Building Up the Shepherds—Part 3: Calvary Chapel Pastors Gather for Rocky Mountain Regional Conference
Story by Jim Culhane
Photos by Keith Durflinger
Following are teachings from the 2021 Calvary Chapel Association Rocky Mountain Regional Conference held May 25-27 at Calvary Castle Rock, CO. Pastors, leaders, and their wives came from Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota for encouragement after a difficult year of ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference theme was “Understand the Times”, based on 1 Chronicles 12:32a: … of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do …
Click to read more. Part 1: A description of the conference. Part 2 Teachings by Dave Love, Al Pittman, and Jeff Johnson. Both parts offer an extended photo gallery sharing the highlights of the event.
Dave Love (far left), senior pastor of Calvary Castle Rock, CO, and other leaders pray for a pastor at the CCA Rocky Mountain Regional Conference in May 2021. Between teachings, pastors and leaders were invited to share the joys and struggles of their ministries before the more than 200 participants.
Eric Cartier, Rocky Mountain Calvary, Colorado Springs, CO
“We’re going to talk about God being our Father of Mercy,” stated Pastor Eric. “This is a time of suffering.” He noted that people in pain need God’s comfort, and a lot of us have pain. The last year and a half have brought extra trials, along with the normal trials of life. We should pray that the Holy Spirit would comfort us so that we can comfort others.
Eric taught from 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. Jesus wanted to bring us into relationships with God so we could be the children of God. Verses 3-4 say that God is the Father of Mercy and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations so that we can comfort others in any trouble. Eric shared that there is no tribulation, trial, or difficulty that is beyond God’s ability to comfort.
Eric Cartier, pastor of Rocky Mountain Calvary in Colorado Springs, CO, teaches that God is a “Father of Mercy” in times of suffering. The Rocky Mountain Region includes Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
Eric described his own health problems of 2020 when he began to lose weight and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The words “Our Father” at the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer came to have special meaning to him. Eric said that comfort is a “Who”.
We can have pain in our families, and when walking alongside people. We become friends with people, we pour ourselves into them, and then they decide to leave the church and don’t want to be friends anymore. A unique pain can come from serving others.
Comfort is to be shared. We can actually share comfort with somebody who is going through a different type of trial. We don’t exactly know what that road of suffering is like, but we understand suffering in our own life, and so we’re able to point them to the same Father who has comforted us.
Eric will sit with people and listen more than speak. Sometimes, he said, we talk too much—we have two ears and [one] mouth for a reason. Someone in pain may not need instruction. Comfort is in proportion to suffering. Redemptive suffering helps us to know Christ better. Suffering benefits churches as people watch our lives, especially when we’re suffering. God allows suffering so that believers can be built up and unbelievers can be reached. The apostle Paul wrote in verse 8 of 2 Corinthians 1 that he was burdened beyond measure and even despaired of life. If you are in pain and hurting, things are not OK, but God is saying that He wants to comfort you.
Leaders pray for one of the women who attended the conference.
Eric shared, “I think it’s an exciting time to be a believer, … to serve God, and be a pastor. I’m seeing God do an awakening in the lives of believers and bring the lost people to Christ, people that are really broken that wouldn’t normally come to church.” He stated that there is a greater hunger in the church for the Word of God, greater fellowship, and greater outreach. He thinks that it’s just beginning.
Four points that Eric wanted to leave the conferencegoers with were that: 1) Our Father is personal. Psalm 23 says, “My Shepherd”. 2) Our Father is purposeful. The whole point of the Resurrection is so we could call God by the title of “Dad”. 3) Our Father is merciful. 4) Our Father is everlasting. Eric assured us, “There will not be a day where you won’t know the Father’s love.”
Mindi Love, Pastor Dave’s wife, led a workshop emphasizing the importance of women being helpers and completers for their husbands in ministry.
Gino Geraci, a longtime CC pastor and current host of radio call-in program Crosswalk out of 94.7 FM in Aurora, CO
Gino began his teaching, “Ministry in the Scripture”, by giving a personal testimony. He dedicated his life to Jesus Christ when he was 16 in 1973. Having been raised in a non-Christian home and as a definite non-believer, a high school friend invited Gino to a youth rally. Pastor Tom Stipe taught about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Gino felt convicted—that he was spiritually dead—and went forward to pray with Tom. That night only three people went forward, instead of the hundreds that might have been expected; some people might feel that it was almost a waste of time. But one of those three was Gino, who has ministered for a lifetime, starting with mentorship by Tom.
Gino Geraci teaches at the conference. He is a longtime CC pastor and current host of radio call-in program Crosswalk out of 94.7 FM in Aurora, CO.
Ministry as it occurs in the Bible includes personal biblical training, teaching, and equipping. The Scripture for the teaching was 2 Timothy Chapter 3, where the apostle Paul was warning of a coming great apostasy. Paul appealed to Timothy to continue in his Christian faith begun through his mother and grandmother. Gino taught that equipping for ministry must provide tools to live faithfully in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is intended to equip the believer for abundant God-honoring Christian service. Ministry must teach the Jesus of the Bible. Gino exhorted, “You are not called to be a Bible teacher unless you can take this Bible and connect it to the Jesus of the Bible to the person who’s hearing it and help them get to heaven.” Gino explained the uses of the Bible mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:16, for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction.
