Testimony of Pastor Malcolm Wild—Part 3

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He Has Done Great Things for Me: Testimony of Pastor Malcolm Wild—Part 3

Testimony by Malcolm Wild, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Merritt Island, FL
Photos courtesy of Malcolm Wild and CC Merritt Island unless otherwise noted

This is Part 3 of the three-part testimony of Senior Pastor Malcolm Wild of CC Merritt Island, FL. He has been pastor of the church for 36 years, supported by his wife Carol; it was the first Calvary Chapel in Florida. In this installment, Malcolm describes his call to pastor a church in Florida.

Click to read Part 1: Malcolm shares how he and Carol were led to salvation in Jesus Christ. Part 2: Malcolm shares how he grew in his faith and in ministry after he was saved.

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Malcolm Wild, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Merritt Island (CCMI), FL, with friends and the men who have influenced his life. From left to right: Alwyn Wall, Malcolm, CC founder Pastor Chuck Smith, and Pastor George Yeomans, who first led Malcolm to Christ in 1968. The photo was taken in 1999.

A New Direction

The ministry of our band, Malcolm & Alwyn, came to an abrupt end in 1975. God had other plans for us both, eventually giving each of us our own ministries within the Calvary Chapel movement. At the time however, it seemed as though my world had fallen apart. I remember going to my friend Howard Davies’ house and asking him, “What will I do now?” I didn’t see much future for a solo autoharpist.

But then God opened a door for me and my wife Carol to move to a beautiful village called Shaftesbury, to work with youth. We sold our house and moved, without even seeing the new home that had been provided for us. It turned out to be lovely. At the same time, Musical Gospel Outreach (MGO) also hired me to organize tours for Maranatha and the bands from Calvary Chapel that had begun to travel to the United Kingdom. It seemed that God was providing; I had the promise of support from MGO, as well as the promise that we could live in that beautiful house.

However, one day I received a phone call from MGO that my support was running out and that I would no longer receive any money after March 31. I received another phone call from the man who owned the house we were living in—he said he was sorry to advise us that he was selling the house and we must move out by March 31. After the initial panic, I realized that this was too much of a coincidence; so what was God doing? Did He have something else for us? To make a long story short, my family and I boarded a plane to fly to California where we were about to begin our new ministry with Calvary Chapel on … March 31,1976!

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Malcolm was on staff at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA, for seven and a half years as an assistant pastor. Here, his family poses in front of the church in 1981. Left to right: Joel, Carol, Julian, Malcolm, and Rachel.

Growing at CC Costa Mesa, CA

I was invited to pastor the Maranatha Musician’s Fellowship at CC Costa Mesa, where I grew as a Bible teacher. I met some wonderful people there: Bob Bennett; Isaac Air Freight, a comedy group; and others whom I was able to disciple. I began to grow under Pastor Chuck Smith’s teaching. Through his ministry, I learned what it meant to teach through the Bible. The man who lead me to Christ, Pastor George Yeomans, was a great preacher and evangelist, but I had never heard anybody teach through the Bible.

I would eventually move from Maranatha to become a pastor at CC Costa Mesa for seven and a half years. When we first started going to Pastor Chuck’s Sunday night study, I remember thinking, What’s the big deal? Why are all these people here? I was used to the more dynamic preaching of God’s Word; Pastor Chuck was just going through the Scriptures, five or ten chapters at a time. I didn’t get it at first. But then I noticed that everyone had a Bible. I came to realize that most of those people knew more about the Bible than I did, and I was a pastor on staff!

Soon, I began to feed on the Word of God and God began a tremendous work; yet the desire for evangelism never went away. Some guys in the Musician’s Fellowship asked me to join a band originally called Samuel, which later became known as Malcolm and the Mirrors.

 

Music Ministry in the UK & U.S.

