Meet our Pastor, Pastor Peter, who has been involved in ministry for over 25 years. He was raised in a loving Christian home with loving parents that made sure he received a firm foundation at a very young age. Growing up in a small church in Los Angeles called “Fellowship of German Believers,” Peter started to understand and believe who Jesus Christ was early on in life. At the age of 11 he surrendered his life to Christ at an annual summer church camp and was baptized shortly thereafter, publicly proclaiming to all the inner work that Jesus had done within his own heart. During the next seven years Peter was involved heavily in the youth program of his church and was ultimately asked to take on the leadership roll as the church’s youth leader.
But during those years the pull youth peer pressure started to have an effect on his walk with the Lord. Pastor Peter shares that the pull of all things from outside the church, especially at school started to take a toll on his relationship with Christ. The progression was gradual, but the fire inside his heart slowly grew dim. The love he felt in serving the Lord gradually grew faint as the years went by.
Then at the age of 17, Pastor Peter went to Hume Lake Christian Camp in the summer of 1974. It was there that the Lord grabbed Pastor Peter’s heart once again, and for the next 4 years he served the Lord wholeheartedly. But then the pull of career and moving ahead in this world took another toll on his relationship with God. As Peter moved forward in his career choices, God really took a back seat in his life. Peter stopped going to church, stopped reading the Bible, and started embracing the lies of the enemy, namely that if you make lots of money you will live a happy life. Pastor Peter started smoking and living his life without so much as even giving thanks for the food during meal times.
Pastor Peter shares, “It was like God no longer existed in my life, He was not that important to me during this time in my life. God never left me during those times. I always felt the difference between right and wrong yet I was still able to push away the Holy Spirits convictions in my life.”
Finally God allowed Pastor Peter to get to the bottom in his life, and he lost everything. Lost his home, car and the one thing which allowed him to obtain all that he needed to live the life he thought was so wonderful. And that one thing was his Job. He experienced a complete loss of income with no replacement job insight.
“Losing my income was the best thing that ever happened to me” said Pastor Peter, for he had to file bankruptcy and start his life all over again. It was at that time in his life when God was finally able to once and for all grab hold of his heart. “During this low in my life I remember my roommate inviting me to go to church,” Peter said. But oh, how he fought the pull of the Holy Spirit calling him to go to church that day. But just as his roommate was walking out the door, Pastor Peter called out to him, “Wait, I’ll go with you!”
Pastor Peter ended up at Calvary Chapel of South Bay in Torrance California. “I remember being glued to my seat listening to what the Pastor was saying.” Pastor Peter recalls that Pastor Steve Mays, the Sr. Pastor, was giving a message on forgiveness and how God never gives up on us. “That was exactly what I needed to hear at this point in my life,” said Pastor Peter. “I needed to be reminded that God never gave up on me—it was I that gave up on Him.”
The tears flowed that day as Pastor Peter once and for all surrendered his will to his Lord and Savior, Jesus. From that moment on the Spirit grabbed hold of a willing vessel and changed his life to be used in service for Him. Throughout the years Pastor Peter served in many different capacities in the ministry. He served on the worship team and was also involved with the sound ministry of the church.
After three years of serving at Calvary Chapel South Bay, Pastor Peter was approached by Pastor Steve and asked if he would consider coming on staff assisting him with the recording and producing of “The Light of The Word” radio ministry. “I was floored,” said Pastor Peter. “In my wildest dreams I never dreamed that I would be on staff at a church.” But Pastor Peter needed to make a decision soon because at that time he was self-employed as a computer network engineer. His yellow page ad needed to be renewed but he did not want to renew it if he was going to go on staff at the church.
Peter said that he was praying and praying but simply didn’t receive an answer from the Lord as to what he should do. The Yellow Page ad was due on a Monday, and on the Sunday before Peter needed to make his decision for his Yellow Page ad, he said he felt that the Lord give him the answer he was waiting for.
Peter recalled, “I was doing sound that Sunday and making sure all was running smoothly for service. It was time for the scripture reading, which I am seldom able to look at on the screen because of my concentration on everything going on in the sound room. But that Sunday God really impressed upon my heart to look up at the screen. When I did I saw this verse on the screen.”