Calvary Chapel starting out was a different church, whose pastors were just kids growing up. The material used in training is the Bible, including what Paul called “Sacred letters”. Scripture provides the doctrines of God, man, and salvation. Whatever the best way is to prepare for the ministry, it must not be determined by the culture. Early in Gino’s Christian walk, one wise Calvary Chapel pastor advised Gino to live like Jesus could return at any moment, but to prepare as if God was going to give him a lifetime of ministry.
After more than 18 months of COVID-19 lockdowns and complications, pastors enjoyed times of reconnection with each other. Here, Pastor Gens Jean, a missionary in Haiti, greets another participant.
Gino said that to be an effective Bible teacher, you have to do the work of an evangelist. A pastor’s job is to seek and find the lost, bring back those who are scattered, to heal the wounded, to strengthen the sick, and to protect and nourish those who are healthy until Jesus is fully formed in them. God can use the Bible supernaturally, but only the person born again by the power of the Holy Spirit can receive and understand Christian spiritual things. We are living in a world that’s convinced there is no truth; Christians need to say, “No, there is such a thing as truth.” We need to show people how to glorify God in situations we find ourselves in.
If you’re a pastor, Bible study leader, or discipleship mentor, you’re going to need all your tools to bring your people to be presented to the Lord Jesus for every good work. Jesus will hold you accountable for those people. Gino also added, “You can’t invite a person to believe in that Jesus unless you have an adequate way of demonstrating how He’s changed your life, that He’s made you different.” You have to get right with God and be willing to be confronted by the Bible for yourself.
If you’ve ever struggled with how to apply the Scripture, you can ask of each Bible passage these questions: 1) What doctrine(s) does this passage teach? 2) What error in judgment, understanding, or behavior in this passage might serve as a reproof in my life? 3) How does this passage instruct, correct, balance, or direct me in my life? 4) How will it prepare me for some current or spiritual challenge?
Women enjoyed opportunities of spiritual refreshment and fellowship at the regional conference.
Jimmy Humphreys, Great Divide Calvary, Breckenridge, CO
With the lockdowns, a lot of leaders and people were not coming to church. Others found something else to do. After 20 years in the ministry, Jimmy’s wife said, “We’re starting over.” But their church has grown from people who attended other churches and many who just wanted to be with people. As Christians, we are all commissioned by Jesus to tell others about Him—it’s not an option. We need to become friends with people we wouldn’t normally.
Jimmy Humphreys, pastor of Great Divide Calvary in Breckenridge, CO, teaches about “The Model of Ministry” at the conference.
Choosing the topic of “The Model of Ministry”, Jimmy mentioned that Jesus’ disciples were ordinary, untrained men. Jesus healed, cast out demons, and spent time with people other than the 12 disciples. In the Book of Mark Chapter 2, we see that Jesus told Matthew to follow Him, and Jesus and the disciples were at Matthew’s house for a dinner with many disreputable tax collectors. Even though these tax collectors were despised by all people, Jesus wanted to spend time with them. God still loved them although they were not who we would want them to be. Jesus said in Matthew 5:46, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
If we’re only surrounding ourselves with believers, I think we are missing it. I think the Lord wants us to take some better opportunities that present themselves. It might cost us our time and reputation, that people might think differently about you. But isn’t it worth it if somebody’s life is being impacted by the love of Jesus? You might say that you are concerned with how other people think, that you don’t want to stumble someone. That’s great if the Holy Spirit shows you that. You have to pay attention to that. But there are ways to do it, when an opportunity presents itself, without stumbling people. Hopefully, the Holy Spirit is going to direct and guide you in those moments. There are going to be times when the Lord says, “Don’t say anything.”
Ian Ebersole, an elder at Westminster Calvary, CO, prays.
Making friends with sinners is the model that Jesus set forward. Don’t get too far from the model. Spend time with people who have no interest in going to your church. But they need a friend, a friend who loves Jesus. A lot of pastors work full-time jobs. That is strategic: The Lord has you in that job because he wants you to seek out people, love on people. Create something, do what you do. Tell people that God loves them, because it’s not the healthy who need a doctor. Let’s grow the church by sinners coming to know Jesus, hearing about God’s love.
Follow this series at: Part 1: A description of the conference. Part 2 Teachings by Dave Love, Al Pittman, and Jeff Johnson. Both parts offer an extended photo gallery sharing the highlights of the event.
To watch the complete teachings, go to Calvary Chapel Association 2021 Conference Videos
CCA Conference Photo Gallery
Enjoy more photos from the Rocky Mountain Regional Conference.
Lonnie Trujillo of Horizon Christian Fellowship in Denver, CO, in one of many lighthearted moments at the conference.
Randy Golden, pastor of Calvary South Cheyenne, WY, shares experiences from the past year and a half with his fellow shepherds. The sharing sessions were filled with stories of God’s faithfulness and victories, marked by joy, laughter and humor, and strong encouragement.
Ben Gárate of CC Montrose, CO, speaks to the audience.
Scott Cox, pastor of CC Windsor, CO, encouraged the attendees: “Let’s be here for one another. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
© 2021 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). 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.