Founder of Calvary Chapel movement, Chuck Smith, stuns church, announces he has lung cancer


By Dan Wooding

Pastor Chuck Smith

The congregation at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, were stunned today (Sunday, January 01, 2012) when Pastor Chuck Smith, its senior pastor, announced during his Sunday morning services that he has lung cancer and will have a biopsy on Tuesday and surgery the following week.

Chuck Smith, now in his eighties and the father of the Jesus People Revolution in Southern California, said that he has never smoked in his life.

At at the end of the third service that was broadcast on KWVE 107.9 FM, his son-in-law, Brian Brodersen, joined with other pastors at the huge church and anointed him with oil and prayed for his healing.

Karl Corcoran, evangelism pastor at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, posted on Facebook, “Update: Pastor Chuck Smith having surgery this month for lung cancer after a series of tests this week. Estimated recovery time is 3 weeks.”

In response to the posting, Kathy Buckley Keys said, “We were stunned with the news of Pastor Chuck. His ways are higher than ours and He is able to keep that which is committed to Him so we commit Pastor Chuck and all that is related to him, family, doctors and treatments to the Great Physician who knows Pastor Chuck intimately and ask for His guidance, favor, love and support through this time.”

Shortly after the announcement, the KWVE Facebook page was flooded with goodwill messages for Chuck Smith.

Joni Barger wrote, “I’m praying for a miracle. I’m an avid listener to the radio program. Pastor Chuck I’ve learned so much from you. God is with you Sir.”

Kim Krabbenhoft-Ancora posted, “Oh I am so sad…tears…we will be lift him up in prayer…but as said above, Pastor Chuck of all people will use this to bring Glory to The Lord!!!”

Adrianna Kneefel added, “We love you Pastor Chuck…the Lord uses your life daily to feed thousands of His sheep. Praying that much fruit would come out of this and that the the sickness would be removed in Jesus name…we speak words of life! Lord let your servant live and continue to bring the Word. Chuck is a bright light in a dark age…Lord let his light shine!”

Rachel Fret said, “I was floored when I heard the news this morning. Praying for Papa Chuck and his family. .. my husband had an aunt who died of lung cancer a few years ago. She never smoked in her whole life. Doctors assumed that it was due to where she was living…Redlands, Ca…air pollution. Don’t know but yeah, we found out then that it’s not a cancer caused by smoking.”

And Cassandra Voight Estes posted, “Praying… Please Lord keep Chuck with us so that others might hear your precious word. You have blessed Chuck all these years. I know he will not waste his cancer and you will use it for you glory.”

In a previous tribute to Chuck Smith, ANS correspondent, Brian Nixon, who for several years co-hosted Pastors Perspective with Chuck Smith, wrote: “Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel Movement and one of the key figureheads of the Jesus Movement, has touched the hearts and lives of countless of people in his six decades of ministry.

“Not to mention his influence upon the fabric of Christian culture: from the 2,000 plus Calvary Chapel churches spanning the globe to the praise-and-worship phenomena initiated in the 1960’s. His impact looms large in the halls of modern Christian history.

“Sadly, however, Pastor Chuck had a brief setback, suffering a couple of what were described as ‘mini-strokes’ at his home on December 27, 2009.

“I was blessed to have worked side-by-side with Pastor Chuck for almost eight years, covering numerous fields: education, publishing, radio, and television.

“Not only was I able to glean from his words, thoughts, answers, and actions, on a weekly basis, but I was also able to watch him in a variety of situations: answering questions on a radio program we hosted together, cooperating with him on books, brainstorming and praying with him through tough educational situations. And, most special of all, to watch his interaction with other human beings.

“Let me say that … Pastor Chuck is a true gentleman. He is a man who understands God’s grace and the need for people to experience that grace in the love of Christ.”

I ask all of our ANS readers to pray for a swift recovery for this great Man of God, that he may be able to continue his amazing ministry for many more years to come.


