Calvary Chapel is an evangelical association of Christian churches with over one thousand congregations worldwide. Calvary Chapel also maintains a number of radio stations around the world and operates many local Calvary Chapel Bible College programs. It presents itself as a "fellowship of churches" in contrast to a denomination. Churches which affiliate with Calvary Chapel may use the name "Calvary Chapel" but need not do so.
Beginning in 1965 in Southern California, this fellowship of churches grew out of Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Doctrinally, Calvary Chapel is evangelical, dispensational, pretribulationist, and believes in the principle of sola scriptura. Calvary Chapels place great importance in the practice of expository teaching, a "verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book" approach to teaching the Bible. However Chuck Smith will gloss over passages of scriptures if he feels it is controversial and may cause division or cause polarization on issues. Typically, Calvary Chapels operate under a senior pastor-led system of church government, sometimes referred to as the "Moses" model; Chuck Smith's "Calvary Chapel Distinctives" summarizes the tenets for which Calvary Chapel stands.