7:30a      Breakfast at Host Home

8:30a      Arrive at Cornerstone

9:00a      Session #3: The Salt Company Leadership Pipeline

10:45a    Breakout Round 1

12:00p    Lunch

1:00p      Breakout Round 2

 2:00a     Free Time / Open Gym

 2:30p     Session #4: The Salt Network- Multiplying Circles

 4:00p     Free Time

 6:00p     Dinner with small groups in Ames

 7:00p     Return to Cornerstone for Salt Company

 8:00p     Salt Company

10:00p    Return to Host Homes


7:30a      Breakfast at Host Home

8:30a      Arrive at Cornerstone

9:00a      Session #5: Processing as a Team / Take-Aways

Our Story


The Salt Company story began in 1972 when Jack Owens moved to Ames to establish a Baptist Student Union at Iowa State University. In the first year, he prayed for just six students in whom he could invest the gospel through personal discipleship. God answered that prayer and granted a movement of multiplying disciples.

In the mid-1980’s, the BSU was renamed The Salt Company. Under the leadership of Troy Nesbitt, The Salt Company outgrew the local church who partnered to start the ministry. With the blessing of his pastor, Tom Nesbitt (Troy's father), Troy set out to plant a church in the community that would embrace the vision of next-generation ministry in a fresh way.

In 1994, Cornerstone Church of Ames began with 24 community volunteers and 200 students from The Salt Company. Since 1994, Cornerstone has continued to grow to 2,500 attending weekly services, as well as grow in the number of ministries, staff, baptisms, facility space, connection groups, and most importantly, new churches! The Salt Network was born in 2016 and now includes nine churches currently impacting university students in Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.

As of the fall of 2018, The Salt Company at Iowa State University has grown to involve an average of 1,300 students in their ministries weekly, with over 400 students serving as leaders on campus.

Through Cornerstone Church and the Salt Company, God continues to send people and resources to further God's mission through church planting in the Midwest and around the globe. ​

Breakout Sessions


Main Session #1 Breakouts:


Cornerstone Leadership: Disciple to Lead - Explore how Cornerstone and Salt Company identifies, equips, and disciples leaders, seeking to invest in a few to reach the many.


Strategic Evangelism: Reaching The Lost to Reach the Lost - Discover how Cornerstone seeks to empower members to reach the lost in their own context through evangelism that’s natural and reproducible.


Money, Money, Money: Funding the Ministry - Learn how Cornerstone and Salt Company pursue fundraising and strategic budgeting to establish healthy local ministries and multiply churches to new university contexts.


Main Session #2 Breakouts:


Visible and Vibrant Plurality of Leadership - See how visible and vibrant plurality in leadership and teaching voices helps build a healthy culture of multiplication for Cornerstone and The Salt Network.


Fostering a Global Vision in a Local Church - Observe how engaging the nations for Christ fuels and facilitates Cornerstone’s multiplication locally and nationally.


Training the Next Generation of Church Leaders - Learn how Cornerstone prioritizes theological education in the local church to see staff and members biblically grounded and equipped to lead well.


Church Networks & Multiplication - Discover more about how Cornerstone moved from a local church of 200 people to a network of multiplying churches impacting the globe from Iowa to the ends of the earth.


Main Session #3 Breakouts:


Women in Ministry and Multiplication - Learn how Cornerstone and Salt Company empower women to lead in ministry and multiplication within a biblically complementarian framework


Reconciling Race, Culture and the Role of the Church - Listen in as Salt Network leaders discuss how they are pursuing gospel ministry that transcends the ethnic divisions challenging communities across the nation.


Contemporary Ethical Challenges in the University - Hear from Cornerstone leaders how they are seeking to hold out timeless biblical truths in communities where sexual ethics and gender identities are becoming increasingly fluid.

The Details




Participants should schedule their flight to arrive at Des Moines International (DSM) no later than 3:00p on October 23rd. Departures should be scheduled for after 11a on October 25th. Cornerstone Church will provide ground transportation to and from DSM for those who are not renting a car.


Those who are driving should arrive at Cornerstone Church before 5:00p on October 23rd.


All sessions will be held at Cornerstone Church of Ames, located at 56829 US-HWY 30 Ames, IA 50010.



Morning Bell

Cafe Diem

Stomping Grounds



Cornerstone Church is conveniently located only minutes away from many hotel options. Please check our list below for approximate room rates and links to our recommendations.  

(Please Note: Participants are responsible for the cost and booking of their hotel accommodations. Hotel cost is not included in the registration fee.)


If participants would prefer to request alternative housing, Cornerstone Church can provide free (in-home) housing and shuttle transportation for those attending the Salt Company Hitchhikers event.


Baymont Inn & Suites 

Address: 1605 S Dayton Pl, Ames, IA 50010

Phone: (515) 337-2751

Average rate is $60 per night


TownPlace Suites by Marriott

Address: 1523 S Dayton Ave, Ames, IA 50010

Phone: (515) 232-5500

Average rate is $139 per night


Hampton Inn & Suites

Address: 2100 SE 16th St, Ames, IA 50010

Phone: (515) 232-5510

Average rate is $145 per night


Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham

Address: 2216 SE 16th St, Ames, IA 50010

Phone: (515) 337-2748

Average rate is $69 per night

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