Dr. Charles Stanley, founder of In-Touch Ministries, is stepping down after nearly 50 years as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta.
“Earlier this month, I informed the board that I felt the time had come for me to step down as senior pastor,” he said. “I have many wonderful memories. But as much as I love being your pastor, I know in my heart this season has come to an end.”
Stanley, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and who will turn 88 later this month, will become pastor emeritus. “To say I didn’t rush this decision would certainly be an understatement,” he said.
The church said in a statement on its Facebook page, “We are forever indebted to this man of God — not only our faithful pastor, but also a pastor to millions around the world.”
Dr. Anthony George, who assisted Stanley as the church’s associate pastor since 2012, will take his place.
“Thank you for being strong and of good courage through every battle that you’ve had to fight, through every trial you’ve had to overcome,” he said. “You have stood tall and confident through all these years while at the same time remaining dependent and prayerful before an almighty God. Because you were a yielded vessel for the gospel of Jesus Christ, through you, has blanketed this globe. Truly, God has been with you wheresoever you have gone.”
In his message, Stanley said he was “so grateful” for George. “Thanks to Anthony’s leadership and his love for you and his love for God. I have no doubt that there are many great days ahead for the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. My hope is that the greatest days are still ahead.”
-Alan Goforth | Metro Voice