Who Cares About The CGN Conference?

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41 Responses

  1. CM says:


    Methinks that CGN will be cut loose to either sink or swim on its own before too long. The Costa Mecca mother ship cannot continue to pour money into it.

    What about about their “Mirror, Mirror” (to use the old Star Trek TOS episode reference) counterparts in CCA and their conference? Anything new about them?

  2. Michael says:

    Not really.
    Their leadership is aging out.
    Many of them rode the Trump train hard…we’ll see how that wears in times to come.

  3. Linn says:

    What I remember from CGN was the music (70s/80s). For the most part, it was good and singable, and most Christians seemed to like it. Chuck Smith was on the radio, and although I’ve never been Charismatic, I did find most of his teaching engaging and edifying. I left the country for a few years, and came back to find that CGN was full of scandal. It did make me very sad.

  4. DavidM says:

    By the way . . . who ARE the speakers?😂

  5. Michael says:


    I don’t know.
    The speakers used to be chosen at a January meeting by Chuck Smith and some pastors that were in his favor at the moment.
    Now, Brian Brodersen and his crew pick them when they can…the roster hasn’t been set by now in the last few years.

  6. Nick Cady says:

    Some other things to consider:
    1) Maybe CGN is succeeding in moving away from the celebrity culture that was present in CC in the past. Brian has purposefully platformed non-celebrity pastors and small-church pastors at these conferences for the past few years.
    2) Maybe you are not considered the authority or insider on CC which you were thought to be in the past.
    3) Christian conference interest and attendance is waning across the board.
    4) These “heavy hitters” you speak of: I’m curious who they are. I don’t think the situation is quite as you claim.

    I’ll be at the CGN conference. Looking forward to it.

  7. CM says:


    I do find it ironic that a bunch of now-aging hipsters who rebelled against the economic, cultural, music, and religious norms of the era went all in to the epitome of crony capitalist con artist that was Trump.

    “There’s nothing as pathetic as an aging hipster.” The CCA big names only proves it.

  8. Michael says:


    You showed up later than I expected… 🙂
    I agree with one through three to a degree…especially two and three.
    I would quarrel a bit with the first claim…I’m not sure how successful they’ve been.

    The” heavy hitters” I refer to are the prominent CC pastors of the past…Reis, Macintosh, Heitzig, etc.
    The new blood like Randall and Hibbs are also CCA.

    I appreciate your place in the group and your vigor in supporting it.

  9. Wendi says:

    I wonder if the lack of unique identity is intentional in the name of not becoming hyper focused on a specific individual or to try to avoid an us VS them mentality. . CGN seems more like a collaborative project, which I actually find refreshing.

  10. Michael says:


    It can be a good thing…but historically the groups that survive have a common identity.
    When that identity becomes unclear or divisive the group has a very difficult time sustaining itself.

  11. Michael says:

    While I’m here…I fully admit that I no longer consider myself expert on anything current in the CC/CGN world.
    I am simply a veteran observer who is still connected by friendship to some pastors in the group.
    My relevance has declined along with the significance of the movement.
    I prefer to write about and live among cats these days…

  12. CM says:


    I guess a commentator on hippie culture will find less to write and talk about (and be less relevant) once all the hippies start dying off. No different than the Deadheads having to do something else once The Grateful Dead ceased to exist.

  13. Michael says:


    My primary interest was always in exposing corruption and the systems that propagated it.
    I think we did a good job, but it was, as they say, urinating in the wind.
    I’m trying to dry off and enjoy what’s left of my time…

  14. CM says:


    Agreed. Towel yourself off thoroughly and relax with your cats.


  15. BrideofChrist says:

    I attended Calvary Chapels in southern California twice a week for over thirty years. I attended North Park Calvary with Mike Macintosh, Encinitas Calvary with Ed Smith, Poway Calvary with Him Hesterly, and I attended Calvary Chapel Vista for 20 years with Brian Broderson- whew, that’s a lot of Calvary Chapel! I haven’t attended CC for four years now, but like Michael, I still have many friends who are part of Calvary Chapel. Does anyone know if CC Costa Mesa under Brian Broderson jumped on the Trump bandwagon as enthusiasticly as many other CCs did? He was the pastor who influenced me the most as I attended his church in Vista for the longest. I am somehow always interested to hear about what is happening in the CC world – I suppose because it was such a large part of my life for so long. There was much that was good, much that was bad, and the bad seemed to be out weighing the good when I tore myself away from Calvary Chapel.

  16. JD says:

    They should have plenty of lucre if they sell Murrieta Hot Springs for $60 million.

  17. Em says:

    CM @12:45

  18. Michael says:


    Brodersen did not join the Trump train, to his credit.

  19. BrideofChrist says:

    Michael, I am glad to hear that about Pastor Brian Broderson. He is the head of CGN , so in my opinion, that makes CGN a more Christian organization than the Calvary Chapel Association.

