What is a Calvary Chapel Church?

How it Started

In the late 1960’s Pastor Chuck Smith, of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA was entrusted by God with a work of the Holy Spirit that would eventually play an important role in starting what came to be known as the Jesus Movement. During that movement hundreds of young new believers were saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa also made a major contribution in developing a new form of worship which today is known as Contemporary Christian Worship. This form of worship included less-formal attire, a more laid-back atmosphere, and the beginnings of a more contemporary worship music style that many churches (both non- denominational and denominational) include in their worship services today. Today Calvary Chapels can be found all over the world and are best known for simply teaching the Word verse by verse from Genesis to Revelation and their distinctive worship style.

Calvary Chapel Distinctives

What is it that makes Calvary Chapel different from other Bible-believing, evangelical churches? It's always good to have a grasp of the unique work that God has done in our fellowship.  If Calvary Chapel is exactly like the church across the street, it would be better to simply merge the two.  But, if there are distinctives that make us different, then we have a unique and special place in the plan of God.  Certainly, there are churches that share many of our beliefs and practices.  We're not renegades.  But God has done a wonderful work of balance in the Calvary Chapel movement that does make us different in many areas.

there are many who believe in the gifts and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but don't have a strong emphasis on Biblical teaching, nor do they look to the Word to guide their experiences with The Holy Spirit. There are many who have a strong emphasis on teaching the Word of God, but they don't share the view that the gifts of The Holy Spirit are available and valid today. In Calvary Chapel we find the teaching of the Word, and an open heart to the work of The Holy Spirit. It is this balance that makes Calvary Chapel a distinct and uniquely blessed movement of God.

Chuck Smith
(from the preface of Calvary Distinctives)