113 thoughts on ““The Church That Pastor Started””

    1. The preacher boys’ mamas, of course.

      If any of those mamas are English teachers, they may be as irritated as I am by the two usage errors in the first sentence (apparently the prodution company’s motto) that appears on the screen (“Effectively reach & impact the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ”).

  1. I like when they talk about how desolate the Salton Sea area is, they make no mention of it’s history as a vacation hot spot years ago. That was up until most of the water in the lake was pumped to Los Angeles and becasue of the high content of minerals in the lake, what water remained was so brackish that all the fish died.

    1. I have been to the Salton Sea. I do not know what they are referring to when they talk about the scenery. I thought it was amazing there.

      The fish haven’t all died.
      “The fishery at the Salton Sea has been called among the most productive in the world.”

      It is down the road from Palm Springs which is still a vacation hot spot.

      1. We went there during a trip to CA a few years ago. I like geography and nature. My wife quietly puts up with detours such as this as long as I quietly put up with detours that she likes. :mrgreen:

      2. Maybe I am thinking about another inland sea in California that after the water was pumped out to LA most of the fish died.

        1. Mono Lake, perhaps? I believe there was concern that Salton Sea would become another Mono due to LA. Same thing happening because of Las Vegas’ unrestricted growth and water use.

        2. You may be thinking of Mono Lake.
          Historically, Mono Lake was the basis of the whole economy of a Native American population, but it almost disappeared in the 1970’s and 80s due to the mining of water from the area to meet the needs of Los Angeles County.

          Many other inland bodies of water in California are in roughly the same predicament.

      3. The Salton Sea is actually the basis of a very rich and fascinating ecosystem. From a naturalist’s point of view, it’s a treasure.

        It’s true that you don’t see too many sunbathing Hollywood starlets there these days. But there are other ways to have a good time.

    2. I live pretty close (within an hour or two) to Salton Sea, and have all my life. In the 50s stars and other richy people would vacation there. There is an old abandoned boat dock that is no longer in the water since the lake has evaporated so much. Not all the fish have died, but all around the edge of the water are skeletons of dead fish. Suffice to say, it smells. Bad. People still live around the lake, in fact there are even new housing developments (why anyone would want to live there is beyond me). Salton Sea is where the…interesting people live. They also like living in Ocotillo and the Slabs right outside of Niland. People do still take boats out on Salton Sea but it is really rough on boats. You’ve really got to keep the maintenance up.

  2. Why do they keep referring Chappell as just “Pastor”. It sounds like a being a god in that tone.

        1. I know some people are uncomfortable with “reverend.” They feel that that term is saying the pastor is revered when they only want to revere Christ, whereas “pastor” means shepherd and is a term used in Scripture.

          Of course, it’s silly to balk over a title if in reality one is seeking authority and power.

        2. In some places and groups, a title takes the place of a name. I’m very comfortable with “Pastor” as a reference. Some people use “Father” as a name instead of a title also.

      1. How many times did they say his last name? 2? 3? That’s just weird. I agree; it sounds very cultish. And ignorant.

        1. So because they only mentioned his last name two or three times but called him pastor the other times you think they are cultish? I call President Obama just President and only mention his last name two or three times. America must be a cult too.

        2. I’d wager you say “The President” when referring to President Obama, or whoever holds the office.

          We identify the individual with the office, but call the individual by the office’s title.

          Overall, it is a minor issue, Pastor v “the Pastor” v Pastor Chappell. But since this video is intended for folks who do not identify Chappell as their Pastor, it is a little weird given the idolatrous tendencies of the movement toward the moG.

      2. It may sound weird if you aren’t used to it, but having grown up all over the US in many different denoms, I think its fair to say that this is not an uncommon practice. I am less interested in what a pastor is called than what it means. For example, I actually heard an IFB say, “I prefer to be called Pastor, or, if you prefer, Dr. X” (His doctorate was honorary). This is a way of implying separation between layity and clergy, another practice that is not uncommon in Fundystan.

    1. The tone certainly matters, but our Lutheran congregation always called the pastor “Pastor” while he was on the job, the same way that a nurse was addressed as “Nurse” or a doctor “Doctor.”