  20. EricL says:

    They might have extra cash to fund CGN once they sell their main Bible College/ Retreat Center. You can buy it for $50 million.

  21. CM says:

    Michael @ 4:33 pm,

    Maybe because Brodersen realized it was a crazy train headed off the rails.

    Obligatory Ozzy Youtube below:

  22. Steve says:

    CM, how many of us are on the Biden Bus?

  23. JD says:

    Crickets 🦗

  24. Ethan says:

    Wrong thread. That will net you zero responses.

    Not too bright, are you two.

  25. pstrmike says:

    Some other things to consider.

    I never sign up for anything (conferences or retreats) without seeing a schedule and knowing who is going to speak. I see this announcement from CGN and think, “same ol’ Calvary Chapel.”

    I don’t know if I want to go to Southern Cal with Covid still being an issue.

    I’m really out of the loop regarding anything Calvary. Most of my “friends” who are pastors within Calvary are more inclined to participate in CCA events than CGN. I’m the opposite. I’ve always liked Brian and grew to distrustful of most of what became the CCA. No surprise to me that Brian left the counsel and started a new thing.

    I don’t even know how to “plug in” to CGN primarily because what is available to engage with them are not the areas that draw me. I’m also NW Baptist now, and the connection locally works for me. Most local CC guys are, as I said, CCA.

    Whether small church pastors are getting more of a platform, it’s still a matter of who you know. But that’s everywhere, pretty much how things operate. I wonder if they would want the guy who the Phoenix Preacher claimed to be his pastor to speak next year? LoL!!!

    The normal response I get from people when I tell them that I was Calvary is laughter……..

    That tells me something.

  26. Steve says:

    Ethan, LOL

  27. Steve says:

    Ethan, LOL. It was meant for a response.

  28. Michael says:

    The curse of binary thinking…just because one voted to remove Trump doesn’t mean they supported Biden in any substantial way.

    I would have voted for damn near anyone else to lose Trump…

  29. CM says:

    Steve and Michael,

    I have voted for neither of the binary choices of a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich for the past 4 POTUS elections. Last time I voted for either a D or R for POTUS was in 2004. Somehow I cannot say that of the vast majority (if not all) of the CCA pastors….

  30. Outsider says:

    GCN and CCA share a common DNA. There may appear a sharp division and disdain for each other’s organizations; however the glue that holds any of it together is ultimately influence. Mutual endorsements and marketing are key to these family businesses. CC is a great case study in what is problematic with much of American evangelicalism which is based on pragmatism and nepotism. The dynamic nature of celebrity pastors and the political influence of who is in power at any time or place shape shifts even the old guard when it comes to power and $$.

  31. Mill Burray says:

    Mike! Long time reader first time poster. I’m sorry it’s harder for ya to get the inside scoop on what’s going on these days… but I’d like to offer some optimistic insight.

    I’m a pastor who is happy to call CGN my network. Over the last few years I’ve seen a great amount of humility, passion, and collaborative spirit from all the guys involved. There really doesn’t seem to be a celebrity culture right now… what DOES happen is sometimes small time pastors who are doing something well get recognized and appreciated, but it really doesn’t seem like a celebrity culture is forming or anyone is building a platform for themselves. At the end of the day the pastors in CGN just want to lead their flocks well and help one another do that.

    I was at the conference last year and it was really amazing to see how the staff at CGN worked hard to provide an online conference during the height of COVID. My missionary friends were really encouraged by all they did to bless us despite the limitations, and they barely charged anything for it.

    I think CGN is honestly doing great work. Here’s a few examples

    1. During COVID their team has been grabbing leaders from all across the network to lead daily online prayer around the world. This has been a huge blessing to me and so many others.

    2. Some of the pastors in the network have started this excellent program called “the expositors collective” which helps train young preachers in expositional and Christ centered preaching. It’s been a great thing for CC because they strategically help people grow beyond the “read and ramble” style of preaching where even though you’re teaching verse by verse you aren’t actually saying much. They really double down on helping people preach Jesus throughout the scripture. That’s a huge win.

    3. They’ve managed to launch a podcast network in a few short years and it’s got a really diverse set of voices on it putting out content every week.

    4. They are actively strategizing ways to equip pastors for church planting.

    5. They are helping pastors around the world get access to amazing theological training via Western Seminary in Portland.

    I’m friends with some of the team and they are good people who really believe in what they are doing. The goal isn’t power or money, it’s reaching people for Jesus.

    I was talking to some other CGN friends recently are we were saying that CC may never again reach the height of what it was before Chuck passed… and that’s ok. The goal isn’t to be huge or have a ton of money and outward success. Movements come and go. All we can do is our best with what we have. Many of us in CGN feel this way. God has planted us here, all we can do is just try to help things grow, and more importantly… help people grow.

