A native of Southern California, Heitzig has three siblings (his brother, Bob, died in a motorcycle accident in 1975).
He's been described as a former marijuana smoking surfer dude. Heitzig was witnessed to by a friend, Gino Geraci, senior pastor of Calvary South Denver. Shortly after this experience, Heitzig began to study under Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.
His early training in radiology was through UCLA which included an internship program at San Bernardino County Medical Center in San Bernardino, California. In 1981, Heitzig married his wife, Lenya, and together, they moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to continue his work in the medical field. Together, they have one son, Nathan.
In 1982, Heitzig began a home Bible study that eventually grew into Calvary of Albuquerque. In 1988 and 1989, Calvary of Albuquerque was listed as one of the fastest growing churches in America. In 2009, Calvary of Albuquerque was listed as one of the 15 largest churches in America with an average weekend attendance of 13,000.
After a brief pastorate in San Juan Capistrano (Ocean Hills, 2004-2006), Heitzig returned to Calvary of Albuquerque as senior pastor in 2006, following the resignation of the previous pastor, Pete Nelson.
Presently, Heitzig serves on several Boards of Directors, including Samaritan's Purse.
Each year, Heitzig hosts a week-long seminar of teachings at The Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center in North Carolina. He is also a frequent guest speaker at Franklin Graham Festivals and Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie.
Heitzig attended Victor Valley Community College in California and UCLA to gain his degree in radiology.
Heitzig has been publicly criticized and inaptly accused for totalitarian leadership and a lack of fiscal accountability in connection with his 2004 departure from then Calvary Chapel Albuquerque. With the false accusations dismissed, Heitzig continues to pastor the largest church in New Mexico and one of the largest, bible-believing churches in America.
Publishing and media
Heitzig is the author of several books and booklets. Of his noted works:
- How To Study the Bible and Enjoy It (Tyndale House, 1996)
- Jesus Up Close (Tyndale House, 2001)
- When God Prays (Tyndale House, 2003).
- Encounter: Face 2 Face with Jesus (Bridge-Logos, 2009).
- GodPrint (Bridge-Logos, 2009).
- The Daily God Book (Tyndale House, 2010).
- Homeland Security (Bridge-Logos, 2010).
- You Can Understand the Book of Revelation (Harvest House Publishers, 2011)
- Defying Normal (Worthy Books, 2015).
- The Bible from 30,000 Feet (Harvest House Publishers, 2017).
As a musician, songwriter, and producer, Heitzig has been featured on several musical projects. Of note:
- Lively Hearts (1999)
- Everywhere I Go (2000)
TV and documentaries
Heitzig hosted the video documentary Epicenter (Tyndale 2007), with author, Joel C. Rosenberg, as well as the documentary The Jesus Boat (2009). In 2010, Heitzig released two additional documentaries, Shattered and Riptide. Additionally, Heitzig has been a featured guest on several documentaries and video teachings, including A Venture in Faith with Chuck Smith (1990).
- Miller, Donald E. (1999). Reinventing American Protestantism. University of California Press. pp. 157–159. ISBN 978-0-520-21811-6. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- Powderly, K. G., Jr (2002). One Faith-Many Transitions. iUniverse. p. 394. ISBN 978-0-595-24920-6. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Gino Geraci". Retrieved 2018-05-20.
- Harvest, WFT Publishers, 1995
- Skip Heitzig, skipheitzig.com
- The Almanac of the Christian World. Tyndale House Publishers. 1988–1989.
- "100 Largest U.S. Churches". Outreach Magazine. 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- "Calvary reunion: New Mexico megachurch pastor returns after leadership conflict". Christianity Today. October 1, 2006. Retrieved 2008-11-02.Christianity Today, October 2006
- "Unaccountable at Calvary Chapel". Christianity Today. May 8, 2006. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Calvary Reunion: Skip Heitzig Returns to N.M". Christianity Today. September 28, 2006. Retrieved 2010-08-30.Christianity Today, September 2006
- Jesus Up Close, Tyndale 2001
- Connection Radio, connectionradio.org
- His Channel, hischannel.com
- The History of a Modern Hymn, Assist News, October 2008