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
“Right then and there a peace came over me that to this day I cannot explain. I started weeping uncontrollably and I knew right then and there that I was to abandon my business and come on staff at Calvary Chapel South Bay.”
Peter said that this was another wonderful thing that happened in his life. Pastor Peter grew in the knowledge and service of his Lord and never once regretted the calling which God had placed on his life. After being on staff for approximately three months, Pastor Peter was asked to participate in the pastoral classes held by Pastor Steve. “I remember asking myself, why do they want me in the Pastor’s classes? I’m not a pastor. I’m just doing the radio ministry production. I don’t really have what it takes nor do I have a desire to be a Pastor.”
But God had a different plan. Deep down inside, Pastor Peter knew that this was what God wanted him to do at this time. He went into the classes and participated in the studies that where given throughout the years. “I learned so much,” said Pastor Peter. “It was like my eyes were opened to the scriptures on a level that I never thought possible.”
As the years progressed Pastor Peter’s desire for ministry also changed. He knew that God was calling him to be a pastor, but did not know how to let Pastor Steve know. Then one day at a Pastor’s retreat in the mountains, God opened up that door. Peter shares how Pastor Steve just came right out and asked him during a conversation: “Do you want to be a pastor?” Peter answered yes and was ordained that year as an Associate Pastor at Calvary Chapel South Bay. Pastor Peter served at Calvary Chapel South bay for approximately 12 years in total until the Lord impressed upon his heart to move on.“
I did not know what was happening in my heart but I knew I needed to leave South Bay,” said Pastor Peter. The decision was a difficult one, and even more difficult was sharing with his Pastor of 12 years that he needed to move on. “It was the most difficult decision in my life, but I knew that it was the decision that needed to take place.”
Ultimately Pastor Peter and his family packed up all they owned and moved up to Northern California to a little town called Jackson. There were no ministry opportunities in sight so Pastor Peter and his wife opened up a small diner to provide an income for their family. Their goal was to do ministry at the diner since they had 1000 square feet below the diner that was not being fully utilized. Then Pastor Peter found out that there was a Calvary Chapel only eight miles up the hill in Pine Grove. It was then that Peter and his family decided to fellowship and support this Calvary Chapel, rather than start something below the diner.
They fellowshipped and served at Calvary Chapel of Amador while working and running the diner. Pastor Peter states that he really started to feel the calling strongly to get back into ministry full time. “I needed to know that this was what the Lord wanted for me, so I just waited on Him to see what doors He would open,” said Pastor Peter. Well, as usual, God in his faithfulness did just that. God opened the door for Pastor Peter to come on staff alongside the Senior Pastor, George Stathos.“
I was in awe at the grace that God had given me that day,” said Pastor Peter. God gave him the desires of his heart, namely to be called and utilized once again in full time ministry. Pastor George had given Pastor Peter a choice of ministry opportunities, either start a church in Ione, or come on staff at Calvary Chapel Amador. “I had a decision to make and needed to hear from the Lord as to what path He wanted me to take.” Ultimately Pastor Peter was led by the Lord to come alongside Pastor George as an Associate Pastor overseeing the sound and computer Ministries. Within a few months Pastor Peter was asked to take on the role as Church Administrator and ultimately Executive Pastor. He served Pastor George in that capacity for approximately 3 ½ years.
Throughout the years Pastor Peter and Pastor George would occasionally talk about planting churches in other cities like Ione, Jackson and Plymouth. Then one day in April of 2007, Pastor George asked Pastor Peter if he was ready to start a church in Ione. “I knew that this was what God was calling me to do,” said Pastor Peter. “It was a call that was always in the back of my mind since the day I was offered this ministry opportunity.” And so the decision was made to move forward and start a work in the City of Ione. Plans where made and ultimately “Calvary Ione Fellowship” was birthed on August 26th, 2007. Since then Calvary Ione Fellowship has officially affiliated with Calvary Chapel and incorporated as “Calvary Chapel Viewpoint.”