"I am saddened by the amount of problems that seem to be mounting within the organization"

March, 2006
By a former member of Calvary Chapel

I stumbled across your Web site while searching for problems within Calvary Chapel on the Internet.

I must say that I am saddened by the amount of problems that seem to be mounting within the organization and how its once "come as you are" approach is quickly crumbling away.

I attended a Calvary Chapel for about 7 years. During the early years I experienced more growth and knowledge than I had ever before in my walk with Christ. I had been saved from an early age, but I had just come out of marijuana use and the "partying" lifestyle that I had gotten involved in for a few years and CC welcomed me and taught me much about grace, forgiveness and the love of Christ for me. I was renewed.

During the 7 years of my attendance, my wife and I had volunteered to clean the church, including the toilets, taught Sunday School, and I was on the worship team for almost the entire 7 years.

It was after the heads of the church fired the original Pastor (after it was revealed that he and his wife were having marital problems which included major verbal assaults and outbursts at home) that the problems began to really come to the surface.

After a period of interim leadership at the pulpit by capable members of the "staff", a new Pastor was found.

When he came in, we were all looking forward to finally having a solid, full-time Pastor once more. He had been in missions in Japan, he had attended seminary in California and was brought up in the CC system and all that. Looked like he'd be a good fit.

Boy, was I wrong.

After a period of nearly TWO YEARS of giving this guy a chance to fuse with the congregation and become the leader that we so desperately needed. I continued to play on the worship team for this period and even adhered to his strange policy of required reading (all "leadership" positions were REQUIRED to read Chuck Smith's "A Man God Uses"), and wanted to adhere to the requirement that a "leader" must attend more than one Bible study a week (Sunday service could count as one), but due to my job, and my wife's bad health, I was not able to quite meet his expectations on that one.

In the last few months of my attendance there, he systematically pulled everything out from under me.

First, he called a meeting for the worship team. It was there that he informed me and the others on the team that he felt that God was leading him to make some changes. The one that would affect us is that his son was to do the worship there. A little unsure of what I was hearing, I asked him to clarify "Are you saying that he'll be leading worship, or that he will BE the worship service?" To which he confirmed it was the latter.

At first I thought, "Hmm. OK, maybe God has a different plan than one that involves me on the worship team. I'll wait on the Lord and see what transpires/" It was only a few weeks later that I came in one Sunday and saw some new guy up there with a guitar, singing bluesy/folk-y like worship tunes and I thought, "Oooo-K...what's this al l about?" Another two or three weeks went by and I came in and saw the old worship team up there (minus myself) doing worship! When I confronted one of the guys about it after service, he said..."Yeah, I talked to "new keyboardist" about having you play with us, but when I did, she looked totally nervous, like a deer caught in headlights, and said she wasn't comfortable with it." I was flabbergasted. This lady was someone who I thought LIKED me. I had taught her kids in Sunday School and THEY liked me.

Well, obviously the whole "My son is going to do worship" was not really working out. As it seemed to go from the old guy with the guitar and the reformed worship team from week to week. I even had other members of the congregation telling me that they didn't understand what was going on and trying to encourage m e that things will get better.

The church had planned to move soon, to Leawood, an upper-class neighborhood where people own BMW's, Mercedes and Town Cars and go to big, fancy church buildings. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that, but a little back story is necessary here.

When the new Pastor first came to KC from Joplin, MO., he had expressed great interest in bringing the gospel to the punk, emo and hardcore kids down near the Westport area of town. He had talked about getting some concerts going and emphasizing the youth movement to grow the church and reach out to the next generation.

Well, 2 1/2 years later, I guess that's all changed. Now, he's moved on up to the ritzy part of town where the over 40 crowd reside and live in big cookie cutter subdivisions and homeowner associations and gated communities. My...how things change.

What finally did it for me was when an old friend, who had been on the worship team years ago with me before he and his family moved to St. Louis, came by on our last weekend at the old building. His father, was wanting to get some of the chairs from the congregation for use in their own homeless ministry out in St. Louis. His father, had paid for the chairs, the PA System, the carpet, and much of the building materials and labor for the renovation of the building we were in. Well, now that he wanted just a little bit of it back (the chairs)...he had to PAY for them. (!!!)

I couldn't believe it! This man, who gave so much of what he worked hard to help build up this church, now had to pay for it AGAIN? Unbelievable.

That sealed the deal for me. Up until then, I had tossed the idea of following that church into Leawood an d prayed about it, weighed it out in my mind, etc., and now , I KNEW I had to leave.

Since then, I do see some of the friends I still have out there from time to time around town. Many of them have stopped going themselves, or have openly expressed their desire to find another body of believers that more resembles the one we knew so long ago when we were just Christians trying to study the Word and have worship & fellowship with one another.

It seems to me, upon further research, that Calvary Chapel as a whole, is growing further and further away from their original principals and closer and closer to being just another denominational/legalistic organized religion. That's very sad. Part of the reason I think this happens is because there is no accountability in CC. The pastor's word is the final say and no one is to question him, or else they get released from their service at the church and shunned until they no longer feel welcome there. That's how it works at the one here in KC.

Anyway, thanks for the information and please remember me in prayer. My wife and I will be moving away from Kansas City soon and are hoping to find a good church again.

God Bless.

"And you, who in the past were cut off and at war with God in your minds through evil works, He has now made one In the body of His flesh through death, so that you might be holy & blameless and free from all evil before Him." -- Colossians 1:21-22

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