    In my time in ministry I’ve seen church splits, pastors fail, corruption… etc… it’s so easy to be negative and cynical. But I really believe we need to fight that and just keep moving forward trying to be a force for good in the world.

    I’ve spent my entire ministry life in CC and I’ve seen the good and bad. I’m a CGN guy now but I’ve got friends in CCA who I love dearly too. My view is we all just need to keep moving forward trying to reach people Christ, whether you’re CGN, CCA, Baptist, Anglican… whatever. We are all family. Dysfunctional yes, but family.

    Mike I’d sincerely challenge you to join us at the conference this year and see if you can find any redeeming qualities about CGN. It’d be nice to see them get some positive press once in a while. 😉

    Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

  32. Michael says:

    Mill Burray,

    I’m just curious…why… after all these years… do CC guys still feel the need to post using a fake name and email address?

    I won’t be spending 150.00 to attend anything…even if my health allowed, which it doesn’t.

  33. Mill Burray says:

    Hey man… full disclosure, I’m just not super comfortable putting myself out there on a blog like this… but I’ve appreciated a lot of what you’ve wrote over the years.

    Also I get not wanting to spend the cash. Totally.

    I actually agree with what you’re saying about identity when it comes to CGN. We do need to flesh that identity out more. I know that’s on a lot of the guys radar in leadership to hoping that continues to develop more.

    I’m optimistic!

    Also for a fake name can’t you at least agree Mill Burray is a pretty great one? 😉

  34. CM says:


    Shall I presume you are a fan of Ghostbusters and Caddyshack?

    “Hello? Anybody home? Hello, Mr. Gopher! It’s me, Mr. Squirrel. Just a harmless squirrel. Not a plastic explosive or anything. Nothing to be worried about. I’m just here to make your last hours on earth as peaceful as possible. Don’t mind this. This is doctor’s orders. You don’t mind if I just pop in there for a few laughs? That’s right. Or in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre: “Au revoir, gopher.” This is going to be sweet. “

  35. Michael says:

    Mill Burray,

    I’ve spent twenty years being uncomfortable on this blog…but my names been on everything.
    My consistent criticism of CGN has been the lack of coherent identity…how many CGN affiliates are also in the SBC?

  36. CM says:


    Agreed with your 9:44 AM.

    You have always had the stones to put your real name up.

    Methinks Chuck and all the other hardcore CCA’ers would be horrified that affiliation. I have heard several Calvary Chapel hardcore cultists deride “Baptist Boys” and their cessationist pneumotology and congregational polity over the years.

  37. pstrmike says:

    I think Outsider identified it well.

    “CGN and CCA share a common DNA. There may appear a sharp division and disdain for each other’s organizations; however the glue that holds any of it together is ultimately influence. ”

    I’m not sure how wide spread the sharp division and disdain is these days. The split was a few years ago now, and generally, most normal people learn to live with things that they do not like and cannot change. Noticed I said normal. Anyway, both group are from the same DNA with the exception being that CGN has purposely attempted to cross pollinate with others within the body of Christ who bring different perspectives into consideration. And of note that I think is positive, there is no longer a requirement to belief certain non-essential doctrines—that are really up for debate—to be a part of CGN.

    I do hope that time is helpful to CGN, that is, that they actually grow in their relationship with Christ both individually and collectively. What I find concerning is when I read some of the comments by those younger guys within CGN who sound hauntingly familiar to the “old guard” of CCA. For that matter, some of the old guys who I refer to as “Brian’s buddies” sound the same way. But then again, it is the same DNA. The question then becomes, how might we be transformed?

  38. DH says:

    My understanding is when Brian left CCA he took the entire CC database and only left an option for pastors to opt-out, of course, people won’t opt out of the church finder, etc. If he had done it the other way where you could opt-in he would have had to be clear on what people were opting in to with CGN. Now, what’s the need?
    Seemed like a weasel move although brilliant I suppose.

    Also, I find it ironic the ‘old guys’ complain about Brian alone calling the shots for CGN (don’t know how true that is but it is CC DNA) when most of them have run “their” churches that way for years.

  39. pstrmike says:


    That was probably the case at the beginning, but since then CGN has been opened up to any like-minded churches who decide they want to become a part of the network, or as you said, opt in.

    And like you, I found the critiques of Brian rather ironic being that they were coming from men who many but not all, have in the past, disclosed their autonomous control over their churches as if it were some kind of virtue. I heard it regularly in both pastor’s conferences and even unleashed on worship leaders at worship conferences.

    You may or may not know that CGN now has a board, much in the same way as CCA. No surprise there. 😎

  40. pstrmike says:

    One more thing.
    Brian didn’t “take” anything. It is my understanding that the database was the property of an Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.

  41. DH says:

    Brian became the heir of assets… And had a better website than CCA by far but Michael is right he never differentiated his movement.

    No one can deny what God did through Chuck. We will never know on this side but I’m thinking a lot.

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