2011 Mount Hermon Q&A

by ccdsmin

In 2011 I was honored to participate on a Q&A panel at a pastors conference in Mount Hermon, Northern California. My pastor Chuck Smith, a good friend David Guzik, and myself fielded questions through the moderator, John Snoderly. Recently, I listened to the Q&A ten years later, and it struck me that the questions are as relevant today as they were then. I’m posting the audio in hopes that it might help a pastor or two. At the close of the Q&A, David and I were able to pray for our pastor and his wife. An opportunity I’ll always cherish. – Sandy Adams

Calvary Chapel in the Deep South

by cca

Listen to a podcast featuring Pastor Sandy regarding Calvary Chapel in the Deep South with Pastor Anthony Rea of Living Water Christian Fellowship in Dothan, AL.

Listen to a podcast featuring Pastor Sandy regarding Calvary Chapel in the Deep South with Pastor Anthony Rea of Living Water Christian Fellowship in Dothan, AL.

An Encouragement from Pastor Sandy to our Calvary Chapel Family

by cca

Calvary Chapel pastors are different.

Calvary Chapel pastors are the same.

And both statements are true. To prove my point just look at how we’re all reacting to the coronavirus…

On Sunday, March 15th our Calvary Chapel did online services. We decided to cooperate with the CDC and our governor to address what we considered a public health crisis.

That same Sunday a well-respected pastor in another part of the country told his Calvary Chapel they weren’t going to succumb to fear. His Calvary Chapel was open for worship! The implication was that those who went online had succumbed.

The week after, I saw where another Calvary Chapel pastor (again, one I highly respect) posted to the internet that the coronavirus was a leftist plot to take down our President.

A day later I was speaking to a fourth Calvary Chapel pastor who referred to the coronavirus as an apocalyptic plague – a judgment from God and a sure sign of the end times.

It might have been an hour later when I read an insightful article posted by another Calvary Chapel pastor that insisted the coronavirus was God’s way of removing our idols of sports and entertainment, and reminding the church that He is all that matters.

And still another pastor I know suggested that his Calvary Chapel’s forced online services might be creating in His people a deeper gratitude for their more normal worship times that they’ve long been taking for granted.

It was amazing, I wasn’t listening to different news channels, or to blogging pastors from different denominations. I was tuned to Calvary Chapel pastors only, and the result was six very different explanations for the same crisis.

Calvary Chapel is a group of pastors who hold to a set of distinctives. We consider them non-negotiable. I like this about us. I know where you stand and you know where I stand. And people who leave my Calvary Chapel and come to yours are not shocked by surprises. We agree on verse by verse teaching, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a balanced theology, servant leadership, an emphasis on God’s grace, and the pre-Trib rapture of the Church. These are principles that color us all with one brush. But on other subjects, like the coronavirus, we think differently and often radically so.

Calvary Chapel is not a monolithic movement. We share a set of commonalities, but we enjoy great freedom to think according to our own conscience and convictions. Sometimes we agree. Sometimes not so much. But I for one, appreciate the fact that we are free to be different. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Find two people who always hold the same opinion, and you know that one of them is not thinking.”

As a Calvary Chapel pastor I expect my fellow pastors to be committed to the distinctives that have always characterized us as a movement. But just as importantly, I also expect you to think for yourself. Protestants have always held high the priesthood of the believer. You don’t lead me, and I don’t lead you. Jesus is our great High Priest, and it’s His desire to lead both you and me by His Holy Spirit. And what tests our belief in that doctrine is when our thoughts differ, and divergent opinions form. Do we respect or reject each other? A Scripture verse comes to mind, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

The coronavirus has upset our world and retooled our ministry the last few weeks. But it’s also got me thinking… six different explanations of the same crisis; and yet as I thought it through I saw some truth in each perspective. It reminded me that I’m happy to be part of a family of pastors made up of very diverse and colorful characters who think alike on vital points, but who see other things very differently. There’s another old saying, “Find two people who think alike on everything, and one of them is unnecessary.”

And there’s one more reason why this observation is so important. In the Bible the anointing of God’s Spirit isn’t restricted to the orthodox. God once spoke through a soothsayer named Balaam. Neither does the Holy Spirit limit His power to only the pure. Samson is the poster boy for a compromised vessel who was used mightily by God. But it seems to me that what the Spirit of God most often anoints is authenticity and sincerity. He chooses men with conviction, not who parrot the party line.

This is why I admire men who face a crisis, drop to their knees, and seek the will of God for their church, and then do what they’ve been told. This is the type of man people want to lead them, not a person who checks his inbox or calls human headquarters for instructions.

Pastor, here’s my encouragement for you in light of the coronavirus (as well as any other crisis). We may be moving into uncharted waters that none of us have ever navigated. Seek God for what He wants you and your church to be about in this time. Be wise, but climb your prayer mountain and don’t come down without a word from Him. Then when you get it, do it!

