2021 Southeast CC Pastors’ Conference
2021 Southeast CC Pastors’ Conference

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Southeast Calvary Chapel Conference: Pastors Encouraged to Remain Faithful and Please the Lord

Story and photos by Tom Price

Day Two of the 2021 Southeast Calvary Chapel Pastors’ Conference began at 8:30 a.m. and ended over 12 hours later, the time packed with worship, fellowship, food, and inspiring Bible teaching from six different Calvary Chapel pastors. Approximately 500 are attending the “Knowing the Time” conference at Calvary Chapel Merritt Island, FL.

Pastor Kent Nottingham of Calvary Chapel Tallahassee, FL, led off the early morning devotions. He proclaimed the importance of praying God’s Word to the Lord and laying claim to God’s promises through prayer.

Pastor Kent Nottingham teaching

Pastor Kent Nottingham of Calvary Chapel Tallahassee, FL, leads off the early morning devotions at the 2021 Southeast Calvary Chapel Pastors’ Conference.

Pastor Danny Hodges of Calvary Chapel Fellowship in St. Petersburg, FL, recounted how the pressures of running a megachurch led him back to his old ways with alcohol. He eventually had to step down after leading the church for 33 years. By admitting his sin and completely surrendering to Christ, Danny has been restored and was able to begin a new church in 2017. He showed a bottle of Visine eye drops, which he used to cover the redness in his eyes caused by drinking. He expressed the need for personal revival for everyone. He also taught from Romans 13 about emotional and physical slumber, which he had allowed into his life. Based on Ecclesiastes 4:3, he shared about welcoming personal accountability into our lives.

Gia Lucid, from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, CA, was the guest musician. With her powerful voice she helped lead the attendees into the presence of the Lord through worship.

Crowd worshiping

Attendees freely worshiped while praising the Name of Jesus.

Eric Souza, pastor of Reach Church (Reach Jax), a Calvary Chapel in Jacksonsville, FL, explained how the ministry is a call to help the fatherless, widows, and the hurting—it is not a popularity contest. One must only please God; one of the keys to failure is to try to please everyone. He emphasized that adapting to our surroundings isn’t the same as evolving our beliefs. Eric encouraged, “Blaze a trail but never lower your standards.” One of the youngest pastors asked to teach at the conference, he noted Paul’s encouragement in 2 Timothy 2:2 to hold fast the pattern of sound words. Eric had served 10 years as an assistant pastor at Calvary Tucson, AZ, before moving to Jacksonville in 2012 to begin the fellowship there.

Pastor Razz Vasquez of Calvary Chapel Miami, FL, shared why the return of the Lord is so important and emphasized the priority of the Rapture of the Church. He exhorted the believers to not allow bad priorities to lead them to forfeit their ministry, through Jesus’ words in Revelation 3:10: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I [Jesus] will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

Pastor Danny Hodges teaching

Pastor Danny Hodges of Calvary Chapel Fellowship in St. Petersburg, FL, shares how the pressures of running a megachurch led him back to his old ways with alcohol and having to step down from ministry. He documented the Lord’s leading to his recovery and victory.

Pastor Jim Gallagher of Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, FL, conveyed how to lead when you don’t know what you are doing, as everyone has had to do this past year of ministry during COVID-19 realities. From 2 Chronicles 20, Jim observed how King Jehoshaphat admitted he didn’t know what he was doing and publicly stated that Judah’s eyes were on the Lord for direction. “For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12b). Like Paul and Silas in Acts 16, they had to be open to the Holy Spirit while continually seeking the Lord for direction. Jim exhorted the attendees to look for open doors, not to be discouraged by opposition, and to continue to be faithful in the midst of challenges.

Crowd worshiping

Congregants lift up their Savior’s Name during worship.

Ending Day Two, Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque, NM, taught his second and final session, emphasizing the importance of the expository teaching of God’s Word. “Preach through the storm; depth, not dazzle,” Skip encouraged the pastors. “It doesn’t take long for the truth to get sidelined. Truth is always the punching bag.” Skip urged the pastors to renew their commitment to preach the Word, from 2 Timothy 4. He reminded them that they are not called to manufacture, but rather to simply distribute, God’s Word.

Pastor Eric Souza teaching

Eric Souza, pastor of Reach Church (Reach Jax) in Jacksonville, FL, was the youngest pastor to teach at the conference.

 

Crowd worshiping

Worshipers appreciate being able to honor Jesus in song.

 

Pastor Razz Vasquez teaching

Pastor Razz Vasquez of Calvary Chapel Miami, FL, shared the importance of the return of the Lord and emphasized the priority of the Rapture of the Church.

 

Women fellowship

Lynda Crespo (right), former missionary to Puerto Rico, and her daughter, Karlee Bendijo (middle) share a laugh with a longtime friend and her son. Lynda and Karlee travelled south from CC Center City, near Rochester, NY to enjoy the conference.

 

Pastor Jim Gallagher teaching

Pastor Jim Gallagher of Calvary Chapel in Vero Beach, FL, explained how to lead when you don’t know what you are doing, as everyone has had to do this past year of ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Pastor Skip Heitzig teaching

Skip Heitzig, lead pastor of Calvary Albuquerque, NM, taught his second and final session, emphasizing the importance of the expository teaching of God’s Word.

 

Gia Lucid leading worship

Guest musician Gia Lucid, from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, CA, led the 500 attendees into the presence of the Lord.

 

Meals served

Meals were served by host church Calvary Chapel Merritt Island in its new multi-purpose building.

 

Lunch outside

Visiting pastors and ministry workers, many from wintery northern areas, enjoyed eating meals outside in front of the church entrance.

 

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

© 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.

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