The internationally renowned faith leader and pastor Dr Charles Stanley has died at the age of 90.
Dr Stanley served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta for over 50 years and was known across the world for television and radio broadcasts.
He was also a well-known voice on Premier Christian Radio with his programme In Touch.
In a tweet, First Baptist Atlanta said it is grateful for his enduring legacy of faithful leadership and spiritual guidance.
Dr Stanley modelled his 65 years of ministry after the apostle Paul’s message in Acts 20:24: “Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love.”
Born during the Great Depression, in Virginia, Stanley was raised by a single mother after his father died when Stanley was only nine months old.
After receiving a call to ministry at the age of 14, he went on to gain a Master and Doctor of Theology from Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta.
Before joining the staff of First Baptist Atlanta, Stanley served as pastor of Fruitland Baptist near Hendersonville, North Carolina (1957–1959); First Baptist of Fairborn, Ohio (1959–1962); First Baptist of Miami, Florida (1962–1968); and First Baptist of Bartow, Florida (1968). Dr Stanley became associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969, becoming Senior Pastor two years later.
He launched his broadcasting career with The Chapel Hour—which was later renamed In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. It went nationwide in 1978 after the Christian Broadcasting Network contacted Stanley, looking for a practical, Bible-teaching program for its new satellite distribution network. The broadcast grew from 16,000 local viewers to a nationwide audience in just one week. This led to the expansion and incorporation of Stanley’s ministry as a separate non-profit entity called In Touch Ministries (ITM) in 1982 and the In Touch radio broadcast entered syndication.
During the 1980s, the In Touch program penetrated almost every major market in the United States, reaching more than one million households. At the time of his death, Stanley’s messages were heard in more than 127 languages around the world. In Touch is broadcast on Premier Christian Radio every weekday evening at 8.30pm.
Believing, as he often said, that people are to “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him," Stanley focused his preaching on practical, Christ-centered, biblically based principles for everyday life. Many of his messages incorporated the 30 Life Principles that guided his life and helped him grow in his knowledge, service, and love of God. Other messages tackled such topics as parenting, finances, personal crises, emotions and relationships, prayer, and the character of God. Not having sought out the public spotlight, Stanley was a pastor who happened to be on TV, focused on teaching others how to seek and obey God through adversity and personal hardships.
Recently, Dr Stanley was recognized for selling more than 10 million copies of his more than 70 books, the latest of which was published in 2023.
In September 2020, Stanley transitioned to the role of pastor emeritus of First Baptist Atlanta after serving 50 years as senior pastor.
Stanley is survived by his son Andy Stanley, founding and senior pastor of North Point Ministries; daughter Becky Stanley Broderson; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and half-sister Susie Cox. His former wife, Anna Johnson Stanley, preceded him in death. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to In Touch Ministries.