Tuesday, January 23, 2007

2007 SE Calvary Chapel Pastors Conference: Gayle Erwin

16 January 2007
"The Jesus Style"

Whenever we bring someone new to the pastors' conference, someone that doesn't really know his way around Calvary Chapel beyond his experience at our local Calvary, I always sit next to him when Gayle Erwin takes the stage. Before Gayle actually gets up there, before the newbie sees him, I say, "This guy's a little different." And then I shut up and look at his reaction. The guys who come from church traditions that feature tall, baritone preachers are the most fun to watch.

Gayle arrives behind the podium, short, round, bright suspenders, makes faces, and gives the characters in his stories a loud, high-pitched voice. The new guy really doesn't know what to think. The look on his face is priceless. I'm pretty sure that's the effect Gayle is going for. He definitely has everyone's attention.

We who have been around the Calvary thing a few years love Gayle. He's like my favorite uncle; the one that makes me look forward to family gatherings. He's wise and funny and makes me feel like it's ok to screw up.

Here's a few things I wrote in my notebook:

Serving is the thing that Jesus asks us to work on. Even when we have so many other areas of our lives that need improvement. Peter had plenty of things to work on but Jesus asked him to serve his brothers.

When you get a bunch of church leaders together in a room, you have and instant gathering of egos. That is unseemly. This is the exact opposite of the nature of Jesus.

Jesus did not use force.
He was not driven by selfish ambition.

Jesus made himself of no reputation
That makes me uncomfortable... I like reputation...

Jesus surrounded himself with guys that had very little skill. "World class turkeys" is the term Gayle employs...

Jesus' guys were not educational superstars. The educational system was religious and as you progressed you moved up. If you didn't move up, you were told to go get a job. All Jesus' guys had jobs. (Jesus birth announcement was made to shepherds; the most unskilled of jobs)

Bond servant; slave. Jesus took this form. This doesn't fit us in our American Culture.

Here's a good Gayle quote: "I'm not lazy. I'm just a convenience enthusiast."


1. makes life easier for someone else
2. freedom for somebody; the cost to you: bonds
3. others-centered; opposed to self-centeredness

the self-centered person; as he (me) learns more about himself (the center of everything) the more dissatisfied he becomes with himself.

the body; every part of it is a slave to the other part of the body

perfect health is perfect servanthood; when every part of your body is functioning to serve the other parts (body of Christ)

There is a medical term for when one part of the body begins to only serve itself: cancer

Jesus made like his brothers in every way.

If you're in touch with your humanity, you're in touch with every other person in the world. If I know the truth about me, I know the truth about you. If I see the truth about myself, pride shouldn't become an issue. Pride becomes an issue when I become self-deceived.

Gayle says we're all just balls of mud. This really isn't good for my self esteem.

Gayle's website: Servant Quarters


Steve Hopkins said...

I had Gale as a professor in college! We didn't learn a lot but it was the mot memorable class I ever had. After college, I fell away from the Lord for about 5 years. In a moment of Crisis I remember the image of Jesus he etched in my mind. He just didn't talk about theology, he became "Jesus to me" thru his actions; in him I saw the reality of Christ in action not words. I wrote him a letter one day to tell him I had recommitted my life to Christ and that he played a major role in that decision. Within two weeks he called me and talked to me and prayed with me over the phone. I owe a lot to Gayle. He is one of a kind. Now I am pastoring and it's his fault!

Phillip Santillan said...

oooo...thanks for the post. I was there, but I have to admit - I was too busy laughing and crying to take notes!