Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale

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Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
Location2401 W. Cypress Creek Rd, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
DenominationNon-denominational Calvary Chapel
Weekly attendanceOver 25,000[1]
FoundedJuly 1985
Founder(s)Bob Coy
Senior pastor(s)Doug Sauder (2014–present)
Bob Coy (1985-2014)
CalvaryChapel FortLauderdaleLogo.png

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale (CCFL) is an evangelical, charismatic megachurch in Florida, with over 20,000 worshipers attending on average.[1] Founded in 1985 by Bob Coy and his wife Diane, it is affiliated with the Calvary Chapel movement. CCFL is currently led by Pastor Doug Sauder.[2]

In addition to its main campus, CCFL has nine regional campus locations, also in Florida: Plantation, Hollywood, Boca Raton, Florida Keys (Tavernier), West Boca, Boynton Beach, Naples, North Lauderdale, Midtown (Wilton Manors),[3] and a new campus in North Miami (Miami Gardens) planned for opening in Fall 2018. Combined, these nine regional locations minister to over 25,000 on a weekly basis via video simulcast.[4]


In 1980, a 24-year-old Bob Coy left the Las Vegas music industry to become an associate pastor in that city's Calvary Chapel. Five years later, Coy headed to South Florida, and founded Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.[5]

As years went on, CCFL's location changed from on the Fort Lauderdale beach, to a funeral home, a storefront behind Albertsons, and a warehouse.

In 1999, CCFL relocated to a 75-acre (30 ha) tract of land formerly owned by Harris Corporation, which now has a 3,800 seat sanctuary, children and youth ministries, and includes a skateboard park.[6]

In October 2003, CCFL sued Broward County for $1 for its initial refusal to allow the church to display a large cross and sign reading "Jesus is the reason for the season" in a 2-mile (3.2 km) holiday lights attraction at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, which drew around 250,000 visitors each year.[7] Calvary won the suit the next month and was allowed to display the message.[8]

In April 2014, Senior Pastor Bob Coy resigned after confessing to an admitted struggle with adultery and an addiction to pornography.[5][9] The following month, Doug Sauder was nominated to take Coy's place, and then confirmed by the board of directors to be the new lead pastor for Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. In response to the nomination, the church body and those familiar with Pastor Doug Sauder's spiritual character and competency responded with unanimous support and enthusiasm.[10]

Founder Bob Coy speaking at a CCFL service

Affiliated ministries[edit]


Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale's mission statement is to "make disciples", coming from the Bible verse Matthew 28:19. Another mission statement of the church is to connect people to God, connect people to people, and connect people to outreach.

"Our Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of the Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our lead pastor and the board of directors is the Church's final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application."[11]

CCFL believes that the Bible is the foundation of Christianity and inspired by God. The church believes in the Holy Trinity and that the only way to get into Heaven is by getting "saved" through Jesus Christ.

The church also believes that the act of baptism is not required to become a Christian but does support baptism as a proclamation to the public that a person is saved through Christ.

Pastor Doug Sauder personally expressed support for vaccination against COVID-19 and used Calvary Church's reputation and access to large audiences to promote vaccine education and debunk conspiracies and superstition surrounding the vaccine.[12]


Child sex abuse[edit]

In 2004, a 13-year-old girl was adopted through Calvary Chapel's 4KIDS adoption agency following the death of her mother and surrender of custody of her father, who lived in a halfway house also operated by the church. Her adoptive parents, who were also her aunt and uncle and church members, sent her to Calvary Christian Academy. Her uncle, Rodger Allen Thomas,[13] regularly visited her at Calvary Christian Academy as he continued to groom her for sexual abuse that occurred in the family home when she was 16 years old. In 2008, Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale and Calvary Christian Academy faced a multimillion-dollar lawsuit [14] The case was dismissed because the abuse occurred in the family home by a family member.

In January 2019, Jesus Mendez, Jr., a Calvary Christian Academy IT worker was arrested on child pornography charges.[15] Mendez worked for the private school associated with the church for two years prior to his arrest and consequential firing; no evidence that children at Calvary Christian Academy were mistreated was revealed.[16] Mendez later changed his not guilty plea to plead nolo contendere.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Megachurch search results–Florida". Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014. Average attendance: 18,521; denomination: Calvary Churches
  2. ^ "Redirect". Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  3. ^ "Contact". Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. Archived from the original on July 20, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  4. ^ "Calvary Chapel Service Times". Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Nolin, Robert (April 6, 2014). "Calvary Chapel pastor Bob Coy resigns over 'moral failing'". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "Ramp 48 Indoor Skatepark". Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  7. ^ "Church suit accuses county of censorship". St. Petersburg Times. October 24, 2003. Archived from the original on March 3, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  8. ^ Wire Report (November 22, 2003). "Florida church can display Jesus sign in county park". First Amendment Center. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "Megachurch pastor resigns, citing 'moral failing'". CNN. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014. The senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale has resigned after confessing to cheating on his wife, according to WPLG Miami. Pastor Bob Coy, 58, reportedly confessed a "moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church" to Calvary leaders on Wednesday. A board meeting was called the next day, when he resigned.
  10. ^ "Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale |". Archived from the original on May 11, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "Calvary Chapel Statement of Faith" (PDF).
  12. ^ Fleshler, David (April 11, 2021). "Vaccine divides religious groups - Evangelicals among most likely to reject COVID-19 shots - CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  13. ^ "Case Detail - Public State: State of Florida vs. Thomas, Rodger Allen. Broward County Case Number 06011728CF10A". November 26, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ Burstein, Jon (May 18, 2008). "Fort Lauderdale Church Denies Fault in Lawsuit That Alleges Sex Abuse of Girl on Campus". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  15. ^ Roustan, Wayne (January 17, 2019). "Calvary Christian Academy staffer accused of having child pornography". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  16. ^ Neal, David (January 18, 2019). "pembroke pines - IT worker at private school admits - to downloading - and enjoying child pornography, cops say". Miami Herald, The. pp. 5A. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  17. ^ "Case Detail - Public: State of Florida vs. Mendez, Jesus-- Broward County Case Number 19000767CF10A". November 26, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]