Home > Church Visits > Calvary of Albuquerque Metro Santa Fe Satellite Campus

Calvary of Albuquerque Metro Santa Fe Satellite Campus

Calvary of Albuquerque, the second-largest of the churches in the Calvary Chapel network, has recently started two satellite campuses: the downtown Metro Calvary [link], which meets at the El Rey Theater in downtown Albuquerque, and Metro Santa Fe [link], which currently meets in one of the theaters at the DeVargas Mall.

I don’t know why Calvary is doing this, exactly, but I can hazard a guess. Santa Fe was formerly home to a vibrant Calvary Chapel with a local pastor. The church went through some leadership changes, and ended up dropping its Calvary Chapel affiliation. This left Santa Fe without a Calvary Chapel and vice versa, and there were more than a handful of people in the Santa Fe area that wanted a Calvary Chapel church experience. Some of them, I suppose, make the hour-long drive to Albuquerque; and I’ve heard rumors that more than a handful are doing the forty-minute drive to Espanola/Arroyo Seco to Truth Ministries Calvary Chapel [link]. I can only assume there was a similar desire for a Calvary experience in downtown Albuquerque; I really don’t know.

This past Sunday we popped in and out at the theater. My smallest traveling companion was restless enough that we couldn’t stay for the whole service. I would guess there were fifty or sixty adults present, watching Skip Heitzig live on the movie screen. I saw more than a handful of familiar faces from my time at Calvary, and noted that the two small groups listed are headed by people who were part of the core of the church ten years ago.

I have to admit I don’t “get” Skip Heitzig and I don’t understand the appeal of hearing him week after week. While he occasionally has something profound to say, his sermons follow a formula so faithfully that once you’ve heard five or six you could probably write one yourself: two major points, each with three or so subpoints, typically a verse of Scripture each, with an array of illustrations, each of which is introduced by a transition so abrupt as to be jarring. Also, Skip is a devotee of the “precocious youngster” anecdote. I have found the overall effect to be kind of numbing.

My traveling companion also pointed out that he seems to be speaking to himself, without much regard for his audience. He doesn’t really connect with the audience, and as a result the net effect is like watching television. Maybe that’s why people are happy to watch him on a screen. I don’t know.

The text was John 14:7-11, and the sermon title was “How Can I Know God?” The major points were “Roadblocks to Knowing God” (v. 7&8) and Resources for Knowing God (v. 9-11). There was a teaching handout with room for notes; given that we were sitting in the dark it was kind of hard to take notes, so I don’t have much to add here.

Toward the end of the month the Santa Fe group is moving to a permanent location on Clark Rd [link], where I believe they are taking over the space formerly occupied by Blaze Christian Fellowship, another ex-Calvary group that recently relocated to a business park on the south side. We’re looking forward to visiting them again when we’re better able to sit through an entire service. Watch this space for a fuller account then.

  1. May 10, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I hear him on the rsdio here in So. Cal., once in a while.

    I don’t “get” him, either.

  2. May 10, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    About 10 years ago I went to a Greg Laurie “Preach the Word” conference in So Cal. Skip was slotted to speak about dynamic preaching. I’d never heard of him before, and truth be told, I left the session he taught and wondered how this guy was speaking with the likes of John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, and Alistair Begg. Hey, it must connect with some folks…just not me.

  3. centorian
    May 11, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I don’t get multi-sites at all. While I don’t know the details about Blaze Christian Fellowship of Santa Fe, most “ex-Calvary” churches still retain the flavor and substance of what would normally be considered Calvary Chapel. Why not get involved with that fellowship instead of going to the movies to watch a guy who as you said, “speaks to himself”? Maybe it’s popcorn, but most likely , the kool-aid.

    • May 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      I believe Blaze is Acts 29 now.

      I’m hoping to go back and visit again when they’re in their new space. I am not sure the degree to which they’re a local fellowship and the degree to which they’re watching a television show together. There are small groups, as I mentioned. I have no idea how long they’ve been meeting, etc.

      Santa Fe is a tough church town; the history of Calvary Chapel here is fairly complicated, and I can understand why someone accustomed to the Calvary style might want to continue attending a Calvary. That being said, I don’t entirely understand why someone accustomed to the former Calvary Santa Fe would want to attend a Calvary Albuquerque video church.

      • centorian
        May 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm

        I’ve seen ex-Calvary go A29 before, either being in the Network or holding hands with them…. not a bad thing in itself, but an interesting thing to watch non-the-less. I understand that being completely independent is not good for marketing purposes.

  4. thinking
    May 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    The Calvary Chapel in Santa Fe was left a shambles about 10 years ago by the pastor, who was having an affair with the daughter (in college) of one of the elders. It was an utter disgrace and a devastating blow to that church, which had been vibrant. Since then, not much has happened in the way of restoring the church back to what it once was.

  1. May 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm
  2. May 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm

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