The Story of Calvary Wolfeboro
Calvary Wolfeboro was planted by God in Wolfeboro, NH, on July 6th, 2013, in the home of the Thomassian family. By September of that same year our gathering had grown too large for their home. That precipitated our first move to the Brookwoods Conference Center where we worshipped and grew as a church throughout the fall, winter, and spring of 2014. Then, in June of 2014, we made our second move. This time to 43 Mill Street in downtown Wolfeboro where the church has gathered ever since.
Beginning as an informal gathering of believers in Christ, we didn't have a name or any formal structure until over a year after our inception. The name we now bear (Calvary Wolfeboro) comes from the fellowship of churches we are a part of - Calvary Chapel. This group of churches(CCA-Calvary Chapel Association) began in the late 1960s as part of the revival in southern California that would eventually be called "the Jesus movement." Chuck Smith was the pastor of the first Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California where mobs of young people came seeking Christ. One of those young people was Skip Heitzig who eventually became a pastor and was sent to Albuquerque, New Mexico to plant a church. That church, Calvary Albuquerque, is the church out of which our founding pastor was raised up and sent to Wolfeboro.
From the beginning, we have established ourselves with a high view of Scripture. Verse by verse expositional preaching has been the spiritual diet of our church. Beginning with the book of Ephesians, we have continued to emphasize the importance of understanding the Bible verse by verse, line upon line. Our high view of Scripture combined with a dependence upon the power of Holy Spirit has fostered in our church a growing sense of the sufficiency of God's Word for dealing with the struggles common to the church. For this reason we do not rely heavily on outside programs, but instead trust God to do the work of emotional healing, reconciling, growing, and training up in the context of our own discipleship and through the intimate fellowship that provides all the "one anothers" of the New Testament (for example - love one another, care for one another, bear one another's burdens, restore one another from sin, pray for one another, comfort one another...)
Men's ministry began early in the life of our church, before women's ministry, because God has called us to reestablish the primacy of godly male leadership. Through a variety of gatherings like weekly bible study, monthly rallies, and yearly retreats we are building a culture of Christ-like servant leadership.
The women's ministry also thrives in a way that is countercultural. Feminism(even the "Christian" kind) and its philosophical foundation of egalitarianism is replaced while the unity, which comes from settling into complementarianism, is pervasive. (Complementarianism is the conviction that men and women were created by God to complement one another and therefore will not have the same roles or responsibilities. This view does not hold that men and women are of different essential worth, but instead have different purposes in God's design for society - especially church and family.)
Great fellowship accompanied by great food has also been central to the story of Calvary Wolfeboro. Perhaps this is the natural result of a church starting in someone's home. Each and every week there will be something good to eat after worship. Food, after all, fans the flames of fellowship. So does good coffee. Since moving into the downtown area, we have made local, fresh-roasted coffee another staple of our gatherings. In addition, we have consistently supported local businesses by purchasing cakes and other food for a variety of events and celebrations. We see this as an important part of being a member of our community.
Since our founding, we have been a church that consistently carries out the work of evangelism through personal relationships and special events. Being downtown in "the oldest summer resort in America" has given us unique opportunities to impact the people who flood town every summer. Early on we decided everything we do for the outside world should be free. So, we have given away thousands of hamburgers, hotdogs, slushies (just to name a few) as part of our free concerts, kid's events, and more. All of it purposed in drawing souls to the saving grace of God through the generous love of Jesus.
One final reality that has been central to our story is the unusual provision of God for us financially. Since we signed the lease on 43 Mill Street in January 2014, we have never missed a payment. We have seen not only our needs met, but provision above and beyond our needs for the purposes of outreaches like Freedom Reigns - a huge event that has brought in hundreds of people each time we've done it. From the beginning, we have experienced repeated timely provisions of finances through a variety of unexpected ways not limited to our agape boxes - the means through which we collect tithes and offerings as a body. Through all this experience, the leadership has come to understand God provides where He is guiding us and that we must move forward with His will and trust Him for the provision. This is a very different way of functioning than most people are comfortable with and it has led to incredible growth in the faith and boldness of our leadership.