How’s that working?
It’s not…in fact according to sources, the organization doesn’t officially exist.
The non-profit paperwork has yet to be filed.
The reality of the matter is that Calvary Chapel is in a state of conflict and chaos at the top level and that conflict and chaos is the purposeful creation of it’s founder as he refuses to let go of his throne.
The portrait of Chuck Smith presented to the public has always been one of the smiling, warm, pastoral, Pastor Chuck…the one seen behind the scenes has often been one of a jealous, hot tempered patriarch who manipulates people to keep hold of both his power and the huge assets generated by Calvary Chapel.
His greatest power comes from his ability to use the emotional attachments that young men without fathers developed with him, even though those young men are now in their fifties and sixties.
He uses the threat of rejection to quash any disagreement….and it has worked with clock like efficiency through the years.
Another technique he has mastered over the years, is to let all sides of a conflict believe they have his imprimatur and watch them fight it out as he does what he pleases.
In this instance he has given his approval to the creation of the new organization…while telling traditionalists opposed to it that in reality he is with them.
He was telling the traditionalists the truth…in fact he brought back brother Paul to construct a “hit list” of dove holders he wants expunged from the movement.
They won’t be expunged for moral or ethical reasons, but for thinking outside the “distinctives” or speaking out of turn at all.
This follows on the heels of an email blast sent out to all the senior pastors informing them that if they criticize the movement on blogs they can basically get out and stay out.
He has facilitated the transfer of the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Corporation (and it’s massive assets)… to his son Jeff, not to Brian Broderson., his supposed successor and son-in-law whom he allegedly undercuts at every turn.
They do not paint a portrait of an eminent churchman…
I have written on these pages before that upon Smiths departure that the remaining movement would fracture…it’s already happening.
Certain groups of pastors within the movement have been discussing a wholesale departure from the current set up as they had no say in either the direction of the movement or the overseers placed over them.
Long time pastors are essentially being treated as wet behind the ears assistants as the “Moses Model” evidently has different levels of “Moses”.
Others have been frustrated by Smith’s duplicity and are weary of the process.
When Smith does leave, he will leave the financial assets securely in family hands…and the rest of the movement in shambles.
This isn’t the legacy of “servant leader “or a “pastor of pastors”…but of a self absorbed businessman looking out for himself and his family alone.
Why should I bother writing this when I know how much heat it will generate for me?
Because an organization will always reflect the values of it’s leader.
While I truly believe that the majority of Calvary Chapel pastors bought into a vision of ministry that was originally pure in it’s intention, too many others have followed Smith’s template for unchecked and unaccountable power and self enrichment at the cost of the Gospel and the name of Christ.
For too many years the mythology surrounding Chuck Smith has prevented an honest assessment of his ministry and methodology…and the negative aspects of both have been replicated far and wide.
Good men have suffered from guilt by association and bad men have remained unaccountable as a result.
True servant leadership that cared for the needs of the next generation of leaders would help provide ordered succession and clear guidance for those involved in the process.
Smith is running out of time to live up to his legend…and to prove he cares about what happens to Calvary Chapel when he’s gone.
He’s already taken good care of himself and his own family.