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Dr. Charles F. Stanley’s legend began in Southwest Virginia

“All things become new why because I have a new person living on the inside of me, and that person is none other than the person of Jesus Christ. We are free and liberated because of his indwelling presence.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley

Pastor Dr. Charles Stanley is well-known to his followers for his devotion to Jesus Christ.

Not so well-known are his humble beginnings.

Dr. Stanley was born in Dry Fork Virginia, in Pittsylvania County in 1932. From this rural community, he went on to build a ministry with millions of followers all around the world.

Stanley lived in the Dry Fork community with his mother, after his father died when he was only nine months old.

Eventually, they moved to Campbell Street in Danville, where Stanley is said to have been a paper boy.

The family attended the nearby First Pentecostal Holiness Church, where one can still see the sanctuary where Stanley began his walk with God.

“Well, I don’t know that I could say that not that piece of furniture,” said Rev. Myron Bruce, the church’s current pastor. “But he sat in approximately that space. The second pew.”

Stanley’s grandfather has been instrumental in building the church. His picture on a wall shows photos of church leadership through the years.

“The Reverend George Stanley. He was actually a pastor and church planner and he was actually involved in the establishment of the first Pentecostal church in Danville,” Bruce said.

Church member and Sunday School Teacher Craig Stowe who passed away over a decade ago first noticed Stanley.

“He stood out as a good kid in the eyes of Craig Stowe,” Bruce said.

So, it was that Stanley was there attending a revival on June 9, 1944.

“On the day that he made his decision to accept Christ, it was a Sunday morning and he came to the second pew and he his mother were sitting there, and at the end of the service he responded to the invitation and went forward and began that spiritual journey,” Bruce said. “He said in just moments he said I had a true peace and was convinced that God had begun that spiritual work in his life.”

The connection to Danville remained for a time.

Stanley would begin his growth there as a spiritual leader, called to the ministry at age 14.

A lightning strike and resulting fire destroyed the nearby original and since rebuilt Moffett Memorial Baptist church in 1971, where Stanley was ordained in 1956.

After pastoring at a number of churches, Stanley began his television ministry with The Chapel Hour in Atlanta.

Then Pat Robertson asked if the Christian Broadcasting Network could air some of his work — and the program went from local to national.

In 1977, Stanley created In Touch Ministries.

“Back in 1977 when God was opening so many doors for this television ministry we didn’t really have a name that I thought would work. In my office at the time I had a bible that was called In Touch and I just knew it was the right name for what god was telling us to do,” Stanley said in a recorded video released on his official website.

The program was distributed around the world using television, radio, the internet, and even one million “messengers” – solar-powered audio devices containing the bible and Dr. Stanley’s sermons in more than 100 languages.

Dr. Stanley would serve two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

As the years went by the ministry’s reach grew and grew.

Stanley authored more than 70 books, and in 2014 In Touch dedicated its new state-of-the-art studios.

But long before that, in Dry Fork and later Danville came a message from his mother.

“He said his mother never told him to follow the pastorate or preaching or anything like that,” Bruce explained. “She told him to seek God and he will make it clear what your path should be.”

A paper boy from the humblest beginnings, who became one of the world’s greatest and most famous messengers of the Christian faith.

“God did tremendous work in Dr. Stanley’s life and we are all blessed and better for his trust in the Lord and his decision to follow God,” Bruce said.

Source: WSLS News 10

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