  3. I remember watching videos like this in my Fundy church – it’s like a big, long “This is why pastor is awesome and you should obey him” speech. Blech.

    1. I’m OK with respecting a man for what he has done, but the exaltation of Paul Chappell more than Jesus Christ is sickening.

      “Pastor …” and “Pastor …” – but what about Jesus?

      1. Replace thew word “pastor” with Pope and watch these guys recoil in horror.

        Yet the need for “titles” seems worse. At least the Papacy has a historical relationship to hold on to that is now difficult to shale given the many legal ramifications. I suspect the obsession with referring to “pastor” is an affliction aimed at replicating the authoritarian tendencies of religion but without the historical continuity as a mitigating factor.

    1. …and this is why Jack Hyles (and discussion of him) is still relevant more than a decade after his death – there are too many pastors & churches following Jack Hyles’ unScriptural teachings.

        1. I come to bury Hyles, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Hyles.

          My apologies to the Bard.

        2. @Apathetic or whatever….I can understand your adversion to references made about JH and his influence on IFBdom. I have the same adversion, however, the harm he has done in American fundamentalism needs to be addressed when the toxic residual of his ministry can be connected to current church ministries.

          Reading some comments here on SFL, I’ve noticed that readers don’t realize how deep an impact his man-centered, pastor-worship, legalistic theology has shaped the IFBdom we know today. Personally, I believe the ‘red flags’ need to be flown to educate and warn those who are ignorant of these facts. There are a lot of ‘little JH’s’ in pulpits all over the United States (and that was his goal and intention) and they need to be identified for what they are.

        3. @Fundifled,
          I think you misunderstood the purpose of my post. Big Gary said that his influence has outlived him. It reminded me of that line from Shakespeare about the evil that men do living after them.

          I agree that JH has influence from beyond the grave and people should be cautioned.

        4. @Apethetic or whatever….”Pardon, I pray thee, for my mad mistaking!” And, pardon to the Bard. I thought you wanted us to keep him buried, the good and evil, and just move on, already! My mistake.

  4. The college’s subtitle says a lot about them: Training Laborers for His Harvest

    It tells me that they consider labor to be the core of what Christianity is all about. It says that their focus is on work. Soemone who glories God in a different way or is unable to labor as they do is (based upon the subtitle) going to be looked down upon.

    Christianity is about a relationship with a Person, not just toil, hoping to be accepted by Him. Jesus Christ has made me acceptable to God, not my labor.

    1. I have another question: is “His” (as in Harvest) referring to Christ or “Pastor”? Methinks, given the video above, that Pastor has the preeminence.

      1. “Methinks, given the video above, that Pastor has the preeminence.”

        He certainly does. I can’t believe I wasted so many years at that Chappell shrine of a church..

    2. This is a good point, and similar to one that I had while reading Platt’s “Radical”. What about those who aren’t? The single mom who needs government assistance to feed her kids and still works 60 hrs a week? The family of four with a stay at home mom, whose dad bags groceries just to keep them afloat? The old person in the hospital bed? The cancer survivor? The young adult with a trysomatic genetic disorder? The IFB emphasis on law and work(s) can never be the gospel.

      1. Works have their place, but it’s important to remind each other that it is God’s steadfast love that justifies and sanctifies us, not our own works, nor even our faith (faith can become just another kind of works if you let it).

  5. Contrast “Pastor” building a church with Psalm 127:1 – “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” This is just another case of the resident MOG usurping the role of God.

    1. Hey Come on, give the guy a break.

      It was, after-all the “best maintained” and “nicest” building in the town. 😉

      1. It’s well maintained because it’s a shrine to its founder, just as the little church building in Italy, Texas was for Jack Hyles.

  6. pretty sure they used the word “druggies” (an offensive and insensitive label) more than the word “jesus.” good job, christian soldiers.

    1. That stood out to me, too. 😥 Not people with addictions in need of the love of Jesus; druggies.


      1. Amen! I heard ‘druggies’ and whipped my head around to the computer screen in astonishment.

  7. A church in the “most unlikeliest of places”?

    Are there specific places where the Spirit of God is more likely to call people unto repentance and to faith in Christ?

    If the Scriptures say anything about that, then the lack of affluence we saw in the video and the description of need and poverty would suggest the area might be more likely to respond to the Gospel, not less.

