The history here at Harbor Calvary Chapel is much shorter than that of the whole Calvary Chapel movement (which you can read below) for we have only been in existence since September 2002. The Calvary Chapel movement has been growing since the late 60's and is continuing here in Grays Harbor. Pastor Sean was the youth pastor at Calvary Chapel of Olympia for 7 years when the Lord laid on his heart to consider starting a Calvary in Grays Harbor County (Aberdeen/Hoquiam). Since his wife (Erica) grew-up in Hoquiam and her parents still live there, the Hollens were fairly familiar with the area and its spiritual needs. They began praying that God would raise up a Calvary Chapel and fill the spiritual void of teaching through the Word of God that was lacking.
After about a year of them praying, Pastor Chuck Lind (CC Olympia) mentioned the need to start a Calvary Chapel in Aberdeen. It was about that time when the Lord started saying to Sean, "Why don't you start it?" That was not exactly what he wanted to hear because he was comfortable where he was in life. The youth ministry was going great, there was financial security, his wife and three boys (Seth, Drew & Micah) had good friends, why let this all go and start over?
However, the burden of the area kept growing in his heart and when someone would talk about the Aberdeen/Hoquiam area his heart would jump. Erica had also felt the burden and every time they went through the area to visit her parents it grew stronger - so much so that Sean finally went into Pastor Chuck's office and told him what was on his heart. With more emotion than he anticipated, Sean told Chuck that he and his wife desired to start a Calvary Chapel in the Grays Harbor area if he and the board sent them out. Needless to say, Chuck was delighted and the burden was lifted from Sean and there was a feeling of great joy.
Chuck discussed this with his church board and they were all very excited about it as well. However, Chuck wanted to wait a little while and pray about the timing. Sean kept praying and decided not to bring it up again until God put it on Chuck's heart to do so. About a year later, September of 2001, Chuck asked Sean if he was still interested. He was and that is an understatement. So in January 2002, Sean started a Bible Study at Harbor High School (an alternative HS in the area) on Sunday nights at 6 p.m. The purpose of this study was to see if it would grow and if there was enough interest in the Harbor. Attendance ranged anywhere from 10 to 18 adults.
The Hollens then took a step of faith in April by putting their house in Olympia on the market at the highest price they could - to the dismay of the realtor. The next day people were looking at the house and within 32 hours the house was sold! The Hollens learned that when God wants to move one needs to sit down, put on their seat belt and hang on.
Now regardless of attendance they were committed to starting a Calvary Chapel in Grays Harbor. They proceeded to buy a house and moved to Hoquiam on Memorial Day weekend, 2002. Sean stayed on at CC Olympia until August while waiting for his replacement to take over.
Then on September of 2002 they started their Sunday morning service at 10 a.m. with about 20 people. They were still meeting at Harbor High School in Aberdeen till September 4, 2005, where things grew dramatically. On the 11th of September 2005 God Blessed us with a building in downtown Aberdeen. The members of the Harbor Calvary Chapel had their work cut out as they had to totally remodel the premises to make it habitable. God is truly adding to His church by His might and His power!
The Calvary Chapel Movement History
Calvary Chapel began in the late 1960's in one small, non-denominational church. Pastor Chuck Smith, who had spent 17 years in churches throughout California and Arizona, became the pastor of a church in Costa Mesa, California which called itself Calvary Chapel. Through his many years of pastoring, Pastor Chuck became convinced that a new approach to ministry was needed. Rather than preaching a "topical" message every Sunday, he began to teach line-by-line through the Word of God, starting at Genesis (the first book in the Old Testament) and working his way through to Revelation (the last book in the New Testament).
Within two years the small church in Costa Mesa had grown so dramatically that there was no longer room in the church to hold all the people. At about the same time, Pastor Chuck's wife Kay began to feel that they needed to reach out to the "hippies" of that era. They eventually made the decision to open their home and their church to these young people, teaching the revelation of God's love for them through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus. Pastor Chuck became the founder of what was known as the "Jesus Movement," witnessing God's miraculous power as the Lord dramatically transformed the lives of these young people. The Calvary Chapel saga had begun.
Today, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa is home to some 30,000 believers. The Word for Today (Pastor Chuck's radio ministry) is heard throughout the United States and publishes study books and tapes that are distributed throughout the world. KWAVE, Calvary Chapel's radio station, broadcasts God's Word to all of Southern California. Calvary Chapel's Bible College provides Biblically based education to thousands at its home campus in Murietta, California and to over 20 extension campuses worldwide. God has truly done a mighty work!
Want to learn more about the "Jesus People" and the beginnings of Calvary Chapel? Visit www.one-way.org
Watch "A Venture in Faith", a movie about the beginnings of the Calvary Chapel Movement.