We put the band together for the purpose of traveling to the UK to do evangelism in the schools which, at the time, were wide open to us ministering there. We would visit several schools in a community, do assemblies in each one, and then invite all the kids to a big concert at the end of the week. Hundreds of kids came to the Lord. One time, I shared the Gospel in a town called Rochdale and when I gave the appeal I said, “If any of you want to give your life to Christ, stand to your feet.” They all stood up! I didn’t think they understood, so I asked them to sit back down, and I preached some more then gave the appeal again, only to see almost all the kids stand up again! It was a very powerful time, with hundreds coming to know Jesus Christ.

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Malcolm and the Mirrors recorded a rock album, “Red Alert,” specifically for their ministry in schools in the UK. When they returned to the States, they ended up leading worship for the church using the rock band format. They basically became two bands. When in England, they were Malcolm and the Mirrors; and when in America, they were The Electric Praise Band.

We recorded an album, “Red Alert,” specifically for our ministry to the kids in the UK. When we returned to the States, Calvary Chapels began to invite us. The only problem was that our band was set up as a rock band and our songs were geared to unsaved kids, not to the church. I remember suggesting to the band that we play worship songs instead. They were concerned about leading worship with a band that included electric guitars! (My, how times have changed.) So, we did. God blessed our music, and we became two bands. When we were in England, we were Malcolm and the Mirrors; and when we were in America, we became known as The Electric Praise Band. Then God called me to Florida.

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Pastor Malcolm still uses his musical gift as he leads worship at the "Reopen Service", May 17, 2020. CCMI was one of the first church’s in the area to reopen after shutting down to slow the spread of COVID-19 in March of 2020.

A Call to Florida

I had been at CC Costa Mesa for over seven years when one day, as I was walking by an office door, one of the guys said to me, “Hey, Malcolm, come over here. These people need a pastor." I responded, “I’m not going anywhere.” I was reluctant to take the phone, but on the other end was a man named Charlie Carroll, an elder of a church in Merritt Island, FL, known as Cornerstone. He had gotten saved at a Maranatha Movie Night at CC Costa Mesa and was calling because his church needed a pastor.

I explained that we were happy in California. Then, he asked if I liked water, if I liked fishing. That definitely got my attention. Being very carnal, I thought, I’ve never been to Florida. I could go for the weekend and preach, maybe get to do some fishing. I agreed to go, but God busted me. He said, “Don’t you dare go down there for a good time; those people are looking for a pastor.” I was convicted. We liked California, and it would be hard to take my family to a place where they didn’t know anyone. But I came with an open mind and preached.

The elders liked me, talked with me, and asked me to send for my wife. I shared with Carol that I was beginning to wonder if God was calling us here and asked her to pray and see what God said to her. She prayed, and two times God gave her Scriptures with the word cornerstone in them. When I returned to Costa Mesa, no one knew where I had been; one of the young pastors said to me, “Hey, man, I had a dream that you went to pastor a church in Florida.” So, we agreed to come, and for the third time, my wife moved into a house that she had never seen before.

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From left to right, pastors Joe Focht, Don McClure, and Malcolm Wild pray at the CCA International Pastors and Wives Conference in 2020. Photo by Tom Price

Directed by the Lord

God has done great things. Over the years, there have been difficulties. I have made some mistakes. But we have been here now for 36 years, and I have had the privilege of being the pastor to what I believe to be the best flock in the whole world. I have a great family and am proud of all my children and grandchildren. We were the first Calvary Chapel in Florida, and we are so blessed. God has done great things for me!

I want to leave you with my life verses, found in Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. That is my life—God has directed my steps. Sometimes, He had to get me to a place where I thought I was doing one thing and ended up doing another. But I trust in Him. I try not to figure it out with my own understanding but try to trust Him with my whole heart. I try to acknowledge Him in all my ways because He promises that when we do that, He will direct our steps. My life has been directed by God, and it’s been glorious.

ccmerrittisland.org

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Malcolm and Carol and their three children—Joel (left), Rachel, and Julian (held)—enjoy the sights along Southern California’s Pacific Coast Highway in 1974.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 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.

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