    1. There seems to be a huge amount of condescension toward the people who live there in Bombay Beach. Why isn’t a small, low-income town in the desert a likely place for a church?

      Unless places that are too small and poor to sustain a megachurch don’t count.

  8. For an hour or so of “soul winning”!

    Great stuff team. Get out there for an hour or so. Win some souls. Then back on the bus for tea and medals. It’s a win-win situation.

    Door knocking too. Probably allocate an hour and a half for that. Knock on a few doors. Knockitty-knock. Might win some more souls too. Door Knocker Souls!

    Good thing the church building is the only well-maintained building in the town. Let’s not spend money maintaining the homes of the poor. A well maintained church building is proof that Jesus loves the church.

    1. They may reach some people via door knocking; I don’t resent that, but I don’t think it is terribly effective in most areas of the US these days… and I resent people trying to force everyone to do the same thing.

    2. And, who do you think drew the modern blueprint for what’s discribed in phil_style’s comment above? Thank you Dr. Jack Hyles, AGAIN!

      1. Was it really Jack Hyles? I thought that John Rice was the one that pushed that — but maybe Dr Rice pushed the “personal soul-winning” and Jack Hyles pushed the door knocking. I don’t know… anyone?

        1. I think you’re correct about Dr. Rice, after all, he was JH’s biggest hero! JH’s 1962 book, Let’s Build an Evangelistic Church, was the modern blueprint I was refering to. Doesn’t sound too modern, but I think it’s what most IFBx churches follow. Anyone????

  9. I’ve lived in SoCal all my life, know all these places well. They were going to Cathedral City? HAHA. That’s like going to Hillcrest. My dad actually preached a few times at the Bombay Beach church many moons ago. Salton Sea is pretty nasty. I don’t know why anyone would choose to live there. But they have new housing developments. The houses are only like $40k, brand-new, because there’s no demand at all to live out there.

  10. I could pick at the fundiness of the video as well.

    But more than that, I’m delighted that the “lady” had a burden for souls in her community, and reached out for help, and that someone responded to this call and dedicated themselves to the cause of Christ.

    But guess what? God didn’t send them some sort of perfect super-saint! (there are none, btw) He sent a simple, perhaps legalistic, sinful man!

    I thank God that he did! Folks, God isn’t looking for perfect, sinless servants, He’s looking for WILLING servants!

    1. Especially willing “servants” who make sure that the church building is the only well maintained building in the town.

    2. Willing servants with false humility? 😐

      I have problems when the servant is praised more than the Master he is supposedly serving.

      1. “Willing servants with false humility?
        I have problems when the servant is praised more than the Master he is supposedly serving.”


    3. @greg – yes, I am thankful for those ladies, and for someone responding to the call/need in the area.

      Not very thankful that it has become more about the man than about Jesus Christ.

    4. I disagree. When the Pharisees were promoting their warped version of the religion delivered at Sinai, Jesus didn’t say, “Well at least you are trying!” I think he said something about whitewashed tombs. So, no, I am not thankful for the false religion of fundamentalism or their works.

  11. Someone should tell the spokesboy that his attempts to make his forehead look smaller by drawing a horizontal line acros it with a marker are not working.

    Okay, I have to go do penance for that comment now …

    1. Hahahaha. So, I wasn’t the only one. I couldn’t stop looking at his forehead and that horizontal line! All I kept thinking was, “man that is one XL forehead!” What I like to call a FIVE-head 😉

      If only we could do penance together over a tall cold one. I’m sure we’d have quite a few laughs.

  12. The screen grab at the top of the article makes me wonder what Phoebe from Friends was doing teaching Sunday School in Bombay Beach.

  13. Are Burdens and visions contagious?
    They kept catching burdens and visions.

    Imagine all those suited preacher boys being exposed to real life.

    What does, “a heart for souls” mean? Can the soul be separated from the person? I guess it’s cleaner to deal with the soul only that way you don’t have to deal with all the nastiness involved with real people and all. 🙄

    1. The old trick of reducing people to this nebulous “soul” means you can ignore their embodied needs like food, water, shelter, health care and education!

      It’s pure* genius.

      * “pure” can be interchangeably substituted for “evil” in certain unspecified instances.

