Located in beautiful, sunny Sacramento, Calif., Calvary Evangelism Center is an exciting place of passionate worship, uplifting music and dynamic preaching. Everyone is warmly welcomed to worship with them and become a part of their dynamic ministries and to enjoy spiritual growth while allowing God’s Word to come alive in their lives.
With this year’s theme of “Be The Light,” Pastor Troy Fair has encouraged his church body to pursue the vision God has for their city. “Each year I pray for God’s direction for the year and this becomes our theme for the year,” said Bro. Fair. “We seek to pursue this direction in our preaching and practice for the entire year. Our mission is to find the vision and passion for God’s specific direction in our city and pursue it with purpose and determination.”
Bro. Fair was raised in the church, felt the call to ministry at the age of 13 and preached his first sermon at the age of 16. “It was at this point that my father appointed me to serve as youth pastor,” said Bro. Fair. “Our youth group began to grow, and soon after, I sold my car and bought an old bus from a neighboring church. After some mechanical repairs and a do-it-yourself paint job, the youth group started a bus route and a Sunday School ministry that ran parallel with the regular Sunday School ministry. Before long, we had multiple routes and provided children from our bus route for both Sunday School ministry sessions. This ministry gave purpose to the boundless energy of a great group of young people.
“When I was 19, I was given a local license by the district board and became the assistant pastor for our local church. Over the next two years, I felt like God was calling me to evangelize. I was not too excited about this development. I knew from the beginning that God had called me to become a pastor, and I was not enamored with the thought of not knowing where I would be from week to week and with the insecurity of the financial concerns involved. I discussed what I was feeling with my father, and he told me to wait for six months. He told me that if God was indeed involved that He would bring someone to assume all of the ministry commitments I was currently leading. At the time, I had six different ministries that I was leading. I felt as though I had done my part to answer the prompting of God and could now essentially put it out of my mind and move forward. Much to my amazement, God did bring several different people to assume all of the responsibilities I had been involved with.
“At 21, I hit the road and began the adventure of an evangelist. After a year and a half, I met and married my wife, Jennifer. As we prepared to be married, the church in Sacramento asked me if I would be willing to teach in their Christian school and serve as the youth pastor for the church. I agreed to do so for a period of one year. That was 28 years ago, and I am still happily serving here in Sacramento.”
Along with his duties at the church, Bro. Fair is also the Southwest Regional North American Missions Director UPCI (National) and previously has held the positions of Western District Presbyter, Western District Sunday School Director and Western District Sectional Youth Director. In his free time, he enjoys spending quality time with his family. “My family is very important in my world,” explained Bro. Fair. “I enjoy riding motorcycles and quads, boating, and traveling with them. I also enjoy computer-related technology and have built and worked with computers most of my life. This has rubbed off on my children, leading my son into a career as a computer programmer.”
Most of the tasks required of a pastor can be measured in either management or vision. Finding the right balance is like riding a bicycle. “I think Ecclesiastes 11:1,4,6 sums up the journey of ministry rather well,” said Bro. Fair. “Ministry involves sacrificial faith-filled sowing. This is illustrated beautifully in verse 1. Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. A pastor can sow sparingly, avoiding any measurable risks, while also avoiding any measurable returns. Verse 4 illustrates that there will always be a reason to ‘not rock the boat,’ but faith-filled, consistent sowing — in spite of the obstacles or risks — will build a great church. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. Verse 6 illustrates another important principle. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. Sow prolifically but pick many fields in which to sow. Many endeavors we have engaged in over the years have proven to be unproductive, while others have been very productive. You never know which ones will result in great success until you step out of the boat and start walking on water. Therefore, it is imperative to dream big, don’t sweat the small stuff, pray often, and be prepared to adjust instantly to new opportunities.”
Ministry is always slightly changing, and momentum is necessary for both progress and survival. In order to refrain from falling you must pedal hard, while looking ahead, constantly shifting your weight in the right direction. “Vision requires risk taking and the willingness to embrace new methods and new ministries, while realistically measuring the effectiveness of existing ministries within the church,” explained Bro. Fair. “It is often necessary to eliminate something old to start something new. Making the right choices and living in faith rather than fear is essential. Change is inevitable. Vision helps you to celebrate and anticipate those changes as something new, exciting and refreshing. Vision is change on purpose. The lack of vision will not stop change; it simply dictates change by decay.
“Management is also essential. Proper management sustains the victory of vision’s accomplishments. Management comes in the form of planning sessions, discipleship classes, counseling sessions and endless other endeavors.
