What Is Calvary Chapel Today? Part 1
As the first major conference of the Calvary Chapel Association approaches on Nov. 6, we look at where the fractured movement stands today.
Technically, the group is divided into two camps, the Brian Brodersen led Calvary Global Network, and those churches associated with the Calvary Chapel Association.
There is massive overlap between the two at the moment.
That’s because the process to get out of either has proved inefficient and more importantly, because many of the pastors just don’t care.
This wasn’t their fight and they assumed that “spiritual” leaders would find a way to overcome their issues.
They didn’t and they won’t.
Of the two factions, Brodersen and the CGN are struggling the most.
Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, the “mothership” of the movement at one time, is down in attendance dramatically and down in giving even more dramatically.
It is not unusual to see pictures of a mostly empty parking lot for Sunday services posted online by critics.
Part of that issue is simple demographics, the area around the church having changed a lot since the salad days of Chuck Smith.
At the same time, Brodersen has been under withering attacks without ceasing from the CCA, “discernment” ministries, and the more fundamentalist parts of the Calvary world.
While most of these attacks have been unfair (and some were simple lies) they have done damage.
Brodersen hasn’t helped himself by taking frequent trips overseas to the mission field where his heart seems to truly be.
Never known as a dynamic speaker, he often seems disengaged when he returns.
The church itself is not in financial straits… Chuck Smith left a large amount in the checking account when he passed.
The question for the future is how long the board will want to draw from those reserves to cover today.
The big issue for his Calvary Global Network is that there is no really compelling reason for CC pastors to join it other than discomfiture with the CCA.
They were all grandfathered in when it started and it’s not exclusive to Calvary Chapel churches.
Calvary Chapel pastors are used to being exclusive and have never been comfortable with inclusion.
The future has more questions than answers for Brodersen and his ministries.
The main response I get from CC pastors when asked about these issues?
We’ll look at the CCA next…