Steve Mays (1950–2014) was Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel South Bay in Gardena, California, for over thirty three years before the Lord called him home in October 2014. He was noted for his bold, strong, and practical teaching style—and unique voice.
Calvary Chapel South Bay, the church where Pastor Steve fulfilled the leadership role for over three decades, grew from a small 75-person fellowship to a church with a weekly attendance surpassing eight thousand. With a true shepherd’s heart, Pastor Steve reached out to everyone the Lord brought his way, including corporate leaders, political leaders, media, fellow pastors and ministry leaders, as well as global leaders and institutions who often asked him to share God’s truth in various platforms and to a wide array of people.
The Lord gave him many opportunities to share the message of the Gospel—from praying at the White House and speaking at the National Day of Prayer; giving bible studies at the Pentagon Prayer Breakfast and Christian Embassy’s United Nations outreach; and participating at the Oxford Round Table.
Yet there was a time in Steve’s life where none of this would ever have seemed possible.
Molested by a teacher as a youth, Steve’s life took a destructive path through drugs, gangs, violence and rage. For this bleak hoodlum, life was nothing but suffering and anger. He was a heartbeat from hell…
…until he met Jesus Christ.
Radically transformed in the midst of a revival sweeping through the nation later called the “Jesus movement,” Steve found himself a changed man—renewed by saving faith in Jesus Christ. God had touched the untouchable.
Over the years, the Lord would continue to mold and change Steve from the inside out, preparing him for the ministry and equipping him as a pastor. He faithfully served the flock at Calvary Chapel South Bay as the body grew from a small fellowship to the diverse, multi-ethnic congregation that it is today.
In his later years, he was frequently beset by physical infirmities—suffering from cancer, multiple back surgeries, and chronic pain. Yet through it all, God gave him the strength to endure, using each ailment to draw him closer to Christ—and inspire others.
In the end, Steve Mays finished his race well.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7–8