While there are well over a thousand Calvary Chapels around the world today, Calvary Chapel started out in America in 1965 as a single congregation of 25 members in Costa Mesa, California. On the verge of closing down their ailing church, the Lord encouraged them with a prophetic word that He would bless their church, that it would become overcrowded, and that it would become known throughout the world. Although this all seemed highly unlikely at the time, God sent a sweeping revival in the late 1960’s that led to thousands of conversions, baptisms, and the growth of Calvary Chapel.
Under the leading of Pastor Chuck Smith, the church adopted a simple approach of “verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book” Bible teaching. They also began welcoming long-haired hippies and barefooted drug addicts into their services, sharing the love of Christ with them. God’s blessing was upon the small congregation and it began to experience phenomenal growth. As the Holy Spirit began to move, scores of men and women were saved and baptized. In a two year period, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa recorded over 20,000 conversions to Christ, and over 8,000 baptisms!
Since that time many new churches and ministries have been birthed. Today there are Calvary Chapels throughout the world, in countries such as Russia, England, Germany, Brazil, Peru, Ukraine, Japan, Australia, Uganda, Ghana, and New Zealand.