Story by Jim Culhane
Photos by Josh Larson & Tom Price
Dale Goddard, assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, CA, reminded pastors of the importance keeping the unity of the Spirit by bearing with one another in love and continuing in the tradition and doctrine of the ministry they first walked in.
Dale prayed that they would all be one. The issue of disunity has caused pastors to lose sight, that they are blind through division. Dale could preach on unity but it wouldn’t be the answer until he begins to preach on Jesus Christ. The only answer is Jesus Christ, not another program or method.
He quoted Joni Eareckson Tada, “You can’t be taught to be at one with each other because you’re called to be one with each other already.” Dale added, “Now, you’re expected to act like it.” There isn’t a church that doesn’t have some kind of division, he noted.
“We can be as different as the day is long,” declared Dale. “It’s what you do with the differences that causes division.” We have instructions for unity. With different ideas, opinions, even doctrine, hopefully the doctrinal issues are peripheral, because when the doctrine is errant or heresy, we have to stand up at some point and say, “No, enough of that.”
Dale spoke of horrible men in the last few years who got in a pulpit, where hundreds of thousands of people found that they were only preachers of pretense, just beautiful oratory. Pastors should take time to share their heart with their people, not their pretense. “The worst sin in the world is being a man of pretense,” stated Dale.
If a pastor is not sharing Christ, that’s the greatest abomination to God. Pastors have a heart that is different from this world. When pastors pay attention to negative gossip about other people, they need to be longsuffering, bearing with one another.
The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:1-6a: I … beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.
Jesus wants us to live in unity. Other churches are responsible for what they do. Dale asked, “I’m going to love them no matter what, but does that mean that I need to embrace everything they do? No.” Pastor Chuck Smith loved those different from him, but there was division in Calvary Chapel while Chuck was alive. Chuck said that some of them needed to go from Calvary Chapel, because their heart and soul wasn’t in the church where they preached. They were divided—and division breeds division. Calvary Chapel will still be around in 20 years if we continue in the philosophy and doctrine we have followed.
Pastor Chuck couldn’t understand why Calvary Chapel churches would have conferences and invite outside speakers in because of their [well-known] name or face. Chuck stated, “We have enough good and great teachers among us that we would stay together—as one.” We can’t allow division within the church. We need to confront it quickly.
Dale imagined a balance scale where you place your calling on one side and yourself on the other. “How much are you worth?” asked Dale. “You know what you are behind closed doors. How many times you’ve had to reckon the ‘old man’ (sinful nature) dead.” Deny yourself, die to yourself, submit. If it takes some time, get right with God and get right back into the pulpit. You bring dishonor when anything comes off the pulpit that is not Christ-like.
“You’re going to be noted one day for what you’ve followed in Christ. Everything you’ve done in your ministry is going to be cast into the fire—be tried—and we’ll see what it really amounts to,” reminded Dale. Did you do what you did out of love for Jesus Christ? Or was there another motive, because you were emotional, or to please other people?
Unless you spend more time in His Word than listening to other people, you’ll never know unity in your ministry.
If Dale doesn’t step foot inside some churches, it’s not because he doesn’t love them. But his being there would cause division, and he wants to have peace. Paul said to walk in unity as a priority. If the chief cornerstone isn’t Jesus Christ, when the storm comes you get washed away. You cannot have a strong church that promotes disunity or speaks badly against another.
We need to be worthy of our calling, but you can’t be worthy on your own. The Lord Jesus has to help you. Pray and ask the Lord to remind you, chasten you, convict you, to make you sensitive to the needs of your congregation. And when difficulties like division come, be lowly, humble. [Realize] you don’t know everything.
There are churches that have different music and worship styles. There are people who dance and jump up and down, but is that something to speak badly about if they do it in their own churches? No. It’s not an essential. Some women are in ministry, but not necessarily leading men.
Preach a message of love and Christ when you teach on unity. Jesus was so gentle, so kind, so loving. You’ve got to suffer long sometimes. It may take a while for the Holy Spirit to work in people differently, not on your timetable.
You don’t need to be like others to be liked by them. They’ll love you if you are Christ-like. Follow Christ from disunity into unity. Continue in the philosophy of ministry, the tradition and doctrine of ministry that you first walked in. Don’t change or compromise, there’s no need for it. Dale reflected, “Pastor Chuck did what he did in the beginning and did it till the day he died, and it lasted. It’s what he’ll be remembered for.”
Watch Pastor Dale’s teaching in its entirety at: Dale Goddard, CCA West Coast Pastors & Leaders Conference
In mid-September, 1,100+ pastors, leaders and their wives gathered at the 2022 Calvary Chapel Association (CCA) West Coast Pastors & Leaders Conference at CC Golden Springs, CA, for refreshing in the face of increasing ministry challenges.
Over the coming months, Calvary Chapel Magazine will present summaries of the conference teachings by presenting pastors. Our desire is that these inspiring messages will encourage and bless all believers.
Follow summaries of pastors’ teachings at the CCA West Coast Pastors & Leaders Conference:
• Garid Beeler, Your Labor is Not in Vain
Senior pastor of VISION City Church in Irvine, CA
• Josh Lawrence, Resting in the Power of God
Senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Eldoret, Kenya
• Don McClure, A Tale of Two Kings: Wisdom vs the Heart
Leader of Calvary Way Ministries and Calvary Chapel Association Administrator
• Mike Focht, How Should We Handle a “Judas” Betrayal?
Assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel Philadelphia, PA
Sponsor message: “Let Me Be a Woman” is a two-day conference celebrating the role of women and confronting the lies that suppress God’s design. Inspirational music, messages, books, fashion show, craft market, food, gift giveaway and more! For a list of speakers and to register visit: calvarysj.org
© 2023 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.