Divine Appointments—Calvary Chapel San Juan Capistrano, CA, Ministers in an Outlet Mall Parking Lot
Story by Mark Meizner
Photos by Mark Meizner and Sean Muro
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2
In the face of COVID-19 and governmental oversight, the needs of the church are being addressed in a unique and unusual manner. Senior Pastor John Randall and the leadership of Calvary Chapel San Juan Capistrano (CCSJC) sensed that the Lord was drawing them to meet the needs of people more personally than with “church online.” Christians were missing the gathering of the family of God to worship Him together, to hear the Word of God face to face, to be encouraged, to be prayed for and prayed with—in person.
After the church leadership prayed and wrestled with options, the Lord opened a door. A meaningful relationship with the outlet mall business executives was formed. The church was welcomed to hold Sunday and mid-week services in their large parking lot. Visitors have expressed their thankfulness that CCSJC is boldly teaching God’s Word in a time of great need.
Families come together as the body of Christ to worship the Lord.
Over the last 13 weeks, surprisingly positive results have occurred at the outlet mall among its employees, and others who were seeking truth and fellowship. There have been families traveling from as far as Ventura to the north, Riverside to the east, and Ensenada, Mexico, to the south, driving to the services on a regular basis.
Numbers continue to rise from the launch in March with 300-400 cars, surpassing 800 cars just 13 weeks later. Workers in mall shops and restaurants expressed that the services on-site bring them hope, and the general manager of the mall asked for services to continue after the pandemic subsides. Pastor John stated, “All the glory goes to the Lord and the moving of His Spirit in touching hearts. Many new decisions for dedication and rededication to Christ have been made at the parking lot.”
Pastor John Randall teaches the Word of God verse by verse at the outlet mall.
Many commented on social media that the service is essential to their spiritual lives. One family said: “We are currently living in Ensenada, Mexico, and we have no churches around us. Our former church is not meeting in person. We are driving four hours to be at the service.” Another commented, “Every Sunday and Wednesday at the Outlets has been AMAZING! Even in cars or lawn chairs, it feels like church. So glad we can meet in person! God is doing something great here! Revival is in the air.”
Pastor John and the staff are grateful for the opportunities the Lord has provided. Now in addition to meeting on Sundays at the outlets, they meet in their building on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, and recently held a VBS for 135 children with 60 volunteers.
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul. Acts 4:32a
CC San Juan Capistrano
CC San Juan Capistrano, CA, meets for their first Wednesday night service in March.
Pastor John’s wife, Michelle Randall (right), encourages others in Christ after the parking lot service.
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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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