Charles Ward Smith : June 25 1927 to October 3, 2013
There’s a road map for your life…. In times of trouble, trial, pain or loss, we often can’t see the value in what we’re experiencing. We don’t realize what God is doing or why He has allowed us to struggle. But there comes a day when we look back over the road map of our lives and we understand, finally. We see the dots laid out along the path, and the events God permitted in order to move us to our destination.
After enduring a seemingly fruitless ministry, hardships, and calamities for over 20 years in serving God, in 1965 Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa where only 25 people were attending. From the beginning, Pastor Chuck welcomed all—young and old—without judgment, placing his emphasis on the teaching of the Word of God. His simple yet sound biblical approach drew thousands of people weekly.
With a sincere concern for the lost, Pastor Chuck made room in his heart and his home for a generation of hippies and surfers; generating a movement of the Holy Spirit that spread from the West Coast to the East, bringing young people to Jesus Christ. Included among this generation of new believers were Greg Laurie, Mike MacIntosh, Raul Ries, Skip Heitzig, as well as hundreds of others who now have ministries of their own.
Known for his cheerful enthusiasm, high energy, and unwavering faith, Pastor Chuck is well respected throughout the Christian community. His wife, Kay, began the Joyful Life women’s ministry, and their four children are also involved in ministry.
Pastor Chuck’s story is helpful to young ministers and growing Christians. If we could see his journey in perspective—the successes and failures, the joys and the sorrows—we might gain a new appreciation for our own struggles and realize God’s grace is sufficient.
God’s grace is at work in your own life too. Everything you have experienced in the past, everything you’re going through now, and everything that awaits you on the path ahead is all part of God’s plan. His will for you is perfect, and He knows just how to prepare you for your life’s purpose.
On October 3, 2013, at the age of 86, Pastor Chuck moved from his earthly tent into his heavenly home. He was a man who impacted an entire generation, leaving behind a legacy that stretches around the world. All to bring glory to God. After nearly five decades of faithful service, God has called Pastor Chuck away from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa into another ministry where he now joyfully serves with his father, his mother, his older sister, and his youngest brother. He knows that his congregants are safe in the strong arms of Jesus Christ.
There is a question that frequently comes up regarding Christian leaders. Did this person really live and practice the things that he preached? To answer that question, here is just a short list of things about Pastor Chuck that you may not know regarding his life. He extended his teaching worldwide through The Word For Today radio and television programs. As the years passed, Pastor Chuck’s visionary leadership also brought other MANY remarkable ministries into existence, which are listed on the rh side with links, under Chuck’s Ministries.” (hold mouse over text for description) Again, these are just to name a few. It’s amazing to think about all that Pastor Chuck accomplished in serving God.
We, of course, think of Pastor Chuck primarily as a Bible teacher and a man who preached the Gospel, which he certainly was, but there were so many other things that he did. Think of the countless weddings he performed and the multitudes of babies he dedicated. And moreover the many visitations over the years to homes and hospitals; and the memorial services that he conducted. Multitudes of memorial services. And if you ever attended a memorial service that Pastor Chuck did, he had a standard outline. His emphasis was always on the glory and the joy of entering into the presence of God.
During a memorial service, questions come into our minds that we don’t normally think of––questions about life, questions about the meaning of life, questions about death. Why does death even occur? And what happens to a person after they die? Pastor Chuck would always come to the quotation from Job. He would emphasize that Job is possibly the oldest book in the Bible, pointing out that these questions about life have been in the minds of men from the very dawn of time. These questions that were never satisfactorily answered. And so Pastor Chuck would quote from Job, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” And then he would say, “At that time there wasn’t a clear answer.” And if you think about it, as you read through the Hebrew prophets in the Old Testament, they did speak about a time coming when death itself would be destroyed. But the message was ambiguous and it was incomplete. Then Pastor Chuck would reference the age of philosophy; those great Greek thinkers, Socrates and Plato and Aristotle and others, and how that the golden age of philosophy had come and gone and there still was no definitive answer to the question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?”
Pastor Chuck would then ask, “What is death?” He would point out that there’s really two different definitions of death. There’s the definition that most of us have: we think of death in terms of the consciousness being separated from the body. And that certainly is death in one sense. But then he would remind us that, “No, the Bible speaks of a different kind of death.” And first and foremost, from the biblical perspective, death is the separation of the spirit and the soul from God. Because man is essentially a spirit. We’re really primarily spirit. Our body is the house for our spirit, and the body is the medium through which the spirit expresses itself and experiences the relationships and so forth in this life. Pastor Chuck put that strong emphasis on the fact that we’re primarily spirit, reminding us that when the time comes, and the body is no longer capable of really expressing the spirit, it’s at that time God steps in and delivers.
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).
In this tent that we’re living in, we groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed with that heavenly dwelling. And Pastor Chuck would use this Scripture to remind us that this is what God has ultimately prepared for us. The apostle Paul describes our bodies as just a tent, a temporary dwelling place, a place that inevitably is going to become inadequate. When the tent wears out, then God moves us into a building.
And to conclude, Pastor Chuck would then say, “Now if you get up some morning, and you read in your papers that Chuck Smith died,” he said, “don’t believe a word of it. That’s bad reporting. A more accurate report should read, ‘Chuck Smith moved. He moved out of a worn out tent into a glorious mansion that God has prepared for him.’”
To read the full autobiography of Pastor Chuck, please click here for more information.
One other thing this page would not be complete without, would be his tribute video. I highly encourage you to watch this also. It’s quite long, but then Chuck’s ministry encompassed many, many years. Watching it can only inspire you to reach higher in your own walk with the Lord.