While many churches in Palm Beach County are either shrinking or closing their doors, Calvary Church in Jupiter, Florida is bursting at the seams and beginning the process of building a new sanctuary that could break ground as early as February, 2017.
Although the roots of Calvary Church are in Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale, Calvary Church is independent. Like their predecessor, the focus is on teaching the Word of God. Straight out of the Scriptures. Every Sunday.
Senior Pastor, Dan Plourde and his wife are busy people, guiding a thriving congregation and raising eleven children. Pastor Dan often speaks of his humble beginnings, his difficult childhood, and his lengthy but worthwhile wait for his beautiful wife. His denominational background is conservative Baptist and charismatic Church of God. While in seminary, he was told, “You can do anything as the pastor of a church, and most congregations will be accepting and forgiving, except teach the Bible.” He set out to challenge that statement.
“We exist to help people grow in their relationship with Jesus through the teaching of God’s Word.”
Calvary Church “exists to help people grow in their relationship with Jesus through the teaching of God’s Word,” as they declare in their mission statement. Their teaching each week is a Bible lesson, as Pastor Dan Plourde takes each verse apart, exploring it, explaining it and applying it to life today. It’s not always joyous, feel good preaching. He preaches on topics that many pastors today won’t touch: the balance of grace and obedience, integrity in finances, the sanctity of marriage, sexual purity, and the danger of pornography. Things that make people uncomfortable. But they are coming back. In droves. Two weeks ago 1,470 people came to hear the Word of God preached at Calvary Church.
Preaching straight from the Word of God and delivering a Bible lesson each week is not the only unconventional practice at Calvary Church. They don’t take collection. If you want make a donation, you have to search out a donation box at the back of the church, and an uncommon percentage of what they collect is given away. With an annual budget of $2.5 million, they give over 13% to global missions and community outreach.
The activities they engage in are also out of the box for most churches. They have a thriving singles ministry. Their ladies’ luncheons have been known to include a trip to the shooting range to learn how to fire a gun. They have church-wide sleepovers: every year the entire church is invited to spend the weekend camping at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness.
Just a few years ago, they had one humble building and two services. Now they are crowded into several buildings, sitting on seven acres of land that they purchased in 2012, and preparing to build a new sanctuary.
The building is on target to have final a zoning hearing in June. By mid-May they hope to be contacting architects to do schematic drawings which would then be used for obtaining contractor bids. From July to August they will begin obtaining contractor bids which will allow them to move forward in obtaining financial underwriting for the project. Once the finances are underwritten, they will commission the architects to produce construction documents and then choose the contractor.