My wife, Shelly, and I had the pleasure of going to the 2017 Calvary Chapel Pastors Conference in Costa Mesa last week.
It was awesome!
Titled “Salt & Light: The Church in the World,” it certainly was an appropriate theme for the speakers.
It was at Calvary Chapel I first heard the Good News and accepted Christ as my personal Savior.
Pastor Chuck Smith’s expository teaching was powerful and became a Distinctive of all Calvary Chapels, emphasizing biblical truth and reaching the lost for Christ.
Since he’s been home with the Lord, there are over 1,000 Calvary Chapel affiliated churches worldwide.
Here are 3 key takeaways:
- The pastors were engaged and on fire.
I’ve been a speaker and attendee at previous pastor conferences. Many of them are disappointing. For example, during worship, so many pastors just sit. We’re talking about a room of 1,000 or more leading pastors in America listening to some awesome worship music. A couple would raise their hands, but the vast majority weren’t even worshiping our Savior.
They were just listening.
And when some incredibly talented Bible teachers were preaching and teaching the Word, there was hardly any reaction from the audience.
Not so at this conference.
What a blessing to see the pastors crying out to God in song and worship, raising their hands, with massive smiles on their faces.
They brought to life Psalm 29:2:
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.
And what a great encouragement to see these men and women of God engaged in acknowledging what was being spoken from the pulpit.
- While the conference was always Christ-centered and biblically based, much of it had to do with engaging the current culture.
Multiple times I heard exhortations on reaching the youth. Pastors were encouraged to recognize that every opportunity is an opportunity of salvation.
There should be altar calls at every church service, because you never know who may hear the gospel only once.
Or someone who is backslidden will recommit their life to Christ.
There was exhortation to recognize a biblical, loving attitude towards sinners but not compromising on biblical principles.
For example, the issue of homosexuality and how the church needs to deal with sin and not run from it. To understand that whether it is heterosexual sin or homosexual sin, it is still sin.
It’s what one of the teachers called “holy sexuality,” as stated in 1 Cor. 6:19-20:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Single. Heterosexual. Homosexual. The issue is really “holy sexuality.”
- Calvary Chapel has undergone several changes since founder Chuck Smith went home to be with the Lord.
Some Calvary Chapel pastors have not been happy with change, some of which are necessary and good.
It was heartening to see the pastors at this conference wanting to be directed and led by the Holy Spirit on how to engage this culture.
It brought vividly to mind Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.
This group of pastors wants to be open to new moves directed by the Holy Spirit, and new ways on communicating truth, but never compromising it.
This was the first pastors conference since an unfortunate split and division among many great men and women of God.
The 2017 conference was organized and led by Pastor Brian Brodersen, (who I’ve known since junior high ministry at CCCM). God used him in putting together a great summit.
What was powerful and clear was a call for unity and reconciliation.
Multiple times during the conference, that theme was echoed and appreciated by all.
My overall takeaway from the conference was that not only were the pastors better equipped and refreshed, but that they left with a vision of great things that can be accomplished by each of them in their own fellowships.
My prayer is that what was learned in this conference will be effective in engaging our changing culture and bringing the light of Jesus to a dark world that doesn’t know Him.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)
What do you think? Email me at [email protected]