Calvary Chapel movement founder Chuck Smith, who stunned his congregation with the news of having lung cancer this past Sunday, plans to be interviewed Thursday evening by Harvest Ministries leader Greg Laurie for what is promised as an in-depth look at the "man behind the message."
Smith, 84, is scheduled to appear for the interview at the Harvest Orange County church campus, just a short drive away from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa which he has led since 1965.
“Papa Chuck,” as he is often lovingly referred to, was a key figure during the nation’s “Jesus movement” in late 60s and early 70s. Members of the movement were called “Jesus people” or “Jesus freaks.”
As result of the movement, more than 1,000 Calvary Chapel-type churches were planted. Prominent Christian pastors also came from this era, including Jon Courson, Don McClure, Skip Heitzig, Mike MacIntosh, Raul Ries, and Laurie.
“Rarely does a man come along that impacts an entire generation,” Harvest Ministries event organizers said. “Contemporary Christian music and worship effectively started under his direction. He has inspired thousands, including Pastor Greg, to start churches around the world.”
Smith was scheduled for a biopsy on Tuesday, and reported Wednesday on his daily “Pastor’s Perspective” radio show that “things are coming along” after more tests. His surgery is scheduled for next week.
He was also scheduled to give his yearly prophecy message at his church Wednesday evening, which is also broadcast on various Calvary Chapel Radio Ministry affiliate stations.
“Let’s be praying that God will give him peace in the middle of this storm and wisdom to the doctors and all those involved,” Laurie posted on his Facebook page.
Laurie also wrote that on Thursday he “will do an in-depth interview with him so you can better get to know the ‘Man behind the message.’”
Thursday’s event will also include music by Christian artist Dennis Agajanian and the Harvest Worship band performing a special "Jesus Movement" set of songs, organizers said.
After a prayer request for Smith was made on a Calvary Chapel Facebook page, many in the online community expressed their gratitude for receiving Jesus through his ministry.
“After hearing him for the first times 28 years ago he was one of the reasons I found Jesus,” Facebook user John commented. “I was divorced from my wife at the time and separated from my three boys. We have since re-married each other and the boys all have come to know Jesus along with my six grandchildren … I will be praying for him … what an amazing legacy.”
The live broadcast of the interview will be available at Harvest.org Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. PT.