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700 Club Church of the Week
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The Big Tent Revival Church

By Tim Branson
The 700 Club

CBN.comA big tent in a field.  Revival.  Jesus people.

The 1960s right? Wrong. It’s 2007 and things are as exciting now at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa as they were in 1965. That’s the year pastor Chuck Smith and his wife, Cathy, began an outreach to hippies that became known as the "Jesus Movement”. The ministry exploded as the “love generation” came to know the love of Christ.

“They had these communal houses all over the area here, and so we opened a communal house and invited the young people,” Pastor Chuck says. “Well, the first week we had 35 young people accept the Lord and move into the house and it just went from there and just to where thousands of young people came through.”

Donna was one of those hippies. She’s been at Calvary Chapel ever since.

“I went to a few other churches where they kind of just asked us to leave because we were just hippies,” Donna says. “So when we first went to Pastor Chuck and we went into that church, he opened his arms up to us. And he said, ‘Come.’ You know that we were just accepted and loved and with no judgment.”

Thousands accepted Christ and the church desperately needed more space. They erected a tent to hold their services while they built a larger sanctuary.

“There’s just something about a tent that people feel a togetherness. There’s sort of an informality and it sort of draws people, I think, together,” the pastor says.

And recently, history repeated itself. With over thirty-five thousand members and growing, Calvary Chapel once again needed to expand.

“We thought, ‘Let’s make it a positive, you know. Let’s call it the big tent revival and go back to the tent days.’ And it’s had the same kind of excitement and enthusiasm that we had 35 years ago when we were in the tent,” Pastor Chuck says.

For your commitment and creativity in bringing the message of Christ to the world, we salute Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa - America’s Church of the Week.

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