Calvary Chapel

Learn more about the Calvary Chapel Movement

The Calvary Chapel Movement

Our History

The Calvary Chapel Movement was founded by Pastor Chuck Smith in 1965 in Costa Mesa, California. The "Hippie Movement" was in full swing in Southern California so he broke convention and took the Gospel message to the hearts of the youth in the counter-culture; hippies, drug addicts, and those not accepted by the other churches of the day. Pastor Chuck saw an amazing transformation of delinquents and aimless young people into individuals on fire for God. As they grew in the Lord, he saw the need to plant other churches and knew that God wanted to use these "on fire" young people to be the new leaders.


The Calvary Chapel Movement broke many traditions, creating a very relaxed atmosphere of worship. Fifty years later, with well over 1000 affiliate churches ministering to approximately 400,000 people.


Calvary Chapel is best known for our strong emphasis on the teaching of God's Word and the application of the Word to every day life. Our philosophy is to teach through the Word of God systematically. We feel this is far more productive, and allows the full counsel of God's Word to work in the hearts of the people so we abide with this style of teaching. With few exceptions, we start a book of the Bible and continue verse-by-verse until we finish the book.