For the Hurting Who Have Left Calvary Chapel
by Chris Lawson (November 15, 2012)
For the hurting who have left Calvary Chapel, I write because of the constant flow of e-mails and phone calls we are receiving, and have been receiving for at least six years now.
The amount of people leaving Calvary Chapel fellowships is simply incredible, and extremely sad. Many leaders at the top (Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and Calvary Chapel Association of Ministries, formerly Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships) could fix the problems but are not effectively doing so. I and numerous others (leaders/ministries) have together spent thousands of hours helping an endless flow of hurting individuals and families who have left because of spiritual abuse issues - all stemming from Calvary Chapel's "Pastor led Moses/Aaron style of leadership." Simply put, this is an imbalanced leadership style not found anywhere in the New Testament.
If you have left a Calvary Chapel, remember, there is hope and life outside of the "Moses/Aaron" style leadership system. If you have been needlessly ostracized for leaving a Calvary Chapel church or for confronting leadership that won't change or listen to reproof, you are not alone. The Lord sees what is going on, and according to the Word of God, it grieves the Lord and He will humble those who refuse to listen (Jer. 6:17-18). For the hurting - it takes time for the pain to subside and if you are going through the emotional roller-coaster ride, be careful that you do not make rash and hasty decisions. Read your Bible, spend time in prayer, and ask God for wisdom and peace in order to forgive the abusers. Many of the Calvary Chapel leaders have simply never had balanced "biblical eldership" taught to them or shown to them practically. Many do not even have a clue what they are doing or wrongly implementing.
There are godly leaders of course, but it is the abusive and unrepentant bad ones that are creating a nightmare for the good ones. Remember, any "system" that is secular or spiritual and that revolves around one main charismatic leader at-the-top (pyramid) is by its very nature an abusive model. Again, it is more than likely that those involved don't even see what is happening. Be careful not to overburden your heart and mind if they will not listen. Also, pray that God either humbles them or moves them out of leadership altogether so that balanced, godly and humble men can take their place. I have written much more on this issue and spent hundreds of hours making phone calls, writing e-mails and doing various other things to try to address these issues with big-name Calvary Chapel leaders - but no one will listen or give me the time of day. Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships ministry won't listen to other research ministries either. So what are we all to do?
I do hope this helps a bit to alleviate your pain and sorrow and to let you know that you are not alone.
Lastly, I personally know Calvary Chapel pastors who share our concerns, but they either remain silent, or refuse to address the issues with Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships (now Calvary Chapel Association of Ministries) for fear of losing their pastorate. We wait for Pastor Chuck Smith and others to do something, but office staff at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa cannot even reply to our hand signed certified letter and Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships, Inc. will not even respond to multiple requests, even pleadings on the telephone.
Read more at Calvary Chapel Alert