Pastor Sandy Adams

Things I’ve Learned In The Ministry

by cca

Pastor Mark KirkWhen most of us hear the call to go out and start a work for God He deals with most of us the same way He did Abraham.  That is He doesn’t give all of the details at the beginning He simply says go!  Why not give us more details?  First of all I think it’s because He wants us to learn to trust Him a step at a time that we might grow in our faith.  But secondly I believe if God showed us all the details at the beginning some of us might be tempted to ignore the call altogether!  Why?  Because although serving in the ministry is an honor and greatly rewarding, it can also be very difficult with many tests and trials along the way.  Hence if God showed us everything we would face at the beginning we may not have the maturity or commitment to make it to the end.  So what would be my encouragement to you when stepping out to answer the call of God?  I will list several things below that have been helpful to me.


  1. First of all keep your priorities straight.
  • It must be God, then family, then the ministry. And although this sounds obvious and most of us would say that is how we have our lives ordered, the realty is when things get busy it is very easy to get these priorities mixed up.  And if you do, rest assured it will come back to haunt you at some point.  Especially with your wife and kids!
  1. Secondly guard your expectations.
  • I am not saying you shouldn’t be a man of faith or vision, but if you have expectations that are different from God’s in scope or timing you will be greatly discouraged when things don’t happen the way “you” envisioned. For example how quickly your study will grow and how big it will one day be.  My advice would be to have no specific expectations in these areas and simply do your best to obey your call.  Then leave the details up to God.  This will guard you from being discouraged due to misplaced expectations, and it will also make it that much more exciting when God does something you didn’t expect!
  1. Commit for the long haul and know it will not be easy.
  • If you know God has called you to go and told you where to go, then mentally commit for the long haul and regardless of how hard it gets. God never said it would be easy so don’t expect it to be.  This doesn’t mean there will not be exciting times.  But there will also be great tests and trials.  And only a long-term commitment will see you through.
  1. Avoid the temptation to appeal to people’s flesh.
  • All true pastors want their church to be alive and active in the things of the Lord, but sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that simply activity or fleshly generated excitement will do the trick. But we need to realize that this mindset is indeed a trick!  The only fruitful activity a church can have is what the Holy Spirit leads.  Hence guard yourself from being tempted to have a little less of the Word and a little bit more excitement.  A healthy church can have both.  That is we must continue to teach through the whole Bible so we end up with whole Christians, but as God leads we can also have fun in our ministries, outreach, and events.  Just make sure you don’t leave the most important thing behind.  Stay true to teaching the Word from cover to cover.  God’s Word is the only way believers can truly grow, and it’s the only thing that will raise up mature disciples.
  1. Don’t be too quick to appoint leadership.
  • As time goes by and the church grows there can be a temptation to quickly appoint leadership. The problem is if you don’t have time to truly evaluate the people you have you may put the wrong person in place.  And trust me, it is a lot easier to put people in leadership than to remove them!  Give time for a person to first be proven and you will avoid a lot of heartache.
  1. Let God lead you and not the people.
  • You will soon find that most everyone has an opinion as to how the ministry should be done and even what they thinks you should do. Regardless of what God has said!  Listen only to God!  God has called you and you are His under shepherd of that flock.  Not them.  God needs leaders, not hirelings.
  1. Don’t be afraid to take steps of faith.
  • This one sounds obvious but we must never forget that the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God. And that means we should be men who are not afraid to take a venture of faith.  That doesn’t mean we blinded push our will and try to build our own personal kingdom.  But it does mean that as we pray and feel led of the Lord we must not be afraid to step out of the boat and into the water from time to time.  You never know what God has planned until you step out.  And who knows how many of us have missed great things that God had planned for us or our congregations because we never stepped out to see.
  1. Spend time with your staff or ministry leaders.
  • One of the early mistakes I made was thinking my staff and leadership would be mature enough to stay on target without frequent meetings. But what I found was that even if they are mature, your staff and elders need “regular” and “frequent” meetings in order to keep relationships strong and loyal.  Because I didn’t do this at the first I had some that I trusted be disloyal and turn against me.  And while I am not making excuses for their sin, I also realized that I was partly to blame for not cultivating and maintaining good relationships.  And this gave opportunity for the enemy to get in.  I now meet with my staff at least once a week and my elders monthly.  Since making this change I had not had another incident.  Hence I strongly encourage you have regular meetings and contact with all your leadership.

I hope you find some of these ministry lessons helpful as you step out on your own in ministry.  And I also hope you can learn from some of my mistakes over the years.  But mostly I want you to know that although there have been many ups and downs over the years in the ministry I have seen God be faithful in all regards.  So be encouraged, trust the Lord, and get going!  Our time is short down here.  So let’s let our motto come from the words of Jesus Himself Who said, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”  It’s time for us to get busy and be about our Father’s business!