CCA Leadership Conference—Part 1

CCA Leadership Conference—PART 1
CCA Leadership Conference—PART 1

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Foundations: CCA Regional Leadership Conference—Part 1
Pastors & Leaders Gather for Spiritual Encouragement

Story by Margot Bass and Trinity Grau
Photos by Christian Rodriguez

Following a difficult pandemic year, nearly 1,000 men and women gathered for spiritual encouragement May 21 and 22 at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, CA. The pastors, church leaders, and their wives met for two days to focus on the theme of Foundations at the 2021 Calvary Chapel Association Regional Leadership Conference.

“Initially, the heartbeat of the conference was—after everything that’s gone on this past year—to kind of rally the troops a little bit,” explained Wade O’Neill, associate pastor of CC Golden Springs. “But it’s always been Senior Pastor Raul Ries’s vision to help stir up the call of God in the hearts of those who are sensing a call on their life, younger or older, whatever that looks like. Whoever wants to respond to the call of God, Raul really desired them to be there. Also, I think the heartbeat is to continue to pass on the vision of the Calvary Chapel movement.”

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Man and wife praising God

A man and his wife share a special moment of worship together.

Wade said that many of the attendees came in from out of state, including from Nevada, Oregon, and Texas. “I saw a genuine excitement. For our area at least, it almost felt like there was a sense of turning the page a little bit—a sense of closing a chapter and beginning a new one, being able to move forward,” he shared. As a result of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, “pastors and others were challenged to trust the Lord in new ways, and there’s a fresh brokenness in a lot of people’s lives. It’s a good brokenness, a fresh dependence on the Lord, and the desire to seek Him supremely.” Even men who have been in ministry for a long time experienced a fresh heart for their own devotional lives and walks with God, Wade declared.

Man at podium

Calvary Chapel Golden Springs Senior Pastor Raul Ries teaches at the 2021 CCA Regional Leadership Conference in May. He challenged the attendees by asking them to compare the amount of time they spent on their devices and leisure time to the time they spent on their knees in prayer.

The conference featured workshops on technology, raising up godly leaders, and children’s ministry. “We were trying to cast a broad net and minister to as many needs as possible, to equip and encourage those who were involved in other areas of ministry, too,” Wade noted. “There was excitement to see a lot of unity taking place, that Calvary Chapels are still [spiritually] moving, and that the Lord is blessing. And the worship was really sweet.”

Man at podium

Don McClure talked about the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. He serves with his wife Jean in the teaching ministry Calvary Way, is the administrator for the Calvary Chapel Association, and ministers at the Calvary Bible Institute in Yucca Valley, CA.

Speakers included Raul Ries; Pastor Don McClure of Calvary Way teaching ministry and the Calvary Chapel Association; Dale Goddard, senior assistant pastor at CC Golden Springs; Sean McKeehan and Wade O’Neill, associate pastors at CC Golden Springs; and Garid Beeler, senior pastor of VISION City Church in Irvine, CA.

Following are summaries of two of the teachings from pastors who spoke at the conference. All of the teachings are available on the Somebody Loves You Worldwide playlist on YouTube. Calvary Chapel Magazine will run more teaching summaries in future online stories.

Raul Ries: The Greatest Priority—God

Raul Ries, senior pastor of CC Golden Springs, emphasized how God is to be our greatest priority. He spoke from the Book of Haggai Chapter 1, in which the Old Testament prophet Haggai admonished the people of Israel, who had neglected to build the Temple of the Lord. Referring to Luke 12:48b, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more,” Raul explained how a lot of pastors and people had so much wealth and God took it away because they were spending it on themselves. “We don’t live by standards of our own; we live according to the Word of God. … The Church is the one that needs to get it right so that people in the world can see that we are really truly believers in the Kingdom of God.”

Man praising God

A couple worship together at the conference.

Reinforcing the importance of prioritizing God, Pastor Raul went on to ask his audience how much time they spend on their phones, ipads, and computers compared to how much time they spend on their knees in prayer. “If He can’t be Number One in my life, how can I prosper in the Lord?” he reflected. Raul warned that the Church should not be sinning because the Lord has not returned, especially since we have the Holy Spirit, an active mover in our lives. “We listen to other things that we shouldn’t be listening to, and we watch things we shouldn’t be watching, then we want God to speak to us. How can He speak to dirty vessels? We’re supposed to be holy vessels.”

Man praising God

A man enjoys fellowship with the Lord during the conference.

Raul went on to read about how the high priest and all the people, feeling spiritual conviction, listened to and followed the instructions of Haggai to be men and women of God. They chose to repent of their sin and made God their priority. Raul added about his own commitment, “I made a decision in my life. They can take me to jail, … [but] I’ll never deny Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.”

Don McClure: The Ministry & Work of the Holy Spirit

Pastor Don McClure presented a short study on the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus. Don serves with his wife Jean in the teaching ministry Calvary Way, is the administrator for the Calvary Chapel Association, and ministers at the Calvary Bible Institute in Yucca Valley, CA.

Don’s teaching began with the annunciation of Mary that she would bear a Son who would be the Messiah and continued through the working of the Holy Spirit throughout the life of Jesus, until He bestowed the Holy Spirit upon His disciples after His resurrection. Don stated that through Adam, the First Man, we normal humans are “bodily alive, soulishly active, but spiritually dead.” Through Jesus, whom the apostle Paul called the Second Man, we are able to be filled with the Holy Spirit and become spiritually alive, just as Adam was when he was created.

Man praising God

This man was among many who were blessed by the opportunity to praise God corporately with other Calvary Chapel pastors and leaders.

Pastor Don shared the example of Jesus on how we are to prioritize God’s will over our own, and how the Spirit guides us to do so. We tell God that we want to please Him, but we still want to have what we think is right and what we wish to do. Don quoted Psalm 40:8: “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” As Don cracked jokes about his own age, he also described how we often do not act according to the Spirit. “[Trying to live like Jesus] is impossible for you [without the Holy Spirit]; it’s impossible for me [without the Holy Spirit], but it’s not impossible for someone who has been born of the Spirit.”

Man talking on stage

Pastor Raul Ries emphasized to the pastors and leaders the importance of prioritizing God in their daily lives.


Men hug

Two men share a hug as they meet at the CCA conference. Wade O’Neill, an associate pastor at CC Golden Springs, shared that at the conference, he saw a spirit of excitement and unity among the leaders, and a fresh dependence on the Lord after a challenging pandemic year.


Woman singing praise

A woman leads conference attendees to the throne of God in worship.


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.