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.
In February of 2015 I attended a church planting boot camp at Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain in Atlanta at the invitation of Pastor Sandy Adams and have since attended other pastor conferences.
I am not affiliated with the Calvary Chapel Association at this point, partly because our weekly attendance was lower than required, but also because a split took place between the Calvary Chapel Association and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, the original Calvary Chapel church with Brian Brodersen now serving as the senior pastor in succession of the late Chuck Smith.
It was a little bit uncomfortable for me because I was suddenly privy to some behind the scenes ill-will, and the uncertainty caused me to pause the affiliation process until I knew if myself and CrossHope Chapel would have a home among the future Calvary Chapel, which was now becoming two organizations.
I realize that I am an outsider and that insiders have an emotional investment, so admittedly, I do not have the same perspective or ill-will or good-will attachment to the circumstances, the people, and the places within the Calvary Chapel movement.
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.
I will continue to stay up with all things Calvary Chapel, but I am going to lay-low when it comes to conferences as long as we remain unaffiliated with Calvary Chapel Association and while I watch it formulate its post-split direction.
I am praying for and watching for 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).