History of Calvary Chapel

In 1965, Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Only twenty-five people attended. From the beginning, Pastor Chuck welcomed all, young and old, without judgement, placing his emphasis on the teaching of the Word of God. His simple, yet sound, biblical approach drew 25,000 people weekly. With a sincere concern for the lost, Pastor Chuck made room in his heart and his home for a generation of hippies and surfers; generating a revival known as "The Jesus Movement" during the 70's. This movement of the Holy Spirit has spread from the West Coast to the East Coast, bringing thousands of young people to Jesus Christ.

As these young people matured so did their passion to go out and share the gospel of salvation. As a result, these young men became teachers, pastors, and evangelists. It wasn't long before Calvary Chapels were established in other cities, then throughout the United States, and now worldwide. These churches were modeled after Chuck Smith's church. While Smith approved them and set the basic theology, he had no interest in starting a new denomination. Pastor Chuck knew that this movement of churches was the work of the Holy Spirit, not his own work or planning. As a result, there was no desire to establish governing entities for this group of churches but rather a submission to the Holy Spirit and following the distinct movements of the Holy Spirit. These distinctives have been the common thread among all Calvary Chapel churches.

On October 3rd, 2013, Pastor Chuck went home to be with Christ Jesus. The ministry that God called Pastor Chuck to begin in 1965 continues strong today by the power of the Holy Spirit, despite the fact that some have decided to take a different path than that which Chuck exhorted us to maintain in his absence. Although Pastor Chuck is no longer with us, his resources and teachings are still available as well as his belief that Calvary Chapel should always be a movement by the Holy Spirit and not man.