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 pastors conference in Atlanta and have since attended other pastor conferences and became close friends in regular communication with the pastors in our area.
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.
Brian Brodersen withdrew from the association and formed a new organization, different in its purposes than the Calvary Chapel Association, but yet a network for like-minded churches like CrossHope Chapel to be able to connect with, called the Calvary Global Network.
CrossHope Chapel became part of the Calvary Global Network in January 2017 because we saw it as an alliance of biblical beliefs and equipping resources, while allowing us the freedom to have a “different style” of doing church in order to fulfill our own local mission.
In regard to this split, I realize that I am an outsider and that insiders have an emotional investment, so admittedly, I do not have the same perspective or attachment to the history, 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 probably 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).
UPDATE NOTE (September 30, 2017): This post was made to inform and answer some questions for our CrossHope Chapel fellowship, but apparently it has become a very popular post that is ranked high on the Google search for “Calvary Chapel Split.” So I decided to add some links below of explanations and perspectives from Calvary Chapel pastors:
Bruce Zachary at http://calvarynexus.org/whats-going-on-in-the-calvary-chapel-movement.
Dave Rolph at http://michaelnewnham.com/?p=27492.
Josh Turansky at https://www.joshturansky.com/blog/providing-some-context.
You can find all posts related to Calvary Chapel at my Calvary Chapel topic page.
Mobile, Alabama Church site: www.crosshopechapel.org