In Memoriam: Beloved Pastor and Broadcaster Dr. Charles F. Stanley

NRB | April 20, 2023 | Member News

On April 18, 2023, Charles F. Stanley, founder of In Touch Ministries, went to be with the Lord.

“Dr. Stanley leaves behind a lasting legacy as a torch-bearer and trailblazer of Gospel ministry and Christian broadcasting,” said NRB President & CEO Troy A. Miller, in learning of Stanley’s passing. “We were blessed to have such a faithful servant of the Lord as a veteran NRB member and a faithful supporter and encourager of the work of NRB. Our condolences and prayers are with Dr. Stanley’s family. Although we mourn his loss in this life it is a joy to know that he is with his Savior and Lord.”

Born on September 25, 1932, during the devastation of the Great Depression, the Virginia native was the only child of Charley and Rebecca Stanley. At the young age of 29, Stanley’s father, Charley, died nine months after Stanley’s birth. Despite the difficulties of the nation’s Great Depression and the loss of his father, Stanley, under the wise counsel and example of his godly mother, received the divine call to ministry.

In 1956, Stanley earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond and was ordained later that year at Moffett Memorial Baptist Church in Danville, Virginia. Continuing his education, Stanley pursued a Bachelor of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a master’s and a doctorate in Theology from Luther Rice Seminary.

Dr. Stanley pastored many churches such as Fruitland Baptist Church in North Carolina in 1957, First Baptist church of Fairborn, Ohio in 1959, First Baptist Church of Miami, Florida, in 1962, where he also founded George Mueller Christian School in 1966, and First Baptist Church of Bartow, Florida, in 1968.

On October 1, 1971, Dr. Stanley assumed the role of senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia. Following that year, in 1972, he launched a half-hour Atlanta-area broadcast, “The Chapel Hour,” on stations WXIA-TV 11 and WANX 46. From this foundation, Dr. Stanley established In Touch Ministries in 1977. The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), impressed by the young pastor’s abilities and seeking a practical Bible teaching program, contacted Dr. Stanley in 1978 in order to include the program in a satellite distribution network for cable systems. Within a week, the broadcast began to attract a national audience.

To this day, “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley” reaches more than 115 million households domestically and can be heard worldwide on more than 4,000 television, radio, and satellite networks and stations and in 127 languages. In Touch Ministries was founded to “lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” While Stanley stepped down as senior pastor at First Baptist Church Atlanta in 2020 to focus on In Touch Ministries, his sermons continue to be broadcast globally. Stanley’s Bible teaching provides listeners with Christ-centered principles for everyday life, and the ministry Stanley founded has touched millions worldwide through radio and television broadcasts, podcasts, the handheld In Touch Ministries Messenger, In Touch Apps, and on the web. The “In Touch” television program is seen on 204 stations and seven satellite networks in the United States. “In Touch” radio programs are heard on 458 stations via shortwave radio.

In addition to his teaching and broadcast ministry, Stanley is a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than 70 books that equip his readers with practical principles for everyday living.

Stanley is known for recognizing that the power of hope and salvation is through God’s wondrous working through willing vessels. He is often noted for saying, “It is the Word of God and the work of God that changes people’s lives.”

In 1988, Stanley was inducted into the NRB Hall of Fame, which is NRB’s most prestigious award “for invaluable contribution to the field of Christian communications, exhibition of the highest standards and evidence of faithfulness in Christ.”

Stanley is also the 2020 recipient of the NRB Chairman’s Award, has spoken at NRB Conventions on multiple occasions, and is a former member of the NRB Board of Directors. In Touch Ministries, an NRB member since 1980, has received numerous NRB awards over the years including:

  • Award of Merit 1983
  • TV Program of the Year 1993
  • Radio Program of the Year 1999
  • Best TV Commercial 2013
  • Radio Impact Award 2013
  • Billy Graham Award for Excellence in Christian Communications 2014
  • Best Use of Social Media 2016
  • Best Promotional Campaign 2017
  • Most Innovative Digital Method 2019
  • Best Digital Experience 2019
  • Best Short-Form Video 2020

NRB celebrates the life and ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley and commends his legacy of excellence and diligence in Christian communications.

Among the statements issued by NRB members in response to the passing of Dr. Stanley:

RICH BOTT: “I’m saddened to share with you the news that pastor, Bible teacher, and host of the In Touch radio broadcast, our dear friend Doctor Charles Stanley, passed away Tuesday, April 18th at his home in Atlanta, Georgia. We are forever indebted to him for his Godly example, Biblical teaching, and devotion to the gospel. Doctor Stanley invested his life in teaching people how to know Jesus as their Savior and walk with Him as their Lord. In Touch is committed to continuing Dr. Stanley’s mission; obeying God, taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, and instructing believers how to walk in an intimate relationship with the Savior.”

FRANKLIN GRAHAM: “Our prayers are with the family of Dr. Charles Stanley, who went home to Heaven today at the age of 90. Dr. Stanley was the founder of In Touch Ministries and pastored First Baptist Atlanta for more than 50 years. I appreciate his faithfulness in unashamedly teaching the Word of God. For many who travel, and also during Covid-19 when people couldn’t attend their own churches, Dr. Stanley’s messages on television not only inspired us but fed us spiritually. His teaching was solid—He did not compromise on God’s Word like so many others do today. God used him to impact so many lives around the world, and he will be greatly missed. Dr. Stanley and my father Billy Graham were together on several occasions.”

ROBERT JEFFRESS: “Dr. Charles Stanley was a great friend and encourager to me. He was always solidly biblical and extremely practical in his preaching. He will be greatly missed by all.”

DAVID JEREMIAH: “Charles Stanley was not only a knowledgeable and faithful Bible teacher who loved and obeyed God, he was also a man of great character, and a humble and gracious friend. Who can count the number of souls his life and ministry made an impact on? His steadfast commitment to preaching the Gospel will be remembered for generations. He has blessed me and the world tremendously. And I will see him again some day in glory.”

ALVEDA KING: “Forever grateful for the influence of Dr. Charles Stanley. May the Lord bless his family in this time of grief!”

TONY PERKINS: “My prayers are with the family of Dr. Charles Stanley as the Lord called this powerful communicator of truth to his eternal reward. It was an honor to have known him. His faithfulness to the Lord has touched the lives of countless people.”

MICHAEL YOUSSEF: “I join many Bible believers in mourning the loss of Dr. Charles Stanley. He stayed true to the Word of God when so many others have watered it down.”

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