CCA Pastors’ & Leaders’ Conference 2021

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Bobby Hargraves Teaches at CCA International Pastors’ & Leaders’ Conference

Story by TJ Martini
Photos by Tom Price and Josh Larson

This week, follow along with Calvary Chapel Magazine as we publish summaries of the teachings at the CCA 2021 Calvary Chapel International Pastors’ & Leaders’ Conference at CC Golden Springs, CA.

In this installment, Pastor Bobby Hargraves of Calvary Chapel of the Hudson Valley in Poughkeepsie, NY, encourages attendees to “stay the course” and allow the Word of God to change lives.

Watch this teaching in its entirety at Day 3 / Bobby Hargraves

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When Pastor Don McClure invited Pastor Bobby Hargraves to speak at the CCA conference, he told Bobby to pick something from the book of Acts. And without hesitation, the former corrections officer immediately replied, “Chapter 16, the jailers.”

Bobby had been a corrections officer in a “super max” prison for 25 years; he admitted, “It was the greatest job I ever did. I’ve been pastoring for 27 years, and I’m telling you right now, pastoring is so much harder than the jail.”

From Acts 15:36-41, Bobby shared that the apostle Paul had decided to return to Iconium and Lystra, cities where he had ministered five years earlier. Then he reminded his audience, “In Lystra, Paul was literally stoned, beaten, and left for dead, but he was driven to go back to these places to strengthen and encourage them.”

“But none of these things move me; nor do I [Paul] count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:2

It was 41 years ago that Bobby came to know Christ as his Lord and Savior, and it’s that love that drives and compels him today. “Jesus has been challenging me, because I feel like the Lord is impressing upon me to look at ministry with fresh eyes—forgetting the past and pressing on what God wants to do in us now.”

Bobby’s church in the Hudson Valley is experiencing incredible growth, like so many others around the country. “But now is not the time for pastors to coast, or let loose, or play it safe,” he warned. “This whole COVID thing really tested me personally, especially as a leader. Do I stay open, or do I close like everyone else?” He closed his church because that’s what he was told to do. But after a week, Bobby found out there were a bunch of people standing outside the church who wanted to come in, so he told his brother, “Let them in!” As other churches were closing down, their members started coming to his fellowship. And Bobby was watching, again, how the Word of God was blowing people away

So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily. Acts 16:5

Bobby admitted that he didn’t come from the CC movement. “I didn’t have the luxury that many of you guys had, who grew up in a Calvary Chapel. The philosophy of ministry of Calvary Chapel has always been to preach the Word.” Bobby said that’s how it’s done on the West Coast, and he is forever grateful for constantly teaching the full counsel of God … because it works.

“Stay the course,” Bobby exhorted with great passion. “This is my message title today.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Philippians 3:1

And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:42

Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Acts 8:35

So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. Nehemiah 8:8

Near the end of his teaching, Bobby shared about the miracle that occurred in Acts 16:25-34, when Paul and Silas were beaten, put into the inner parts of the prison, and chained. They began praying and singing hymns to God—and the prisoners were listening. Then the earth quaked, all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed, but no prisoners escaped. The keeper of the prison wanted to kill himself, for he thought that they had all escaped. But Paul assured him that no one had left.

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. Acts 16:30-32

“Christianity is the answer for the world today,” Bobby concluded, “and it draws sinners in; it draws them to say, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ Listen to me. They are all around us today. … I am seeing the Word of God change lives.”


Watch this teaching in its entirety at Day 3 / Bobby Hargraves

View CCA International Pastors’ & Leaders’ Conference Schedule

Learn more about Calvary Chapel Association

Visit the website of Pastor Bobby Hargraves’ church at:

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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.