Celebrated In Touch Ministries Leader Dr. Charles Stanley Passes Away at 90 Years Old

Stanley Was Senior Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta for 50 Years

On April 18, 2023, in AtlantaIn Touch Ministries revealed on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, that revered pastor Dr. Charles Frazier Stanley, 90, had died that morning at 7:30 a.m.

Stanley, whose extensive broadcasts on television and radio have made him well-known to audiences worldwide, based his 65-year ministry on the teachings of the apostle Paul found 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 about God’s mighty kindness and love.”

Stanley was raised by a single mother after his father passed away when Stanley was just nine months old. Stanley was born in Dry Fork, Virginia, on September 25, 1932, at the height of the Great Depression.

Stanley completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia, and his graduate studies at Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, after being called to the ministry at the age of 14. Later, he graduated from Atlanta’s Luther Rice Seminary with the degrees of Master of Theology and Doctor of Theology.

Stanley ministered at 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) before joining the staff of First Baptist Atlanta. On October 1, 1969, Stanley was appointed assistant pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

On October 1, 1971, two years later, Stanley took up his long-standing position as senior pastor of First Baptist Atlanta. The next year, he made his debut in broadcast ministry on WXIA and WANX (now WGCL), two Atlanta-area TV stations, with a 30-minute show called The Chapel Hour.

In 1978, the Christian Broadcasting Network reached out to Stanley in search of a useful Bible-teaching program for its new satellite distribution network, which led to the renaming of The Chapel Hour as In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley and its nationwide dissemination. In just one week, the show went from 16,000 local viewers to a national audience. As a result, Stanley’s ministry grew and was incorporated as In Touch Ministries (ITM), a distinct non-profit organization, in 1982, and the In Touch radio program started to be syndicated.

The In Touch program reached over a million households in the 1980s, gaining traction in nearly all of the country’s major markets. By the time of his passing, radio, shortwave, TV broadcasts, and the Messenger Lab project had aired Stanley’s messages in over 127 languages worldwide. Stanley had a weekly radio program that he hosted and was the longest-serving pastor in the nation.

Convinced, as he frequently expressed, that individuals ought to “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him,” Stanley concentrated his sermons on realistic, Christ-centered, and scripturally grounded life lessons. The 30 Life Principles, which he followed and which helped him advance in his understanding, devotion to, and love for God, were reflected in many of his teachings. Other sermons included subjects including prayer, the nature of God, parenthood, money, personal problems, emotions, and relationships. Stanley was a preacher who happened to be on television. He didn’t pursue fame or celebrity; instead, he was committed to teaching people how to seek and obey God in the face of misfortune and personal suffering.

Stanley was acknowledged by prominent groups and publishers over his lengthy service. In 1985 and 1986, Stanley presided over the Southern Baptist Convention for two terms. Because of his leadership in the Christian TV and radio industry and his consistently excellent broadcasts, he was elected into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1988. He was given the 1989 Clergyman of the Year award by Religious Heritage of America, which honors pastors who work to instill Judeo-Christian values in American culture. In Touch received awards from the NRB for Television Producer of the Year in 1993 and Radio Program of the Year in 1999. Stanley was most recently honored for selling over 10 million copies of his more than

Stanley’s passion for photography was also well-known. The Atlanta headquarters of In Touch Ministries are adorned with photographs of Stanley’s personal journeys, encouraging people to discover the splendor of God’s creation.

After 50 years as the lead pastor of First Baptist Atlanta, Stanley became pastor emeritus in September 2020.

Stanley is survived by his daughter Becky Stanley Brodersen, son Andy Stanley, who founded and serves as senior pastor of North Point Ministries, six granddaughters, three great-grandchildren, and half-sister Susie Cox. Anna Johnson Stanley, his ex-wife, passed away before him. The family requests that donations be made to In Touch Ministries in place of flowers.