February 8, 2015
Calvary Chapel 2401 West Cypress Creek Road Fort Fort Lauderdale Campus (Main Campus) Lauderdale, FL 33309
Hours of Worship: (954)- 977- 9673
Wednesday: 6:30pm Saturday: 6 pm Sunday: 9am, 11am, 1pm
My Site Visit I visited Calvary Chapel, which is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Calvary Chapel is an evangelical mega church and has various locations throughout south Florida. My reason for visiting this Church is because my mom has been a devoted Christian for some time now and she has always wanted me to go with her to church on Sundays. The thing is that I really never cared too much for religion until now, hence the reason why I am taking this course in the first place. I am curious as to which religion would be right for me, so I am trying to visit plenty of different religious sites.
I went to their Sunday Service at 11 a.m. and the church was packed. It was like a huge auditorium inside of there and their service started off with about 15 minutes of singing with worship songs. Then a guest speaker arrived and preached his sermon. The guest speaker was Pastor Billy Venezia. He was covering for the main pastor who is Doug Sauder. I came to learn that this Church’s fundamental beliefs were in receiving salvation and being born again. They are a Christian group so they also believe in Jesus Christ being their savior and believe that the bible is God’s revelation to humanity. During the worship service I noticed a lot of interaction between the pastor and the crowd and sometimes the pastor would make a joke and people would even laugh. I found this shocking because I thought that the worship service would be more serious and there would be hymns sung, but not music with guitars and drums playing in the background. Evangelism is pretty big here in south Florida and there are many churches with the same beliefs down here. But the thing that makes Calvary stand out from the rest is their size and loving community that they have within the church. I felt it right from the moment when I walked into the church. There are greeters at all entrances and they hand out bibles to people in the congregation that want to follow along with the pastor during his sermon. They also have a daycare for children from as young as 6 months old to as old as 18 years old, but for the young adults age 14-18 it’s not so much a daycare but more a study group and they discuss the Bible and watch the sermon as well on a television.
Within Calvary Chapel there is not much art, symbols, or images that reflect their religion. All they really have is a big cross in the middle of their stage where the pastor preaches his sermon. Like I said before, it does not look like an ordinary Church at all, it has more of an auditorium feel to it and very modern. Also the appearance of the congregation was very laid back and casual. I didn’t expect this at all either. Of course, there were some people dressed in suits and ladies in nice Sunday dresses, but for the most part, I saw people dressed in shirts and shorts. I even saw a guy my age wearing a tank top with gym shorts and sandals, but Calvary really doesn’t seem to care too much about the person appearance when they step into their church. What Calvary seems to care about more is making sure the people in their congregation feel welcomed and comfortable, as if the church was a second home for them. I really liked that about this Church because I know that in other places, there is a strict dress code as to what you can wear to the service and what you cannot.
As for rituals performed in the service that I attended I didn’t see any. All the service really contained was worshipping in song at the beginning, then hearing the pastor’s sermon and prayer at the beginning and the end of the service. The prayer that they say at the beginning and the end is very basic nothing special to it, they pray to the Lord our Father and Jesus