These are the words Chuck Smith heard as he went home to be with his Savior today.
Smith stood out among his peers as the man God used to bring thousands to faith in Jesus Christ. In 1965, Chuck began Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa California to encourage people in the Word. That first meeting had only around 25 people present.
He saw people as they were – men and women in need of a Savior. When church people were disturbed by the hippie culture of the 60’s, Smith gave them exactly what they needed – Jesus. In what can only be described as a true revival that became known as the Jesus People Movement, Smith and others experienced the hand of God in an unprecedented way.
Calvary Chapel now runs well over 10,000 people in its Costa Mesa location. More importantly, Smith trained up hundreds of men who took his passion for the lost and his belief in the sufficiency of the Word and they planted over 2,000 churches globally.
In an interview about the Calvary Chapel movement, Chuck told evangelist Greg Laurie, “"It is the exposition of the Word of God. It's encouraging people to read the Word of God and expounding to them the Word of God. It's really built on the Word of God. It's just God honoring His Word as He said He would. He said He would honor His Word even above His name. So the movement has been built on the solid teaching of the Word of God." In fact, Pastor Chuck preached the Word of God from cover to cover believing that the Body of Christ is best fed by the Word of God.
In his final years, Smith suffered from an aggressive form of Lung cancer. He still preached. He still answered questions on his radio program “Pastor’s Perspective.” He still boldly shared his faith. He held fast to the promises of the risen Christ.
As a pastor, I am exceedingly grateful for the example of faithful men standing on the authority of the Word of God and sharing Jesus with those even at the fringes of society.
Thank you, Pastor Chuck.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ”
For more on the Jesus People Movement and Pastor Chuck Smith, check out Larry Eskridge’s excellent book, God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America.
Christianity Today has more on Chuck Smith's life here.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).
John Mark Yeats