The Calvary Chapel Chronicles: The Children of Moses
Last week we looked at “The Moses Model” and noted that because of the entrepreneurial way that CC churches are planted, it gives the senior pastor a sense of personal ownership of the church not found in traditional denominations.
We noted that succession plans can be difficult to engage (or non existent at all) because the one who planted the church needs the church to support him through what would be retirement years in other sects.
One of the ways that this entrepreneurial spirit combined with the need for support manifests itself is in the church becoming a family business, passed down to the sons of the “founders”.
Many observers believed that Brian Brodersen succeeding Chuck Smith was a foregone conclusion despite the many auditions for the position.
Brodersen was married to Smith’s favorite daughter and because she couldn’t be placed in the pulpit, her husband would be.
Cheryl Brodersen already ran a very successful women’s ministry in the church.
Brother Jeff is alleged to have made a substantial amount of money through the church’s business dealings.
Another sibling ran the travel agency associated with the church.
A cynic might say that the main qualification for these positions was blood relations.
I may be a cynic…
Today, many of the first and second generation of CC pastors have either turned the church over to their sons or are preparing to do so.
Mike Macintosh, Greg Laurie, Skip Heitzig, Raul Ries, Joe Focht, Jon Courson, and others have already either turned over the reins or have placed their offspring in significant places already.
Dad becomes the “founding pastor”, still on the payroll and often on signage.
The son takes over the rest of duties and everyone gets fed.
Sometimes, if dad is not ready to go yet, the kids are “sent out” to start their own affiliate, the brought back when ready or when they get into trouble in the field.
So far, the jury is out on whether these heirs will be able to maintain the success of their fathers.
In at least one case there is enough dirt on one of them to keep my successor busy long after I’ve gone to my reward.
Thankfully, I had no blood children, so nepotism will not be a factor in that choice…