Win the Lost, Equip the Saints, Send the Servants

Rich’s Story


I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. As a child I remember being taken to Sunday School. I also have fond memories of sitting in church with my parents, as my dad would draw pictures of airplanes on offering envelopes to keep me occupied. When I was in the seventh grade, my family started going to the local Baptist church, and it was there that I first began to understand the gospel. I opened my heart to Jesus in the spring of 1970. Because I was a good kid and grew up in a nice home, there weren’t a lot of huge changes in my life, but I knew that Jesus was real.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

When I was a sophomore in high school, a girlfriend took me to a prayer meeting at a charismatic church, and I found myself baptized in the Holy Spirit. I had never heard of such a thing, but there I was, a Baptist kid speaking in tongues and falling in love with Jesus like never before. It was the height of the Jesus movement, and I became one of those “Jesus freaks” on my high school campus wearing a cross around my neck, carrying my Bible everywhere, and talking about Jesus.

God’s Calling & Marriage

At the end of my senior year in high school, while attending a summer youth camp, I clearly understood that God was calling me to be a pastor. Because of the church I was in, I started down the Baptist road towards ministry. I was a youth pastor for six years as I made my way through college (Cal State Fullerton, Music), and seminary (Talbot Theological Seminary). Along the way, I fell in love with a gal named Debby, who had been in my youth group. We dated off and on for a year (she’ll tell you that I broke up with her twice).  We were engaged for a year (I asked her to marry me at a summer youth camp where we were counselors).  We married after I finished college.

Move to Calvary Chapel

Around the time I graduated from seminary, things became a little shaky at my home church when our Senior Pastor left to take a position within the denomination. We loved our old pastor, and frankly, the only reason I was a Baptist was because of him. Without him being around, I had a hard time thinking that I’d fit in the Baptist tradition. It took a little over a year to sort things out, but in the end, we decided to leave our Baptist roots behind and do something I had always dreamed of. To tell you the truth, I always loved Calvary Chapel. In high school I remember going down to the concerts at the tent in Costa Mesa. As a youth pastor, I’d take my kids down to Calvary Chapel for concerts and Bible Studies. I always ran my little youth group like a Calvary Chapel with our style of worship and the importance of teaching the Word. So we decided to make the break with the denomination.

I talked with Pastor Romaine at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and he counseled me to get a job to support my family and start attending Calvary Chapel. So, in 1982, we said goodbye to our Baptist family, I got a job as a bank teller in Newport Beach, and we started commuting to Costa Mesa for church. Now to tell you the truth, having come from a medium-size church, we had a hard time figuring out how to fit into a huge church like Calvary. We didn’t realize how important it was to get involved in a small group. My pride had a tough time when Pastor Chuck suggested that I teach a Sunday School class — at the time “Children’s Ministry” seemed so far “beneath” me. Boy, did I have a lot to learn about being a servant!

Calvary Chapel Anaheim

We eventually started visiting some of the smaller Calvaries in the area and eventually ended up at Calvary Chapel Anaheim, where Mark Bove is the pastor. Mark has a wonderful gift of teaching, and we felt like we had found our new home. I started getting involved in the church, teaching a home Bible Study, and helping with the worship team. After a couple of years Mark asked me to be one of his assistant pastors. Guess what my main job was at the church? Children’s Ministry! God sure has a sense of humor. I was privileged and honored to help Mark for over eight years. When you’ve been called to be a Senior Pastor, there comes a time when you have to step out and do what you’ve been called to do. Though Deb and I were willing to go to anywhere, Pastor Mark suggested that we simply start a church to the north in Fullerton, the town I grew up in. The elders at Calvary Anaheim voted unanimously that this was the right thing to do.

Calvary Chapel of Fullerton

We began a two-month transition that ended with our first Calvary Fullerton service being held on Sunday, November 20, 1994 in the gymnasium of the Fullerton YMCA. Since that first cold, fall morning and going through both joyful and difficult times, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than loving God’s people and teaching them God’s amazing Word.

Since those early days we’ve moved around a bit.  The church moved to the “Ice House” for a few years, then to a Lutheran Church for about fifteen years.

In January, 2019, after 25 years of ministry at Calvary Fullerton, we handed off the role of Senior Pastor to Caleb Beller, a young man raised up within our church.