Revival in California—Part 1
Story by Margot Bass and Tom Price
Photos by Tom Price
“Can I be baptized?” the excited voice of a young girl pleaded as she ran toward Jack Hibbs, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, CA.
Jack was exhausted. He and over 12 assistant pastors and elders had baptized more than 1,000 people that day, Saturday, September 12, 2020, at the Pirate’s Cove inlet at Corona Del Mar State Beach in Newport Beach, CA. The beach crowd was clearing out and children were playing in the waves. Jack thought the event was over—until 8-year-old Eileen Sanchez, who appeared seemingly out of nowhere, broke onto the scene.
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
Surprised, Jack knelt on one knee in the water to look into her eyes, and asked for Eileen’s mother, Gloria, who speaks only Spanish. “Jesus did not forbid the children to come to Him,” Jack explained through a translator. “Children understand the Gospel better than we do!” He asked the girl if she understood that Jesus died on the cross for her sins and rose again from the dead, and said, “He’s God. Jesus came to earth to save us.” Taking Eileen’s hands, Jack asked, “Are you ready?” With a big smile, Eileen nodded. Her grin grew even larger after her immersion, and Jack excitedly declared, “Wow! Wow!”
Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills (CCCH), CA, shares the hope of the Gospel with onlookers, explaining what baptism means. Over 1,000 believers, mostly from CCCH, were baptized on Saturday, September 12, 2020, at Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach, CA. However, many onlookers decided to be baptized as well, once they heard Jack’s explanation of the importance of baptism to a Christian.
Open Doors & Revival in the Pandemic
The beach had been crowded throughout the morning as believers—mainly from CC Chino Hills—lined up to make public professions of Christian faith. Onlookers and supporters crowded the rocky cliffs surrounding Pirate’s Cove, many choosing to be baptized as well, after hearing Jack’s explanation of the importance of baptism to Christians. Groups were asked to come at three different times to facilitate parking at the state park, which is overcrowded on any weekend.
That Saturday’s scene on the beach was reminiscent of the early days of Calvary Chapel and the beginning of the Jesus Movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Pastor and founder Chuck Smith would baptize new believers in the exact same location. Many of those young people baptized back then became pastors and church leaders, planting the 1,800 churches affiliated with Calvary Chapel today.
The beach was crowded with people coming to be baptized, church family, and onlookers.
Jack has opened his fellowship to indoor services despite current restrictive state orders for California churches during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I believe the church is transcendent, that what God is doing with the church at this hour is our moment to make history. We baptized over 1,000 people today, and that’s part of history,” Jack stated. “So many people have been coming to Christ since we opened the doors [of our church]. I love that Jesus said, … ‘See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it’ (Revelation 3:8a). There’s a reason why He said that, that no man can shut it. I love the fact that as a shepherd, I have no authority over the doors of His church but to feed His people. The doors belong to Him.”
Many have expressed gratitude that CC Chino Hills has been open. Jack continued, “When COVID hit our nation, we saw people gripped with fear, … with hopelessness. We saw people confused. On top of it, we saw people frightened and suffering from the fact that they didn’t have the sense of community that their church had given them. So now, … I’m not surprised … we’ve been seeing 100-200 people accept the Lord weekly. This is just the fruit of the going forth of the Gospel. Let’s be honest, this is God depositing hope in the lives of people who have realized the world is a hopeless place.”
Jack, in the blue shirt, uses a megaphone to organize believers as they come to the water to be baptized.
Since CC Chino Hills reopened in May, many new believers—and those who had attended services elsewhere—began coming. Corey and Kelly Martens make a regular Sunday morning, 45-minute commute since their church has not reopened. “We love the teaching here,” Kelly declared. “Our children have really become involved in the youth program, and all of us want to stay. It is an exciting time to be part of what the Lord is doing, and it feels like home already!”
Jack urged believers to do what Jesus asks and to expect great things from Him, recalling when His disciples had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. “Jesus said to them, ‘Let your net down on the other side of the boat,’ which seemed crazy [to them]: Who is this Galilean rabbi, telling us how to fish? They obeyed Him and what happened? The net was not big enough [for all the fish they caught]. That’s exactly what we’re experiencing. Our nets are not big enough.”
“We had 700 youth [recently] show up for a service. We had 138 confessions of faith just among youth. This is happening every week. I think the challenge to all of us is: Do you want to make history with the Lord? Because if you do, you’ve got to get out into the water because He is moving. We’re just trying to keep up with Him,” Jack reflected.
Thank you for reading Part 1 of this story on the incredible ways God is moving through Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. Please look for Part 2 on our website tomorrow. This story was originally published in Issue 85, Fall 2020, of Calvary Chapel Magazine.
A young woman reacts joyfully after coming up from the waters of baptism.
Over a dozen pastors and elders from CCCH were part of the baptizing team.
Pastor Shadrach Means (right) exalts along with a young woman he just baptized.
A group of friends praise the Lord together after being baptized.
Many friends were baptized and gave thanks to the Lord together afterwards.
For most people it was an intimate moment as they professed that they surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.
Joy was the emotion many had after coming up from the water.
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.