      1. What you say could well be true, but originally, the term “soul” was used, I understood, to remind Christians that everyone had an eternal soul that was going to spend eternity someplace.

    2. Yes! I was just about to comment on that – “a heart for souls”. How about a heart for people? It’s like souls are some sort of tag you take from people, like a scavenger hunt: you grab it, you move on.

  14. ” A sign of salvation is the last time you claimed a promise from the word of God.” Tobi England-that guy preaching on the bus

    1:46-1:53 “The church was really started because of the burden of two ladies on the beach wanted to start a ministry.” -Rick Houk You can’t start a ministry and go to the beach! There nudity there! Nudity and brazen hussies!

    2:12-2:29 “Pay attention to how long it takes you to get there, because he drove from San Demis every weekend for two to three years.” You have to crawl on your hands and knees in a three piece suit the whole way for ten years to sacrifice as much as the pastor did!

    2:40-2:49″The other reason we went on this trip was because we wanted to give the fellas a burden for church planting” Bunch of ungodly slacker weren’t burdened enough!

    2:50 When you go out there you’re not going for the scenery you’re going for the people. That what made that church, not the scenery it was the people who were saved under pastor’s ministry and my ministry. It was a great ministry.” You can only hope to be so great and sucessful!

    It’s hot weather and there packed in a bus, but they’re wearing suits! 😀

    7:00-7:03″The way God has used Pastor Chappell has always challenged me” It should challenge you to or something is wrong with you!

    7:04-7:07 “There’s always a root before you have fruit” It’s like the pre-programmed cliches of Brave New World.

    1. “… he drove from San Demis every weekend for two to three years.”

      Now that’s what I call martyrdom! What’s being killed, imprisoned, tortured or exiled for the faith, compared to having a long commute?

    2. Not that I’m defending this nonsense at all, but I believe the guy’s phrase on the bus is “Outside of salvation, when is the last time….”

  15. I strongly believe that we should share our faith with unbelievers and tell them that there is a God Who deeply loves them. But when I was in Lancaster I felt a wall, a resistance, when they would talk about soulwinning. But as I have said before, LBC seems to be more concerned about building the ministry than they are about building people.

    Once when getting some advice from a staff member he said to me “Jason, Pastor does not think you like him.”
    “Why?” I asked
    “Because after church you don’t get in line, shake his hand and tell him what a great job he is doing. That could be the key to him giving you a good recommendation to work at a church somewhere.”

    If that is the key why did I bother to study so hard? What is the use of studying and playing by the rules when the key to getting into the ministry is just buttering up to the right people?

  16. Did anyone else notice that the word “independent” was spelled “independant” near the end?

  17. Got the definite idea of the idea was to make Bombay Beach / Salton Sea area to look as bad as possible in this video. Probably to make the “sacrifice” Paul Chappell did in planting a church there, and the students did in going there, look like as much of a “sacrifice” as possible.

    My hubby was born in the Salton Sea area, in Brawley. I went there a few years ago; it is NOT impressive, what with the stagnant water and the smell of dead fish, but it is rather interesting. And as far as the heat and the poverty; well, I live in poor rural area in the Arizona desert, so I say what heat and what poverty? 🙂

    1. Yeah, I live in the southern tip of Texas, which is, per capita, the poorest area in the entire United States, and meteorologically speaking, the warmest, so “What heat?” “What poverty?”

    2. Beth and Gary, Arizona and South Texas would have been worse in heat and poverty had the moG chosen – I mean been called to – that area to start his – I mean God’s – magnificent work among the heathen. We know this because God never wants you to serve where you are as you are, but in the most miserable and horrible circumstances possible, and always in a tie and suit coat.

  18. They were sent on a field trip so they could witness how their most amazing pastor started his first church when he was a mere 18 years of age…and hoping to catch a vision for their own futures.

    “if I can but touch the hem of his garment..”

    🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄

    (looking for barfing emoticon)

    1. wow…nice imagery. “the hem of the garment” one not the barf emoticon, though I’d be interested in that as well.

  19. man this is depressing. “the church is the nicest building in the town,” a major backhanded insult to everyone’s house.

