ORLANDO, Fla. (SWBTS) -- In Touch Ministries, the broadcast and teaching ministry of First Baptist, Atlanta senior pastor Charles Stanley, announced the establishment of a $500,000 endowed scholarship fund on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, June 16. In Touch board member Dean Hancock presented Southwestern president Paige Patterson with the first of five $100,000 checks to be used to fund student scholarships at the seminary.
"It is our desire as a ministry to honor Dr. Stanley by giving $100,000 each year for the next four years to see the ministry of In Touch bless and be used until our Lord returns," Hancock said.
Hancock spoke of God's provision through a small Southern Baptist pastor in Virginia for Stanley to attend college. Shortly after he graduated high school in 1950, Stanley and a friend were discussing their futures when a local pastor stopped to talk with the two young men. During their conversation, Stanley's friend mentioned that Stanley wanted to attend college but could not afford it. The pastor saw to it that finances were provided for Stanley to attend the University of Richmond, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts.
"It was the pastor of a small church in a small town that opened the door for this day," Hancock said.
Patterson accepted the check on the seminary's behalf and expressed appreciation for In Touch's investment in future pastors. He noted that when Stanley found out that it would be another year before the endowment would produce the interest to fund student scholarships, he personally donated $10,000 of his own money to fund students for the coming academic year.
Southwestern honored Stanley as one of three distinguished alumni during the seminary's annual alumni luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention.
Stanley, whom Southwestern president Paige Patterson said is the most well known Southwestern alumnus in the world, is founder and president of In Touch Ministries, a global broadcast ministry that presents the Gospel in 50 languages on 1,800 television and radio stations around the world. Stanley also served as SBC president for two terms during the Conservative Resurgence. As a New York Times best-selling author, he has sold 6.5 million copies of his 35 books.
Patterson praised Stanley's steadfast obedience to the Lord regardless of the circumstances. He recounted occasions during the turbulent times of the Conservative Resurgence when someone would suggest a political shortcut, and Stanley would say, "Wait a minute. We don't have to win. All we have to do is please God."
Stanley thanked Southwestern for honoring him with a distinguished alumni award and gave all the credit to God.
"When I think about all the things that God has done and people ask me why, my answer is very simple: Just do what God tells you to do next," Stanley said.
"I have one goal: Get the truth of the Gospel to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, as simply as possible, in the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God.
"I have one bottom line by which I make all my decisions: obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. He can handle anything He sends my way."