Chuck Smith (pastor)

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Charles Ward “Chuck” Smith, (born June 25, 1927), is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. He is widely credited as founding Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, though he was the second pastor. Smith was born in Ventura, California to Charles and Maude Smith. His wife, Kay, directs Costa Mesa's women's ministry. Smith's four children currently do or have worked in the ministry.


Early career

Smith graduated from LIFE Bible College and was ordained as a pastor for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. In the late '50s Smith was the campaign manager and worship director for healing evangelist Paul Cain. After being a pastor for a different denomination, he left his denomination to pastor a non-denominational church plant in Corona, California and eventually moved to a church called Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California in December 1965. It was the only church on Church Street in Costa Mesa. The church had been planted by Pastor Floyd Nelson as a ministry to shut-in's begun with a small group of people in a mobile home park populated mainly by senior citizens in 1962.[citation needed] From there they moved to a Girl Scout building and eventually to Church Street which is where the church was meeting when Chuck Smith was hired as the "pulpit pastor."

Calvary Chapel

In March 1968, Smith brought into his home pentecostal evangelist Lonnie Frisbee with his wife Connie. Lonnie was 18 years old. Chuck Smith paired him up with John Higgins who already had a Bible study going for youth and they started a Christian commune called "The House of Miracles." John and Lonnie went out into community to reach the youth with the gospel during the early days of the Jesus movement.

The church in Santa Ana grew, and as of 2006, 35,000 people attend. Over 1,000 churches have branched out from his church. Some of these churches are led by those whom Smith discipled including: Greg Laurie, Jon Courson, Mike MacIntosh, Joe Focht, Raul Ries, Xavier Ries, Skip Heitzig, Bil Gallatin and Malcolm Wild.

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