    1. If the church is the nicest building in town, somebody’s spending money in the wrong place!

    2. That statement reminds me a lot of the cathedrals that were built in Europe – nicest building in town, nevermind the hovels the serfs had to live in.

  20. I love how they couldn’t let the poor dopes take off their ties in a bus that had no air conditioning on a hot day.

    1. Yeah, I noticed that too. Was that for the video’s sake? At least some wore colored shirts, or they’d look like a bus full of Mormons.

  21. I was a student at WCBC when they took this trip. I respectfully passed on the opportunity to take a ride through the desert on a rickety, old school bus. This raised questions in my room leader’s mind regarding the validity of my devotion to Christ. The fact that he took this trip raised questions in my mind about HIS devotion to Christ.

    1. After seeing that video, I’d say it was more about one’s devotion to the glory of Pastor and of WCBC.

    2. One thing about Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College: They seem to specialize it setting up man-made rules and judging your spirituality and love for Christ by whether or not you follow them.

      They claim Christianity…but it doesn’t mean what they think it means.

      1. They are so pious and so full of “look at us, we’re awesome.” Just another checklist-Christianity place. Sick. And sad that so many young people fall all over themselves pleasing a man, the man Christ Je—oops, I meant Paul Chappell.

  22. “To Pas-tor be the Glor-ry
    Great things he hath done.
    These folks needed a church
    So He gave them one.

    This yiel-ded his le-gend
    Began his min-is-try
    And now all his preacher-boys
    Can go there to see.

    Praise Chappell
    Praise Chappell
    Let these boys hear his voice
    Praise Chappell
    Praise Chappell
    Bombay Beach folks rejoice

    Oh come to the Chap-el
    Nice-st building in town
    Filled up with the souls
    in Paul Chappell’s crown

  23. Worship of the church building always gets me. “The church was the nicest building in the community.” What on earth for? Why wring money out of people (especially people on a FIXED INCOME) to make the least-used building in the area the nicest? What about those homes that whole families, many with small children or elderly people who would be more prone to sickness, use every single day? 👿

    1. Oh, and the endless fundraising this pastor does to build his current church/kingdom!!!

      1. You’re so right about that. They’re building yet another addition. There is just one continuous project going on at that church or school.

        1. Paul Chappell once won a sabbatical (from a mighty liberal organization, I might add) by submitting his 15 year building plan to the organization.

          That plan has something like 20 phases…it is insane. Drains people dry.

  24. In 1999, I visited an IFB church once in South Carolina. It was called Grace Baptist Church. I thought, a church named for grace has got to have something going for it. Or so I thought. The regular preacher was away that Sunday, so they had a guest preacher-boy missionary to preach. I introduced myself as new in town to begin teaching soon at a local college. . . . I became the subject of the sermon. They never saw me again.

  25. I’ve been mulling over why this particular post sticks in my craw. I think it’s because we have no proof that Bombay Beach needs what they’re providing.

    A few years ago, my local paper ran a letter to the editor from a Minnesota couple who had come to town for some kind of fundamentalist or fundamentalist-flavored church event. They spoke with horror and pity of the hollow-eyed, desperate, lifeless, loveless, Godless pit of a town they had landed in. Locals guffawed over the letter. When you walk along the waterfront of a working fishing port in a snowless part of the winter, it’s going to be gray and grimy. When you walk into a bar that advertises itself, in golden letters six inches high no less, as “The Biggest Navigational Hazard in Town,” it’s going to be a dive. If you’re there shortly after they open on a weekday, the ratio of alcoholics to people who have their lives together is going to be rather high. Since the non-alcoholics are probably fishermen waiting for the boat to go out, they are not going to be wearing suits and ties either. And if you strike up a conversation with the emaciated, hollow-eyed, over/underdressed woman who plops herself down next to you and leans into your husband’s personal space, she is going to offer to trade sex for cocaine.

    I think it was the same year that a bunch of Europeans got to tour the tundra and pass through a Native village with the usual dirt street, potentially useful stuff stored in the yard, etc., and the tourists said shocked things about the grinding poverty they witnessed. I looked at the same photos and saw expensive doodads everywhere you looked. But it wasn’t a pretty village, you see.

    So how desperate are they in Bombay Beach, and how much of the perceived need is the lack of well-groomed suburban lawns?

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