Pastor Chuck Smith’s lung cancer advances from Stage 3 to Stage 4


By Dan Wooding

Pastor Chuck Smith
Pastor Chuck Smith

Janette Smith Manderson, the daughter of Pastor Chuck Smith, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, has issued an urgent prayer request for her father who is battling lung cancer.

In a message posted on Facebook, she wrote: “Update on my dad: Prayer warriors, it is time to put on your armor and fight in the spiritual arena. Dad’s doctors just upgraded his lung cancer from Stage 3 to Stage 4, due to the fluid in his lung. This fluid contains cancer cells. He just had the fluid removed for the second time.

“He will enter the hospital on July 1st to have more fluid removed (which will take two days) and a CAT scan to see if his lung is expanding. If his lung does not expand, he will have to have a catheter installed in the lung area to help him to empty the fluid at home. If his lung does expand, they will put talc into his lung to keep the fluid from forming.

“The talc procedure is simpler and preferable for various reasons. Please ask the Lord for His perfect plan for Dad to be accomplished. We trust our Heavenly Father to know best. Thank you eternally for praying.”

It was on Sunday, January 1, 2012, when many in the congregation at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, were shocked and surprised when Pastor Chuck Smith announced during the morning services that he has lung cancer. 

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

At the time Pastor Chuck, as he is known to his the thousands who attend his church, agreed to talk candidly with me about his illness.

During an interview he gave me during the “Meet the Missionaries” event at the church on Saturday, January 7, 2012, where he made a surprise appearance, he began by answering by question about how he was feeling.

“I’m feeling great,” he began. “You know, it’s an interesting thing, with what they say is going on inside of me, that I’m not feeling it at all. There is no pain and I am just rejoicing in the Lord.”

I then asked him when he first heard that he had lung cancer.

“Actually, I do my physical checkups twice a year and they take blood and analyze it and there was one of the factors that was in the blood that was increasing dramatically and so that was an indication that there was something wrong and it did indicate the possibility of cancer,” he said.

“So that instigated a bunch of tests — PET scans, CAT scans, MRI’s (Magnetic resonance imaging) — and the whole thing. It seems like it’s pretty much localized in the area of my middle lobe of the right lung, and so it looks like it’s treatable and so we know it’s in the hands of the Lord so I have no fears.”

He went on to say, “It’s all in the Lord’s hands and I am trusting Him to guide them, and I’m sure He’s guiding me.

“It’s an interesting thing that people expect you to sort of panic, but why?,” he asked, “because I know that God’s on the throne.”

I then asked Pastor Chuck why he decided to announce to the church at the three morning services that he had lung cancer.

“Well you know,” he said, “rumors can get going and they can get so distorted and so I wanted them to hear it directly from me rather than from some other source where they would not maybe get the correct information and I wanted them to hear it from me and know the confidence that I have in the Lord; that He’s on the throne and He’s going to take care of it and I’m not really panicked and I’m not really worried.

“Whatever comes, as I said to them on Sunday, the worst thing that can happen is I could die, but that’s great you know,” he added with a huge smile.

I wondered if he still planned to continue preaching and with his booming voice he said, “Oh my, yes. There will be no giving up on that just and I will be continuing on.”

And he has been doing just that with a busy radio and television schedule with his Pastor’s Perspective program on the KWVE Radio Network (, his weekly update on His Channel (,) and, of course, his busy preaching schedule at the church.

On December 27, 2009, Chuck Smith suffered a couple of “minor strokes” and was hospitalized in a local a local hospital, so I asked him how the lung cancer diagnosis differed from this latest situation.

“This is different because with the strokes I was really physically weakened as a result and it took a little longer to rehabilitate from that. But this is something that I expect to just be out for just a short time,” he said.

Finally how can people pray for you Pastor Chuck?

“Well, just pray that the Lord’s will be done because whatever it is, I’m open to Him,” he said.

Since the news came out about Pastor Chuck’s lung cancer, literally thousands of people around the world have been praying for him.

One of them is keyboard legend, Rick Wakeman, who played some benefit concerts for ASSIST at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa as well as other Calvary Chapels.

I asked Wakeman if he would comment on Chuck Smith for me from his home in the UK, from where he has been asking Christians in the British Entertainment field to also pray for him.

Rick said, “I first met Chuck so many years ago now, and what I do remember though is the impact this man had on me, and in many ways still does — I quote him a lot.

“What’s special about Chuck is that he lives in the real world. He is a Christian living in a world that like many of us, he doesn’t like a lot of what is going on, yet he works tirelessly to bring Christianity and decency amongst all the mayhem.

“You only have to look at Calvary Chapel to know that God is with him all the way and will always be so. Even Chuck is human though, and for many, including Chuck, fighting health issues is all part and parcel of the world we live in and a challenge that people like Chuck rise to.

“So many people are constantly in Chuck’s prayers, so I hope that they have put Chuck in theirs. He’s certainly in mine!”

So now, we need to all join together to pray again for Pastor Chuck as he faces this latest challenge.




  1. My prayers are for you Pastor Chuck, may the Lord’s will be done. I pray that you are doing better today and that your family is with you to love and encourage you. May God’s peace be with you. In His Care, Sharon

  2. The Lord’s peace be with you, pastor Chuck! May He give you a mighty healing touch! We love and respect you so much, you baptized my husband when he was a teenager, an experience he holds very dear. You are such an inspiration and example to us all. God bless you! With Love & prayers, Chuck & Laurie Rees

  3. Dear Pastor Chuck, I was one of the kids who came to Christ during the Jesus movement in the 70’s .And I have followed your teachings for over 35 yrs. I pray that our Lord will continue to give u peace and comfort during this time in your life. My son ,who is on heaven now, died and it was hard on me .But God is so good and knows what is in store for us. Praise God . I know God is in control, Pastor Chuck. So hang in there. A sister in Christ

  4. Dear Pastor Chuck, as I pray for your healing and God’s will. I must say how very thankful I am for the privilege to know you and your blessed ministry at Calvary Chapel for over the 30 years you have inspired me.
    Your teachings have truly been God’s gift to all your congregation. Although I no longer live in the area, when I visit I never miss attending Calvary. I lift my prayers for your family as well and know you are surrounding by such love. Thank you Jesus for Pastor Chuck Smith.

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