Pastor Lloyd Pulley Interview

Pastor Lloyd Pulley Interview
Pastor Lloyd Pulley Interview

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Pastor Lloyd Pulley of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ: Memories & Lessons of Ministry—Part 4

Photos courtesy of Pastor Lloyd Pulley and Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ

Following is Part 4 of a four-part interview conducted recently by Pastor Don McClure with Lloyd Pulley, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ. Pastor Don has been serving in the Calvary Chapel movement since 1971; he is a leader in the Calvary Chapel Association and he and his wife Jean now lead the Calvary Way teaching ministry. In Part 4, the pastors discuss the pro-life ministry of CC Old Bridge and lessons Lloyd has learned over 40 years of ministry. To read Parts 1, 2, and 3, click here.

Woman opening door

Many women on their way to get an abortion have accepted the invitation to board the mobile unit Hannah and receive a free ultrasound. Here, Hannah is parked by a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Jersey. Hannah is one part of CCOB’s pro-life ministry, which helps women and men, long after the baby is born. Photo by Tom Price

Don McClure: Many of the churches, rightfully so, are concerned with many of the moral issues. Some of them have gotten pretty involved in pro-life things, but you have even gone more beyond that in terms of how we can truly care for these girls. Tell us a little bit about that area of ministry.

Lloyd Pulley: Well, one of our elders was very interested in lighting up our pro-life ministry that had waned. Admittedly, I had lost my taste for some of the rancorous-type protesting I saw in the past; I was pro-life, but I didn’t see that as a way to do ministry. So, he [the elder] first started up a group to go sidewalk counseling. They were very gracious and kind. We tried to help women make a better decision. We saw dozens in a year who kept their babies. Then we got connected with the Save the Storks organization, which makes these mobile medical units that provide free ultrasounds. We said, “We’ve got to do this.”

We looked into it and learned that we had to have a doctor who was willing to put his medical license on the line to do ultrasounds. Then, we needed an ultrasound machine, ultrasound technicians, and intake nurses. This was daunting—our board was conservative, considering the cost and the risk. But in a few years, we were able to see God raise up all these people and the resources. This overflowing also helped us to overcome Save the Storks’ reluctance to work outside of pregnancy centers and work with a church. We finally got our fully equipped mobile medical unit with a beautiful 46-inch screen where the mother can see her baby and hear the heartbeat.

Lloyd Pulley by van

Lloyd Pulley, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge (CCOB), NJ, stands by the church’s mobile ultrasound unit, Hannah. He was instrumental in negotiating a deal to purchase the unit, which launched out in 2020, from Save the Storks. He is overjoyed that the church board will be purchasing a second unit.

Just when everything was ready to go, COVID-19 hit, and we couldn’t deploy our medical unit. But in May, we decided, “It doesn’t matter. Despite all the protests, racial riots, and COVID fears we’ll venture out.” Because Planned Parenthood is open, we are going to go for it, we thought. In that one-year period, we saw over 150 women decide to keep their babies. Now it’s been over a year, and they are bringing their babies back to show us and thank us for being there. It’s powerful. To me, it’s the greatest evangelical outreach we have right now. It is reaching souls, not just saving babies.

Many of them are getting discipled. We help them with housing and with medical bills. And we have already ordered our second medical unit. My prayer is that before the year is out, 20 Calvary Chapel pastors will make up their minds and say, “We’re going to get a Save the Storks van. We’re going to do that, and we’re going to mobilize.” We are actually planning a gathering this fall for any Calvary Chapel pastor who wants to know how to do this [kind of ministry].

Ultrasound

Sara Zaki and her husband Matthew view their unborn baby on the screen as ultrasound technician Venesa Formoso and RN Manager Jeannie Orsag (right) oversee the examination.

Nothing can compare with being right there in front of Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. The girls are out there getting ready to go in and have an abortion. And we’re right there saying, “Hey, we have a free ultrasound. Why don’t you come on over?” Our intake team, trained and very pleasant and friendly, invites them to come over and get in that van. When those women see that baby and they hear that baby, 80% will keep them—100% will keep them if the father gets on the van. He’s like, “Yes, we’ve got to do this.” When the man is in it, the woman is right there.

Don: Approximately, what does it cost for one of those vans, to get it set up, because it’s beautiful.

Lloyd: With the van—all the leather, the ultrasound, and everything—the whole buildout was $175,000. Then other costs were staff and supplies and future help for women.

Couple holding photos

Sara and Matthew Zaki happily show off the images of their unborn baby, taken aboard Hannah.

Don: Anybody walking into that van would realize that this is a very Class-A operation.

