How Brian Brodersen Can Save The Calvary Chapel Movement

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12 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    You take time out of the upcoming pastors conference to hold elections.

    You allow the pastors to nominate and vote on a board…with 2 year term limits.

    You do something CC has never done…you treat pastors like adults and give them a say in governance, doctrine, and practice.

    You can name yourself eternal board chairman if you need to…but unless you give these pastors some skin in the game, the game is soon over.

    Awesome first steps! But don’t stop there, treat the congregants (not just pastors) like adults as well. I know the congregation is just a bunch of grumbling butts in the seat but seriously if you don’t recognize the gifts and talents of the laypersons and not just the club of pastors the game is over. The congregants (not just pastors) need skin in the game as well since after all they are basically financing the entire thing and they won’t forever put up with their non existent status. Institute formal membership if you don’t have it right away.

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Steve…and amen to the rest of your post as well…

  3. Michael says:

    I don’t think my suggestions have been received with gladness… 🙂

  4. Corby says:

    Yeah, we all know none of that will happen. And I for one would run away from CGN if it ever did. Because voting is totally antithetical to, well a lot of things in my opinion, but especially to being a CC.

    Chuck wasn’t a dictator over the movement. (Some would say over his church, but that’s not the context here.) The mindset, and this is what I really liked, is “This is the direction we’re going, this is what we believe, if you like that direction and believe the same thing, let’s go together.” That spirit, that mentality is actually very appealing to a lot of people. The idea of voting in a board, term limits, voting on doctrines, that sounds completely repulsive on this scale. And people don’t feel like they are being treated like a child if they “don’t have a say.” They have a say with their feet. And they used them, hence the split. A split would have happened with these structures in place anyway.

    If CGN were run the like SBC or some other denomination, I would have to bail.

  5. Michael says:


    I will go to my grave utterly confused about the typical CC mindset.

    You want no say in leadership, doctrine, or practice.

    You don’t want to participate in the governance of the group you belong to.

    That’s how the tyrants keep their power….and the CCA tyrants have been very busy lately…

  6. bob1 says:

    “The congregants (not just pastors) need skin in the game as well since after all they are basically financing the entire thing and they won’t forever put up with their non existent status. Institute formal membership if you don’t have it right away.”

    Not sure I agree with this. I’d like to…but my experience at CC was that because
    CC is so pastor/personality driven, that often congregants didn’t really know or realize
    that they didn’t have a voice in anything. Maybe it’s a similar mindset to what
    must go on in some megachurches, where the leadership does all the work and the folks
    in the pews can sit back and worship, hear teaching and leave.

    My other observation from my CC days is that I felt sorry for folks where CC was their only church experience. They didn’t know there are churches that are more democratically run, where congregants vote and can freely express themselves,for example maybe there’s a board where congregants can express their opinions. I think they have to ‘fight’ more to get out of CC. Whereas others knew CC was only one out of many church groups.

  7. the link says:

    When I left cc I went to a church with meetings run by the members. I was initially shocked to hear regular people suggest and VOTE for changes. I don’t know if the rank and file Calvary folks will ever get to a point where they recognise their own voices and not just blindly follow “Moses”.

  8. Steve says:

    bob1, I hear what you are saying. And I agree that probably neither mine nor Michael’s suggestions would ever be heard in CC. I am only hear because Michael has been kind enough to give me a small voice in what I believe is sorely lacking in CC as well as probably larger mega churches.

    I’m not hear to try to reform the problems in CC because they probably aren’t fixable. I didn’t leave CC by voting with my feet but rather by being booted by the Moses. But now that I am older and wiser I would have voted with my feet if I had known better. This is because, in my naivety, I didn’t quite understand the bizarre level of control, power and autonomy the senior pastor has being accountable only to God and absolutely no one else. It has taken me years to understand that this is not healthy for any church.

  9. The Least of These says:

    There is this CC assumption that the mouth piece of any given CC has a special “anointing” because they are where they are because of a holy appointment. Therefore, the buck starts and stops with them. There is no way BB or any leader in CC would give that up because job security and perks comes from being the top guy. I know you know this… I’m just restating the obvious. BB feels this was his divine entitlement, and that he has the specialness to make independent decisions with or without approval from the rank and file. It’s this kind of renegade governing style that was the petri dish for the Jesus People movement, one where the ideal was we’d live and love each other in biblical harmony. In a way, it’s a charming 1960’s communal hippie ideal that was spun from the times in which it was birthed.

