I want to answer a question that has been asked of me several times and that I expect will provide some information for our church members who are interested in “inside baseball” stuff, and have wondered why our church has not been invited to the Calvary Chapel events we’ve seen posted on social media with the Mobile, Fairhope, and Foley churches…
The question presented is: “What is the difference between CrossHope Chapel and Mobile Calvary Chapel?”
The short answer is: Style and organizational values. Both CrossHope Chapel and Mobile Calvary Chapel churches hold to the same set of doctrinal beliefs, but both are slightly different in the way they worship and fellowship on Sundays.
(For those who may not know, Mobile Calvary Chapel is a new church plant in Midtown off Dauphin Street that started last year and is headed up by a pastor from Calvary Chapel LAX in California. I consider the pastor a friend, I’ve sent wedding officiating opportunities to him, and their members our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have even allowed them to use our Chapel rent-free for a Men’s ministry breakfast.)
Styles & Values
The longer explanation is: CrossHope Chapel is more relaxed than your traditional Calvary Chapel church style. You will hear the same worship songs at CrossHope Chapel but we practice a more relaxed prayerful worship style, and usually remain seated as we participate. It’s a style of worship that is more laid-back and prayerful in its approach, and that eases into worship with an emphasis on individual reflection without the feel of a concert audience before a stage production.
The other stylistic difference with CrossHope Chapel is that our time in the Word of God can be described as “conversational Bible teaching.” We preach through the books of the Bible, chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse, but our style of preaching is more like a teacher than a lecturer because we welcome questions and comments right in the middle of the preaching. You can ask questions as you have them. It’s also not uncommon for the group to search through their Bibles or smartphones together to help another find information for their question.
CrossHope Chapel is part of the Calvary Global Network and Mobile Calvary Chapel is part of the Calvary Chapel Association. The mission and message is the same between these differing organizations but the Network and Association do hold differing values that affect the method of the mission.
Calvary Chapel Association
The Calvary Chapel Association values maintaining Calvary Chapel’s historical past, its practices, and the principles believed to honor and most represent its late founder, Chuck Smith. It values maintaining its traditional format and style across the spectrum of local Calvary Chapel churches. Their intention is that if a traveler steps into a Calvary Chapel one Sunday in one city, then travels to another state and goes to that city’s Calvary Chapel, they will find both to be similar in style.
Calvary Global Network
The Calvary Global Network values being proactive about Calvary Chapel’s future vision and its Kingdom engagement in these changing times under the leadership of Chuck Smith’s successor, Brian Brodersen. It values encouraging liberty for the local churches to be culturally and locally flexible in their own God-given mission, which for CrossHope Chapel is a very relaxed style of worship that is effective in our localized mission, rather than adapting a cookie-cutter template approach.
CrossHope Chapel has chosen to align itself with the Calvary Global Network because we fit with its position on flexibility for the local church, we benefit from its on-going pastoral equipping resources, and we agree with its collaborative willingness for cooperative missions and ministries of various flags or tribes, something that we have been engaged in since our beginning.
I wrote about the split that led to the formation of these two Calvary Chapel ministry bodies at “Calvary Chapel Split“ page. If you visit that page you will also find links to posts and comments by some Calvary Chapel pastors with some inside perspectives.
In a nutshell, Calvary Chapel Association, was a committee of Calvary Chapel ministers selected by Chuck Smith and given responsibility to plan the annual pastors conferences and affiliate new churches. Since the death of Chuck Smith, it sees itself as the rightful heir to assume leadership over the 1700 church Calvary Chapel movement.
However, the Calvary Chapel founder, Chuck Smith, who served as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and from that position led the expansion of Calvary Chapel churches from 1 in 1965 to over 1700 at the time of his death in 2013, was succeeded as pastor by his assistant pastor and son-in-law, Brian Brodersen.
It all reminds me of the example of Moses dying and Joshua filling his shoes of leadership. Chuck Smith, in someways like Moses, was a larger than life leader and the task of following such a leader can’t be easy, but like Joshua, Brian Brodersen is leading in a different phase of the mission than did the Moses before him.
Method not Message
We realize that not everyone is comfortable with the CrossHope Chapel model of simpler, smaller, and relational church. Our fellowship is more of a discipleship focus gathering and sometimes that makes traditional pew observers uncomfortable. When we have visitors or inquiries about finding a more traditional church, we happily point them to Mobile Calvary Chapel.
After all, both CrossHope Chapel and Mobile Calvary Chapel are together unique among the churches in our area for one reason – our doctrinal beliefs – because style is more about the method than message.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Related post: https://www.stevedurkac.com/calvary-chapel-split/