Southern California megachurch pastor Chuck Smith is expected to be released this week from rehabilitation after suffering a minor stroke more than a week ago.
"Pastor Chuck has made great progress," reported staff at Smith's church, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in Santa Ana, Calif.
"He is hoping to resume his old schedule as soon as possible," they added in the church's website.
Smith had been rushed to the hospital in the late evening of Dec. 26 after having what his doctor described as a "mini stroke." Though he was originally expected to leave the hospital after 48 hours of being monitored, Smith remained hospitalized for several days more and did not move into the rehabilitation stage of his recovery until around the middle of last week.
Smith, who discipled church leaders such as Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., and Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque in New Mexico, is senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and a recognized speaker at pastors conferences.
Since Smith started pastoring Calvary Chapel in 1965, the congregation has grown from 25 people to a weekly attendance of 9,500.
The church has also been responsible for more than 1,500 church plants, including a few that have grown to become larger than the one in Santa Ana.
Calvary Chapel churches in America include the 13,000-large Calvary Chapel in Albuquerque, N.M.; the 11,000-large Calvary Community Church in Phoenix, Ariz.; the 10,000-large Calvary Chapel South Bay in Gardena, Calif.; the 10,000-large Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia; and the 7,000-large Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside.
Smith was ordained by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel but left the denomination in the 1960s.