  1. NOT the sort of news I wanted to hear on New Year’s Day (or any other). Dear Pastor Chuck, you are so loved by so many, most of who have never even had the privilege of meeting you face to face. You have taught me so much and I listen to you a lot- my iPod is filled with your podcasts :-). Lifting you up in prayer to Precious Jesus, you loves you even more than we do. May His perfect will be done for you and yours. Much love – please recover – we still need you around!

  2. I have known and worked with Pastor Chuck since the summer of 1968. He has always encouraged me and my wife personally and in ministry. May God heal him and keep him with us another 20 years. May the Lord watch over and comfort his precious wife-Kay-On behalf of my wife Debbi, from Moscow, George Bryson.

    *Dear Pastor Chuck, we are earnestly praying with all of the Calvary Chapel’s in Russia and around the world for you and your dear Kay. By the way, that was a great message (as always) this morning

  3. When I received Jesus on Sept. 18th 1972, I was in my apartment
    in Laguna Beach. I had a friend named Ann and she took me to
    Calvary Chapel in the tent and I heard Pastor Chuck speak.
    I had lots of his old tapes and I would play them to and from work.
    I could not attend church at the time of my re-birth and playing
    his tapes and Mike Montgomery’s tapes taught me the Word of God.

    Today I attend Calvary Chapel, San Juan with a young pastor named
    John Randolph. I will never forget Chuck Smith’s influence on
    so many of us in the 1970’s.
    Every day I start out with “Wisdom for Today” by Chuck Smith.
    We start today with the introduction and Jan 1st. He is beloved
    by many and we shall all pray for him and his family.

  4. I was sad to hear that you have lung cancer, I started to go to a Calvary Chapel about 8 years ago and felt so loved by all that were there, they became my family. I am a Calvary Chapel family member at CC Thousand Oaks California. I will be praying for your full recovery though this ordeal I know the Lord is with you and will be carrying you all the way. You have been an inspiration to many and will continue to be. My Bible is written though Calvary and I love the foot notes that help us understand the word of God. The power of prayer is amazing and has been though out my life with many things. We love you and pray that you recover fast, God bless

  5. Pastor Chuck,
    Even as God extended the life of King Hezekiah I pray that the lord would do the same for you and not have you look and translate any shadows but also to extend you life beyond 15 years. Brother I just want you to be able to share with all of us the rapture. I know that you would just be a blessing to hang out with in the millenium and beyond, but to see that joyful expression of the fullness of God in your life would be a miracle we would all wish to see. Lord let him hang around till you return and then we can all come unto you together.

  6. Pastor Chuck, I am one of the many people who have learned what a real personal relationship with Christ is because of your teaching. There is one sermon from at least 30 years ago where you taught about love of things and you spoke of buying a new car and becoming possessive of that car when you thought you had overcome such feelings. It was not only valuable as a lesson, but it was the funniest thing I had heard in a long time. It kept me laughing through a long midnight shift at Pearl Harbor. I have never forgotten it and I am sure many others have like memories. I too have cancer and will be having surgery Jan 16th for it. I can draw strength of Isaiah 12:2 and trust God because I have sound teaching from teachers sent from the Lord of which you have been chief. I am adding my prayers for your healing to the thousands of others who love you. God bless you and grant you much Aloha in Christ.

  7. Pastor Chuck,
    After the death of our youngest son over eight years ago, our oldest son was looking for comfort and support. He found it at Calvary Chapel in Bellmawr, NJ. One day he was listening to a cd and the voice sounded familiar to me. I asked if the guy preaching was from Costa Mesa California? He said yes he was. It was you. My work partner and I use to listen to your show every day while working at an oil refinery back in the late seventies. There were a few other electricians who we met with and we became known throughout our union as “the God Squad.”
    Last year I started reading your Bible commentary and I really enjoy how you share the Word. You will be in our prayers. The Lord bless & keep you and hold you in the Palm of His Hand.

