If you don’t know what the Calvary Global Network and the Calvary Chapel Association is, then this post may not mean much to you. On the other hand, if you are familiar with my involvement with Calvary Chapel or curious as to how I became involved or have been following the Calvary Chapel buzz on some of the church watch-dog blogs (as I do), then you may find some interest here.
I’ve had the blessing of enjoying fellowship with Calvary Chapel pastors since February of 2015, when I first attended a pastors conference in Atlanta by invitation of Sandy Adams of Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain.
CrossHope Chapel upholds the Calvary Chapel distinctives in its beliefs and practices and is part of the Calvary Global Network that is affiliated with Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. I have been doing things in fellowship with the Calvary Chapel Association but I’m not officially affiliated as I wait and watch what is to come of the organizational split of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the Calvary Chapel Association.
My connection with Calvary Chapel happened by accident in 2014 while doing a trade name search when changing our church name from West Mobile Bible Fellowship to CrossHope Chapel. In our search, the name Calvary Chapel came up and my memory immediately tied that name to Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
As a new believer in Jesus Christ in 1980 I would cling to every broadcast of Chuck Smith on Christian radio in Toledo, Ohio but lost track of his radio teaching ministry as I moved South.
In that trade name search I realized that there was a multitude of Calvary Chapel’s and our church was very much like them in philosophy and doctrines. I also learned that there was once a local Calvary Chapel in our city so I made contact with a Calvary Chapel pastor
close by to inquire about it, and that led to my attendance at a Calvary Chapel conference.
There are things I like about the Calvary Global Network and there are things I like about the Calvary Chapel Association.
I like that the Calvary Global Network offers freedom, because my ministry background has been in denominations that stress conformity, and it is refreshing to me to be able to lead a local church fellowship with freedom as the Lord leads, not in accordance with required political protocol.
CrossHope Chapel takes a very relaxed laid-back approach to doing to church, and I am still trying to figure out if our approach isn’t too laid-back for the Calvary Chapel Association.
On the other hand, when it comes to the Calvary Chapel Association I do hold in high regard the council members I know, I like the regional leadership structure, and I do stand with them in a commitment to uphold the doctrinal distinctives laid out by Chuck Smith.
I should also state that I have been thankful and grateful to Calvary Chapel Association for allowing me to enjoy and build relationships with other Calvary Chapel pastors. They certainly didn’t have to invite and allow my attendance at their conferences when I am an outsider and not a member of the Calvary Chapel Association, but I am thankful they did.
One pitfall of the Calvary Global Network may be that it offers a digital affiliation but maybe not a fellowship affiliation for local churches like ours who are far from Costa Mesa. Perhaps at some point in the life of Calvary Global Network there will be other centers of fellowship throughout various regions or locations.
I like the fact that Brian Brodersen made it clear from the beginning in his “An Update from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa” that the formation of Calvary Global Network “…is NOT a call to “choose sides”. There are no sides. I fully expect that there will be freedom to connect with CCCM, Calvary Chapel Global Network, and at the same time, be a part of CCA.”
Unlike most of the pastors I have rubbed shoulders with, I have not come up from within the ranks of the Calvary Chapel movement. So admittedly, I do not have the same perspective or attachment to the history, the people and the places within the movement, so naturally I don’t have the same emotional investment.
Frankly, I don’t see why both the Calvary Chapel Association and the Calvary Global Network can’t exist together for the glory of God in advancing the Kingdom of God. Church life is local, as I see it, so being a Calvary Chapel affiliated local church could become as
applicable as being a Baptist affiliated local church – there are varying oversight organizations behind the Baptist name but the name on the sign has more implications for the pastor then it does for the parishioners or the lost in the community.
Calvary Chapel to me has been fellowship with the pastors of the Calvary Chapel Association. However, after reading Dave Rolph’s statement on the split and seeing that the established Calvary Chapel churches were not exiting their grandfathering into the network, CrossHope Chapel made the decision to become part of the Calvary Global Network.
Our church has seen visitors because of our listing with the Calvary Global Network and that has raised the interest level among our people in the Calvary Chapel movement.
I will continue to stay up with all things Calvary Chapel, but I am probably going to lay-low when it comes to conferences as long as we remain unaffiliated with Calvary Chapel Association.
We receive the Calvary Chapel Magazine and within our fellowship we freely reference Calvary Chapel in a grateful positive way. We cherish Calvary Chapel Bible teachers and their resources.
However, I am interested in the vision, future, and direction of both the Calvary Chapel Association and the Calvary Global Network, but I will not wearisomely fret or fear, nor will I presumptuously hope or trust, instead I will continue to stand on the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ that “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 ESV).