Five days after the death of Chuck Smith, the hippie-loving founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, son-in-law Brian Brodersen became the next senior pastor at the movement's flagship congregation in Costa Mesa.
In his first major interview as senior pastor in Costa Mesa, Brodersen says his relationship with Smith goes back to the early days of the Calvary Chapel movement, when Brodersen was a new disciple and manager of a surf shop. That's when Smith invited him to minister as an intern, and within a few years Brodersen became pastor of Calvary Chapel in San Diego.
In the last half century, Calvary Chapel has grown from a single Bible study to a worldwide fellowship of more than 1,500 churches and ministries, yet not without its problems. In a 2007 CT interview, one pastor said of Calvary Chapel, "The Titanic has hit the iceberg. But the music is still playing." Calvary Chapel is, however, still afloat, and has survived not just growing pains, but also allegations of pastoral misconduct, lawsuits, and scandals.
In a historic transition in 2012, Calvary Chapel officially established an association with a 21-member leadership council, which now guides the worldwide organization Chuck Smith fostered. In December, CT's senior editor, global journalism, Timothy C. Morgan interviewed pastor Brodersen.
Did you ever imagine someday filling the shoes of the Calvary Chapel founder?
I grew up in Southern California surf culture with a Roman Catholic upbringing. I did not come to faith through Chuck or his ministry. I came to faith through an encounter with the Lord in my room one night. Knowing the reputation of Calvary Chapel, I plugged in.
I met my wife Cheryl, Chuck's daughter, and we married. ...