  8. Pastor Chuck is an example of faith and intregrity, he has the faith in God to go through, around, into, out of, or healed from this condition. We can’t do better than to join with him in prayer for healing and ” Thy will be done”
    He is such an example of God’s grace to me, I pray God’s grace will now abound to him.
    Pastor Garry

  9. I don’t know what to say…
    As a young man I remember going to Costa Mesa to hear Pastor Chuck. I remember his big smile. I remember crying in Chuck’s arms after a service in the tent. I remember standing at the edge of the beach waiting to be baptized by Chuck. I remember standing in church with my arms raised and singing with my brothers and sisters. I remember Pastor coming to the Musicians fellowship and sharing with us about honoring the Lord. That it was not about us. I have made many mistakes along the way but the Lord has used His Word, the Holy Spirt and Pastor Chuck to keep me on the narrow path. Finally, I remember Pastor Chuck saying look to the Lord. So today I look to the Lord and say thank you for Pastor Chuck, Kay, and their faithfulness. I look to the Lord even though I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. But I know that Pastor would tell me that you don’t have to understand the why you just need to trust our Lord for the outcome. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 8, Ephesians 3

  10. Pastor Chuck: I am a product of the Jesus Movement. Your life has touched mine hundreds of times over the years, from you example of what the church should look like in the 1960’s and 70’s to your sermon notes on blueletterbible to your commencement address at my daughter’s Master’s Degree graduation at Azusa Pacific University a few years back. God bless you during these days and may your faith remain strong in our might God.

  11. From Dee Why (Sydney), Australia – Cancer, what a criminal / robber! Thank God for the hope we have, that Pastor Chuck explained to us so well for so many years. I remember the night I heard him teaching through 1 John on KWVE in 1988 – This is how we know! I’ve been taught and encouraged and challenged each time I’ve listened to Pastor Chuck simply teach the Word simply – such a blessing! The Lord bless you; and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you; and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you; and give you peace!

  12. Dear Pastor Chuck, whenever people are looking for a church I always say, “look for a Calvary Chapel” – you have left a great legacy. To me, everyone who might be struggling with a terrible disease right now will identify with you. You will bless each of them with your attitude and many will come to faith. Praise God. I will be praying that God, Who has asked you to take this cup, will provide the way of escape – a gift to suffer for Him. How we love u

  13. Growing up in CC Downey, it was my foundation for my adult beliefs. The name Chuck Smith, was as known in our home as Jeff Johnson. My prayers for total healing, for the Lords healing to open the eyes of non-believers or those that question. For the family and friends of Pastor Smith to find the inner strength, peace and comfort to be the pillar of strength as he goes through surgery, treatment and healing. And for Pastor Smith to be a living testement to the awesomeness of our Lords healing touch! God bless you and yours……

  14. Will keep praying for you and your family. My daughter goes to Calvary in

    Spokane WA .and I listen to you on my radio….God is with you..Jer 29:11.

    God Bless you and your family and all of the Calvary family everywhere.

  15. Steven Burton Father God i lift up Pastor Chuck Smith to you and i pray that you Jesus would place your healing hands on Pastor Chuck Smiths’ body and with your healing hands i pray you would rebuke the cancer from his body and rebuke satan who is causing this in his body, I know you are the God of miracles and the great healer and physician. I pray for his family too that you help them get through this and wrap your loving arms around them it is in your son Jesus name i pray Amen

  16. Over the last 20 yrs, I have explored the riches of the Word of God with the guidance of Chuck and Nancy Missler at Khouse in Idaho, Craig Langhan at Mirabeau Chapel in Washington , and Carl Palinkas at Calvary Chapel in Oregon. Chuck Smith has been instrumental in the walk of each of these fine followers of The Way. Thank you , Papa, for Chuck Smith. Please comfort, sustain and strengthen him and his family in his struggle with disease. If it is your will, use his recovery for your glory. Even so, come Lord Y’shua. Amen.