“Vision without management achieves successes without growth. Management without vision ultimately leads to extinction. Vision with management will lead to sustained progress and growth. I believe that a revival pastor must ensure that he is balancing both of these elements. This will be reflected in his preaching, his leadership and his schedule.”
Bro. Fair credits much of his success in ministry to his father, Delton Fair. “I was influenced to the greatest degree, relative to ministry, by my father,” he said. “He was diligent, dedicated, and the most amazing theologian I have ever been privileged to know. His knowledge of scripture and lifetime of research led to a prolific understanding of biblical doctrine and ministry. I was also influenced by my father-in-law, Allan Abbey. His voracious appetite for vision and his willingness to step out of the box in team-style ministry impacted my ministry philosophy in very significant ways. I was privileged to serve in ministry for many years with him and to subsequently succeed him as senior pastor of Calvary Evangelism Center, the church I currently pastor.
Organization and Management
Calvary Evangelism Center strives to activate every person in ministry and, in order to facilitate this, two services are held each year dedicated to ministry commitment. “Individuals are able to make commitments to ministries in the church for a specific period of time,” said Bro. Fair. “At the conclusion of that period of commitment they can change their area of ministry or continue in the areas of involvement they have previously enjoyed.”
Meeting with his leaders is essential for Bro. Fair and helps keep the vision and mission and purpose of the church in focus. “I meet with our pastoral staff every Friday morning for breakfast and with all of our department leaders once a month for lunch,” explains Bro. Fair. “All departments provide a brief report at each monthly department leader meeting. We also have monthly and annual planning on a collective basis, and I also meet with them one-on-one.”
Principles of Growth and Revival
Many growth ministries have had a significant impact on Calvary Evangelism Center, but the most effective on a long-term basis has been the planting of daughter works. “We are blessed to be in the most diverse city in the nation on a per capita basis here in Sacramento,” said Bro. Fair. “This has allowed us to reach into many different languages. We are currently ministering in eight different languages each week. These different congregations represent the single most effective ministry efforts we have encountered over the years and have collectively grown to be as large as our mother church. Our school and preschool have also had a very significant impact in the growth of the church on a long-term basis.
With parents on-site every day, evangelism is nearly automatic. While we employ many other evangelism efforts, such as revivals, dramas, small group meetings and Bible studies, I believe that our greatest result has been the creation of a sense of lifestyle evangelism, making it a normal thing to bring friends, relatives and co-workers to church.”
Calvary Evangelism Center has a long and distinguished history dating back to 1940 when Bro. Sammy Klein established the church under the name of Emmanuel Pentecostal Church. “After several years and a number of pastors, Bro. Allen Abbey was elected pastor of this small church of 12 people,” explained Bro. Fair. “The church eventually built a new facility at 5051 47th Avenue with a fellowship hall, offices, classrooms and a seating capacity of 100. Continual improvements and additions were made over the years. In 2011, we sold the property and moved to 4911 47th Avenue. Our current facility was originally a shopping center with a grocery store and six smaller stores attached to it. The conversion was interesting, but it has worked out very well for us. It is set up at present to seat about 600 but can be altered to accommodate as many as 900. We also have two smaller worship areas in the building, with one seating about 115 and the other seating about 40. Our fellowship room is also used quite frequently for discipleship classes and many other activities, and it can accommodate quite a large crowd as well.”
Bro. Fair’s journey at Calvary Evangelism Center began long before he became senior pastor and has indeed been an incredible adventure. “Our journey began shortly after my wife and I were married,” he explained. “We have witnessed many miracles as God opened doors into many languages. The first group began with a Mong man who was traveling past the church when God told him to turn into our church and go inside. He came into the service and was incredibly touched by God’s presence. Just a couple of weeks after being filled with the Holy Ghost and getting baptized in Jesus name, he told us he was traveling to France and asked if he could baptize people there. He baptized 27 people on that trip to France and shortly after his return he started our Mong congregation. That was just the beginning. We are now ministering in eight languages, each with a unique story, and dreaming and reaching for more.
“Calvary’s pastoral team is absolutely incredible and the birthing of congregations and evangelizing of souls is a team effort with God using each and every pastor at Calvary to bring about His will. Having served as senior pastor for 13 years, I am more excited now than ever before with God’s vision of reaching Sacramento. We are preparing to plant new daughter works and developing more leaders and pastors. Until Jesus returns we live in constant expectation for the next miracle and the newest language.”