I’m relaxing in the courtyard at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa [CCCM] in the early morning anticipating another great day at the Senior Pastors Conference [SPC]. This courtyard is a familiar place as I first started spending time here over twenty-five years ago. As I write, there are only a handful of people here and it’s quiet, but in about an hour thousands from all over the world will gather. They will be encouraged, equipped, edified, and prepared to continue to advance God’s kingdom and the Calvary Chapel [CC] Movement.
In the last quarter century I’ve been blessed by amazing teaching from Pastor Chuck and many other gifted Bible teachers and leaders. I have been witness to the expansion of our movement around the globe. From this vantage point I’ve seen our tribe gather from the four corners of the globe to relate, remember and rejoice. And I’ve observed transition. Presumably the greatest transition that the CC Movement encountered was Pastor Chuck’s passing to eternity in October 2013.
Following Chuck’s passing when I came to CCCM in the summer of 2014 for the first SPC, there was a palpable uncertainty. There was a sense of anticipation but also trepidation. And the inescapable question, “What’s going to happen now that Chuck is gone?” There was an understandable yearning to honor the legacy of the charismatic leader of our movement and to secure some sense of closure. And there was also recognition that there was a need to turn the page and move forward to continue the work. For most of the many pastors I spoke with that year it was bittersweet. There was some sorrow that Chuck wasn’t there and would no longer be physically with us to provide the fatherly influence and wisdom that he had imparted from the inception of our movement. Nevertheless, the sweetness greatly outweighed the bitterness. There were several reasons why.
First, there was a collective recognition that our movement was ultimately dependent upon Jesus rather than Pastor Chuck. Chuck was a larger-than-life figure and a great leader, but after his passing we could see the Lord was on His throne and that the church and the CC Movement belonged to Him. Second, we understood that what makes our tribe “our tribe” is a common philosophy of ministry and systematic theology [our DNA]. Thus the passing of our leader did not pose a threat because the DNA had been, and would be, imparted successfully. Life-threatening mutations were not an undue cause for concern because the successful transmission of our DNA was likely to continue. Third, there was an appreciation of our generation integration. There were younger and older gathered together with love, respect and appreciation rather than fear, suspicion and resentment.
Now in 2015 I’m especially grateful and excited for our movement. We have a legacy of over fifty years as a movement. There are leaders who are able to mentor and impart invaluable wisdom to the generation(s) that followed them. I’m truly grateful that I can glean that collective wisdom from the leaders who have laid the foundations of our movement, and I suspect that it would be dangerous for our movement to neglect it.
In addition, I’m excited for our movement. The movement is old enough to be established, young enough to have access to the tribal elders, and fresh enough that the young braves of the tribe are encouraged to engage in the tribe’s business. Presently, I’m observing countless next-generation leaders who have been or are being raised up for the work of ministry. Since these new leaders have a solid foundation created by the leaders before them, this platform creates significant leverage. And finally this leverage creates a great sense of optimism that the best days are ahead for our movement. Thus I rejoice and am grateful for the glorious days of our past and present, but I’m especially excited for our future.