Remembering Pastor Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck SmithCountless people across the nation and around the world are mourning the loss of Pastor Chuck Smith, who went to be with the Lord on October 3 after a battle with lung cancer.

“Chuck Smith was a man of tremendous vision,” said TWR President Lauren Libby. “He introduced countless people to Jesus Christ during his lifetime, and I’m thankful for all he accomplished for the kingdom of God.”

“Rarely does a man come along that impacts a generation, but Chuck Smith was that man. He certainly impacted my life,” added Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship.

It was nearly 50 years ago that Pastor Chuck started his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Beginning with a mere 25 people, he saw God bless his simple, yet consistent style of teaching straight through the Bible. Today, Calvary Chapel draws more than 10,000 attendees weekly, and more than 1,500 fellowships throughout the world have been established through Pastor Chuck’s international ministry.

“He taught the Bible from cover to cover – Genesis to Revelation – and verse by verse multiple times,” recalled Franklin Graham, President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. “He believed the Word of God and lived by it.”

With a genuine heart for the lost, Pastor Chuck made room in his ministry for a generation of hippies, surfers, and drug addicts. This generated a stirring of the Holy Spirit, which spread from the California coast to the Atlantic and beyond. The movement, known as the Jesus People Movement, was instrumental in bringing thousands of young people to Jesus Christ during the 1960s and 1970s.

“It was Pastor Chuck who poured into my life as a teenager,” shared Lee Ann Jackson, an Account Executive at Ambassador Advertising Agency who started attending Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in 1980. “It was under his Bible teaching that I came to understand and embrace the love of God  ... for me, a sinner saved by grace.”

Furthermore, Pastor Chuck inspired many other church leaders in their pursuit of God’s call to the ministry.

“[H]e had not only given an example in his teaching, but encouraged others to find and use their gifts. He did that for me, Mike Macintosh, Raul Ries, Skip Heitzig, Jeff Johnson, [Bob] Coy, Joe Focht, Steve Mays, Don McClure, Tom Stipe, and the list goes on and on,” shared Laurie. “Chuck will be sorely missed.”

According to an announcement on the Pastor Chuck’s official memorial website, a private memorial service will be held by the family and a public memorial service is scheduled for October 27 at a location to be announced.

Visitors to the memorial website,, are invited to share encouragement and memories. The site also features interviews with Pastor Chuck and a collection of photos.

Published: October 10, 2013