  17. Dear Pastor Chuck,

    I am a little shocked by the news, and am in prayer for your speedy recovery. I have followed Calvary Chapel and Harvest since the 70’s. I also attended Pastor Mike Finizio’s church in Manhattan for almost 10 years back in the 80’s. I was introduced to your ministry through a brother I met back in 1979, Mike Christ, on a missions trip to Scotland. I pray for God to move mightily in your life and know He is not finished with you yet!! amen. Thank you for your dedication and inspiration to all of us and know that the father is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. In Christ, Nichola Campagna

  18. Paster Chuck baptized me. He let me sing at his Sunday night services going thru the bible back in the 70’s. He is the most godly man I have ever known and I love him. His face and smile bring me joy because he knows in whom he trusts. Jesus Christ. I pray that he will be healed and continue on blessing people with his keen and genius of a mind (God-given), his joy, his spirit, and knowledge of God’s holy word.

  19. You opened your home to me as an alcholic teenager and for a year I sat in your living room and heard the words of the Bible. Then when you had your church in the Lutheran church I sat for another couple of years hearing the words of the Bible. Each Sunday morning I would run out of the service and cry. I then went up for an alter call and ran up for every alter call you ever had all the way through the tent years. I went to every baptism at Corona del Mar and got baptized about 14 times before you told me to stop. I now have read the Bible through from beginning to end about twenty times. I am in love with Jesus and thank Him for using you to point the way to a fullfilling life filled with Him and void of the sin of alcohol and all that goes with that curse. Be healed in the name of Jesus or come quickly Lord.

  20. Dear Pastor Chuck… another bump in your life’s journey here on earth… another opportunity for God to reveal His great love, grace, forgiveness and redemption to mankind.
    I attended CCCM for many years. I had the privilege of going through the Bible on Sunday nights from Genesis to Revelation 4 times. God touched my heart so powerfully through your faithful teaching–I often went home after Sunday night’s Bible study and would sit in the dark for several hours basking in the Glory of God…relishing in His love and grace.
    I praise God for you, Pastor Chuck, and for your faithfulness in being our Shepherd. The love of the Lord just oozes out of you like a fountain of Living water. We love you Pastor Chuck because you always pointed us to Jesus Christ and the Father–not to you.
    I am praising God for you and praying He will also use this to bring Glory to Himself through you. Selah!

  21. May the Lord whom you loved and served touch you with his once wounded hands- I loved listening to your teaching when you came to the Ware House Ministries in Sacramento and had a privilege to attend a seminar held for Calvary Chapel pastors in Northern California and you invited me to come to come to Costa Mesa to work with you and I spent a couple of days with you and how gracious you and your wife and the whole staff members were with me.
    God’s promised to be our HEALER – Ex.15:26 . May it come to pass for you.
    Shim Habte – First United Methodist Church, Willows, CA

  22. Dios le bendiga pastor Chuck y estare orando por usted
    Me and my wife receive Christ one night at Calvary Costa Mesa
    during one Pensando en Ti event with Pastor Fausto Flucker
    oh what a beautiful night that was and then on the next day
    being at church with Pastor Robles and to this day serving the Lord what a privilege being also part of your ministry

  23. Dear heavenly Father
    My life is in your hands. I understand at any time I can be remove from this world and be present with you. I will see you in all your glory. I will praise your name. Lord until then I will do the work you have called me to do, with joy. I thank you Jesus for your unfailing love. You are the same yesterday, today and forever, Thank you Jesus. In your most amazing name I pray Amen and Amen!!!

  24. I’m 54 know and I remember going to Chuck Smith’s church. God used him to help me be more like Christ. I thank God for this and I thank Chuck Smith for surrending to the Lord and allowing Christ Jesus to work through him.
    In Christ love.

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