Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Baptizes 1,000

Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Baptizes 1,000 Believers

Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Baptizes 1,000 Believers in Southern California

Story and photos by Tom Price

Onlookers crowded the rocky cliffs of Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, in Southern California, as over 1,000 believers anxiously awaited a turn to make a public profession of Christian faith through baptism, which Jesus Christ received before beginning His three-year public ministry.

On Saturday, September 12, Senior Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills (CCCH) led a team of a dozen pastors and elders to assist in immersing believers into the chilly Pacific waters in an inlet also known as Pirate’s Cove. Jack described what God is doing with the church at this hour as “our chance to be a part of history with the Lord.” He quoted from memory Jesus’ words in Revelation 3:8: “I have set before you an open door that no man can shut.” Jack went on to explain, “As a shepherd, I have no authority to close the doors of His church, but rather to feed His people [the Word of God].”

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Pastor Jack speaks to massive amount of people at beach

Pastor Jack Hibbs, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills (CCCH), CA, shares the hope of the Gospel with onlookers, explaining what baptism means. Over 1,000 believers, mostly from CCCH, were baptized on Saturday, September 12, at Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach, CA. However, many onlookers decided to be baptized as well, once they heard Jack’s explanation of the importance of baptism to a Christian.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Jack and the other CCCH pastors saw people gripped with fear, confusion, and hopelessness, losing the sense of community they received from being a part of a body of believers. Since CCCH reopened in May, many new believers—and those who had attended elsewhere—began coming. Corey and Kelly Martens are making a regular Sunday morning, 45-minute commute to CCCH since their church had not reopened. “We love the teaching here,” Kelly declared. “Our children have really become involved in the youth program, and all of us want to stay. It is an exciting time to be part of what the Lord is doing, and it feels like home already!”

Saturday’s scene on the beach was reminiscent of the early days of Calvary Chapel and the beginning of the Jesus Movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Pastor Chuck Smith, the founder of Calvary Chapel, would baptize new believers in the exact same location. Many of those young people baptized back then became pastors and church leaders, planting the 1,800 churches affiliated with Calvary Chapel today.

Lots of people at beach

The beach was crowded with people coming to be baptized, church family, and onlookers.

After reading about the baptisms, Eric Baber drove his entire family over 1,000 miles from Englewood, CO, to Southern California to have his three young children baptized here. He and his wife had attended Calvary Chapel Chino Hills until the U.S. Air Force relocated him to Colorado. The Babers were among one of the early groups to be baptized soon after the event began at 8:30 a.m. Groups were asked to come at three different times in order to facilitate parking at Corona Del Mar State Park, which is overcrowded on any weekend.

In Calvary Chapel, believers are encouraged to be baptized at an age when they understand the choice and the commitment they are making. It is not a requirement for salvation, as the thief on the cross was told by Jesus that he would be with the Savior in paradise that day without being baptized. It is rather a command to make a public confession of one’s faith that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, believing that He rose from the dead and is alive today. Baptism is a picture of what happened at the moment one receives Jesus Christ as their Savior. Symbolically, going under the water is like the “old man dying” and coming up as a “new creature, alive in Christ.”

People gathered for baptisms

Jack, in blue shirt, uses a megaphone to organize believers as they come to the water to be baptized.

Jack added, “God is depositing hope in the heart of His people.” He reminds people to recall when the disciples fished all night, not catching anything. After Jesus told them to let their nets down on the other side of the boat, their nets were straining to bring in such a large haul of fish. “That is what we are experiencing. Our nets are not big enough to bring in the catch—all the new people beginning to come.” CCCH is adding services to accommodate those who are coming, many recovering from isolation since the lockdown began in March.

The challenge, as Jack sees it, is the choice of whether to be a part of this awakening as it unfolds. “If you do, you have to get out of the boat and into the water, because the Lord is moving.”


Pastor jack and lady and people in back

A young woman reacts joyfully after coming up from the waters of baptism.


People in water

Over a dozen pastors and elders from CCCH were part of the baptizing team.


Young lady with hands up in victory

Pastor Shadrach Means (right) exalts along with a young woman he just baptized.


Ladies comfort one another

A group of friends praise the Lord together after being baptized.


Family enjoys special moment

Many friends were baptized and gave thanks to the Lord together afterwards.


Dad and daughter hug

For most people it was an intimate moment as they professed that they surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.


Pastor Jack baptizes young girl

Joy was the emotion many had after coming up from the water.


Jack Hibbs and a family smile for camera

Eric Baber drove his family of three kids and his wife to the baptism from Englewood, CO, 1000 miles of driving, in order for his children to be baptized by Jack. Eric attended CCCH before the military moved him to Colorado. He and his kids pose for a photo with his pastor.


Lady stoked on Jesus

A young woman reacts with a big smile after being baptized.


Men baptize kids with boat in background and kids jumping off rocks

Each pastor or elder took the time to be sure each person understood what they were about to do in being baptized.


Lady happy after baptism

A woman leaves the water wearing a big smile after being baptized.


Lady congrats young man

Many family members were emotional after witnessing their loved ones profess their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.


Ladies get baptized with Hibbs in back

Two young women happily leave after being baptized by Jack.


People take selfie

Many people had their photos taken by family members to remember the day.


Jack Hibbs and men praying together on beach

Pastors, elders, and leaders came together at the end of the event to praise the Lord for all he had done throughout the day.


Two friends hug

Many best friends and family members opted to be baptized together and celebrated becoming a new person in Christ.


Pastor Jack baptizing people and kids jumping off rocks

As the event went into midday, more beach goers ventured over to watch what was going on. In the background, teens enjoy dropping off of a rock into the water.


All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.