Lloyd: They feel well treated, and they’re kindly spoken to. But I have to say this before churches write it off and say, “Hey, we can’t afford that”: It didn’t cost us a penny because when we started going in this direction, we got a grant from Save the Storks. Other people found out what we were doing in our area of New Jersey, and they would give us money. The body of Christ was responding—people who’d had abortions before were helping, and by the time we looked around, there was more money raised than what we needed. Then we started putting in programs for the women, and now it’s off the charts. God has blessed, and now both of the vans are going to be completely covered out of not even anything from our regular church budget.

Woman with baby

Aliyyah Oglesby, here 17 years old, holds her son. She first saw her baby on an ultrasound aboard Hannah. She is thankful for support from the Bridge Women’s Center, the pro-life ministry of CCOB.

Don: It sounds like, once you got it going, that it had to be thrilling to see how many people in your church had a burden for this and cared deeply.

Lloyd: We applaud the efforts of those faithfully standing in the gap and have stood for decades sidewalk counseling and opening pregnancy centers. But in this day and age, adding a medical component available to be onsite at the clinics has made a huge difference. A number of pregnancy centers have gone medical and some even mobile, yet there is a great opportunity for churches to also work with them or start their own. People have seen the impact of being onsite for women who have already planned—and are going in for—their abortion appointments. It is hitting them right where they are. And so, I am praying many Christians will mobilize and hoping for 20 churches to venture into this mobile medical-type ministry.

Katie crying

Katie Linzer, a client at Bridge Women’s Center, wipes away a tear as she relays what she endured when she opted to keep her baby, Khloe. The ministry of CCOB was an encouragement and help for her.

Don: Now, is there somebody at the church that somebody reading this article could get ahold of to find out more information about all of this?

Lloyd: Yes, we’re going to be putting out some regular articles in Calvary Chapel Magazine about pro-life action. Debbie Biskey would be the contact person (dbiskey@ccob.org). She came out of that very sordid world and had numerous abortions—she doesn’t even know how many. But God got ahold of her heart through our ministry, and she wanted to serve the Lord. This door opened, she got plugged in, and now she is using a lot of her executive/administrative skills in ways that are just powerful. She is just really good at what she does.

Don: It sounds like one of the most important things for you is finding that person within your fellowship who really has some administrative strength.

Lloyd: Yes, and Debbie is willing to help anybody sort this out, helping them with what they need—kind of like what we went through so that they can know what to expect. It takes time. Look, the time we had first started to do pro-life ministry as it should have been done was about five or six years ago. Then a couple of years go by, and we want to get this unit. It took a year to get our board to say, “This is crazy, but we will take a chance. We want to get most of the money raised up first.” We got most of the money raised up, so then it’s, “All right, let’s do it!” Then the Lord blessed it. With the second van, the board took about 10 minutes to decide, “Yes, we’re doing it!” because they saw the fruit. But it took time in the beginning.

Men standing in ocean

One of the earliest Bridgefests, a celebration for listeners of CCOB’s radio station, The Bridge. Left to right, from approximately 13 years ago: Chris McCarrick, who was on staff at CCOB at the time; Pastor Bobby Hargraves of CC Hudson Valley, NY; Pastor John Randall of CC San Juan Capistrano, CA; and Lloyd.

Don: In the van itself, did you have to design it or was it already built out?

Lloyd: Save the Storks builds them out. We have found the impact we are having is encouraging them, Save the Storks, to help other churches to do this as well.

Don: So, they can learn more from Debbie Biskey at CCOB and actually go to Save the Storks and say, “We want a van like Old Bridge.”

Lloyd: They don’t need us, but we can help them work out some of the details and not get too afraid of what Save the Storks is asking them to do. They are great people with a great vision.

Don: So, you’ve been doing ministry now for over 40 years. What are some of the lessons that you would want to tell a young person who is perhaps reading this and feels that there is a call on his or her life?

Lloyd: You know, I really believe that the most important thing is to hear what God wants you to do and just do it. I think everyone of us gets started in ministry emulating someone else, and we eventually figure out who we are. Then eventually you run into all kinds of troubles and difficulties. We think, when we are young, that’s a sign that we are doing something wrong—when sometimes it’s a sign that we are doing something right. When is it ever easy? So, I would tell someone, “Listen, don’t expect it to go smoothly … it’s a battle. When you are making a difference, you’re going to get attacked.”

Pastor Chuck Smith and Lloyd Pulley

Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith (left) attended the 25th anniversary of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge on September 22, 2009. Here he stands with Pastor Lloyd.

When we got the radio station, all hell broke loose in our church. I lost guys who had been with me for 18 years. This and that issue would come up. This person would run off with that woman, and that one would go off-base over here, and well, crazy stuff. But we learned that you keep fighting through, keep plugging along, and keep being faithful. Even when you are at your lowest, darkest point, I would tell pastors: Don’t bring your personal frustration to the pulpit. Once I’ve gone through the trial and I’ve learned something, then I can pass on what I’ve learned. There have been many times my heart was broken over a ministry issue or a family struggle with my son and have to get up in the pulpit; no one would know, only the Lord. But when I get His perspective, I then can be honest about the trials, my weaknesses, and failures. When you’ve got trouble with somebody, or you’ve got issues, you know what, just keep preaching the Word and letting the Word of God speak.

