Not retiring … just refocusing

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

Dr. Charles StanleyOne of the best known and most respected American preachers is leaving the pulpit after 50 years at the same church.

Dr. Charles Stanley (pictured) came to First Baptist Atlanta in 1969 and became the head pastor in 1971. In 1982, he launched In Touch Ministries, a ministry that continues to bring the gospel to a lost world. Three years ago, he and the board at First Baptist chose Anthony George to replace him when the day came. On Sunday, at age 87, Stanley delivered this message to his flock:

"Earlier this month, I informed the board that I felt the time had come for me to step down as senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, to become pastor emeritus," said the Southern Baptist pastor. "I'm not retiring – as you know, I don't believe in retirement. I will focus the next season of my life on my opportunities at In Touch."

Stanley has been an inspiration and a beacon of light to thousands of listeners – and he's been a mentor to a much smaller cohort. Among those is Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church-Dallas.

"I count Charles Stanley as a great friend. I've been an admirer of his for a long time," Jeffress tells OneNewsNow. "He is a friend to pastors everywhere. There's no way to measure the impact that he's made for the gospel."

He says Stanley is among a long list of well-known preachers – like Adrian Rogers or Chuck Swindoll or J Vernon McGee, some of whom have moved on to glory – who give listeners a sense of security in the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ.

"They all know that retirement's not in the Bible," notes Jeffress, "and I'm glad that they kept pursuing. They've been an inspiration to all of us."

In Touch Ministries produces a daily radio program and devotional, a weekly television show, and a bimonthly magazine.

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