    But historically this stuff never works. There are reasons you build fences. Fences to stop predators from misconduct. Fences to protect the innocent. Fences to keep people accountable and honest. That’s because the absolute power that corrupts has it’s corrupting affect on even the anointed ones. It happens all the time in CC where power and money and privilege go unchecked. The misuses go on in spite of their denials of a system inherently built upon a corrosive lack of checks and balances. BB just feels he is incapable of such missteps cause, well… he is a good guy and he won’t be like Chuck was financially. He’s got this. Trust him. For all Brian’s good points (and there are many) he can not and will never see how this just isn’t good enough anymore. The system is inherently flawed and saying to critical observers that the problem is in what you see, not the actuals, denies the abject misuse of power that has become the hallmark of the Calvary Chapel experience. Corby said Chuck wasn’t a dictator except for perhaps his own church. Maybe that is true in the truest sense of the word, but “Papa Chuck” was the figurehead and inventor of a church management system that those who emulated him borrowed extensively from and no one dared argue against the “distinctives” put in place.

    Democracy and respect for laity holds nothing in light of the power that being the head guy offers. They’d rather the ship go down first to prove the rightness of their governance position. You are calling on BB to grab a hammer and nail down core elements in hopes of saving something of a system that had a simple beauty to itself, if only in concept, once so long ago. You are giving him ideas on how to build a fence. IMO that beauty of CC is long gone, wrinkled in time through abuses and fraud and immorality at the highest levels. I can name names. And I know you can too. But I gave up hoping a long time ago that anyone in CC, CCA, CGN… CC whatever… would have the courage, insight, and wisdom to fix this. None of them know how to use a hammer, except to strike it as a weapon to silence their detractors when reality becomes too painful to admit.

  10. S says:

    This is so sad. I went to CC in the early 70’s. Look what greed has done????? You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I married a pastors son in 76. Well, we are divorced. I can’t find a church I am comfortable with anymore. The love of Jesus is no where to be found within the Christian churches I’m my area. Its awful. They judge other pasters thinking they are the best. Omg….do you think that is why people turn to other religions???? I will always love Jesus. But l don’t want to have to look for love in all the wrong places. Man up. Show some love and compassion and get your act together. There will never be another Chuck Smith. It was His Church. When he passed it went with him. You all just get your own churches and help people. Don’t fight amongst yourselves. It will never be the same again. Get over it and move on. God bless !

  11. Sorry but, I don’t support the new changes with Calvary. I would have not left Brian Brodersen in charge.

  12. Brain McNamee says:

    Hi I was fortunate enough to be in and out of CC Costa Mesa through early 80’s and then again in the few years prior to Chuck’s passing I went to the Bible college in Costa Mesa and Chuck gave many lectures to the school of ministry that I was able to sit in on. Chuck went through the distinctives in depth and this is related to the governance of the movement. The Bible showed the model for the church and things like spiritual gifts the distictive was taken from the Bible that the gifts do not cease and everything should be done decently and in order. No more than two or three should speak in tongues and that only if there is an interpreter. This kind of foundation or constitution was not based on a dictatorship or a vote but by agreeing that these Bible interpretations are correct and forming a body of believers who agreed with these interpretations. The method of going through the whole Bible in exposition style made sure that the entire counsel of God was taught which lays a history of what happened and outlines the prophecy’s given and shows how they meet in the new testament. Chuck pondering his departure spoke openly about a split board on the direction of the movement. Chuck noted that the LORD raised up the foolish to be pastors and men like Mike Macintosh, Greg Laurie, Raul Reis, Ron Wilkens were not pastor material in education or training but God used them mightily. Chuck believed the LORD would ad those that should be saved and that healthy sheep reproduce. He believed the Bible and if you look at many churches who are now apostate they started with a board that slowly took over and left the scriptures for man made philosophy. Chuck understood that the truth will not change so he tried to establish an anchor to what the Bible said and hope no one would depart from it.

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