Don: It sounds pretty much like you just realized, This is my call. But as much as a benefit, help, and encouragement Raul Ries really was, you learned right off to look to the Lord and to continue to look to the Lord—whether you were in West Covina, or Old Bridge, or looking at a radio station, or the 110 acres, or the vans for the clinic. It’s all a continuous step of faith.

Lloyd: My pastor, Raul, and Chuck Smith both set great examples in that whatever they may have been going through personally, they never stopped taking steps of faith. We got involved in missions really early in our church, before we had any money or anything. I went over to Africa and started doing some work there and learned a great deal. Then we got involved in Eastern Europe in ’89 and ’90 when the doors opened. We still support churches in Hungary and Serbia, and I remember many crazy steps of faith in those days that the Lord honored.

You just keep going forward! No turning back! Everything God does, look, He wants to do a whole lot more if we would open ourselves up. I think that sometimes I’ve held back—the Lord could have done so much more if I had been more in tune with Him. I just say: Keep going forward. There’s a great message by C.H. Spurgeon in his book, Lectures to My Students. It’s called “Necessity of Ministerial Progress”: There’s nothing behind you; just keep going forward. Don’t live in regret of your past mistakes or what you could have been, or should have been. Just keep going forward.

Pastor Chuck at pulpit

Pastor Chuck speaks at CCOB’s 25th anniversary celebration.

Don: I think for many people, whether it was originally Chuck Smith or then Raul, the issue is learning to trust the Lord and being able to take risks. Chuck was a tremendous risk-taker with ministry or with people who he sensed maybe a call on their lives. He would encourage them; some went out and had tremendous ministries, and some went out and it didn’t go for them. Chuck never quit because “Oh, man, that guy fell by the wayside and didn’t bear fruit.”

Lloyd: Chuck was a great example for me in that. When I first came out to the east coast, my Scripture was Isaiah 58:12: Those from among you will rebuild the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. What I got from that is that the Lord basically said, “Look, it’s not about you. You’re going to be there to help others get raised up, and they are going to be there to help do the ministry that you could never imagine.” When I think of all the vision, whether it’s the school or the radio station, I couldn’t have done them. God raised up people to do them in ways that I could never have done.

Even when it comes to ministry to people, to someone like Patty Height, a young lesbian woman who showed up with her partner at church one day, we just treated her like anybody else, like a person made in God’s image. We didn’t overdo it, didn’t underdo it. She responded to the Gospel, and 18 years later, now, she just moved to Southern California to really expand her ministry to help others know how to relate to people in the LGBT community. Along with all her messages and testimony, she does a message to guide elementary school kids and help moms get ahead on how the schools are going to indoctrinate their kids. She’s amazing. She’s spoken in hundreds of Calvary Chapels now about her story, and it is great to see God raise up people like that. She’s got a ministry called Out of Egypt Ministries (outofegyptministries.org) and a powerful testimony. She had also spoken at a pastors’ wives retreat as well.

Pastor Chuck cutting cake

Pastor Chuck cuts the cake at the anniversary celebration.

Don: It will be amazing one day when we get to heaven and see all of these who are a part of the family that we didn’t even know. The Word doesn’t return void and you do what you are called to do, and it touches somebody and somebody and somebody and somebody. You know, that will be one of the most thrilling parts, I suppose, of getting into heaven … when you just venture out and do what you are called to.

Lloyd: I want to recognize those young people on whom God has put a call on their lives, like God did for me with Raul. Raul recognized something in me and poured into me, and I want to do that. I think that the most enjoyable part of ministry is pouring into others and seeing them grow. I just envision people from our fellowship doing a hundred times more ministry than I could ever dream of. That will be my joy when finally I breathe my last or I step out of this. God is going to raise up all these people, leaving an impact that I could never even imagine. This is what the Lord wants. I’ve prayed for pastors—it’s not about doing church and putting on a show. It’s about that individual that you can impact. I like hanging out after services and meeting new people and encouraging them, just praying, Lord, show me who you want me to pour into and who to encourage. I love it.

I also greatly benefitted from people like you and your wife Jean, who my wife and I met with when you came and visited at West Covina. We saw you as just an amazing couple in our young marriage. I remember telling my wife, “Honey, our mentoring couple could be the McClures. Maybe if you have a problem with me, you can call Jean, and I can call Don, and we can have that accountability.” But you were there, and you guys were such a blessing to us. That meant a lot.

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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