The minister sat in a massive chair behind an enormous desk.
He spread his arms across the desk as if he were bracing for battle.
A technician at First Baptist Church Atlanta prepares to celebrate the 80th birthday of Charles Stanley, the church's senior pastor.
Stanley was a church innovator, one of the first pastors to install an orchestra in a church.
The church helped pioneer a new way of worshipping that used contemporary Christian music, stage lights, video skits and visual props during sermons. The church is Southern Baptist but its appeal transcends denominational and racial lines.
Churchgoers wait outside the entrance to First Baptist Church Atlanta on a recent Sunday morning. The children's area at Andy Stanley's North Point Community Church.
Each child carried one book representing the 45 books written by Stanley during his career. Stanley, wife of Charles Stanley, one of the Southern Baptist Convention's top leaders, quietly dismissed her divorce suit in an Atlanta suburb March 14, apparently securing the position of one of the country's most popular television ministers.The congregation of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Atlanta rejoiced at services March 17 when Stanley read a letter from his wife of 40 years.Stanley had promised to resign if a divorce became final, but had repeatedly said he believed reconciliation would occur. He chose his priorities, and I have not been one of them." The pending divorce caused turmoil in the church, including the resignation of several staff members who expressed dissatisfaction with Stanley's continued leadership in light of his uncertain ...
In a telephone interview the day the suit was dropped, Charles Stanley said, "Naturally, I'm pleased and grateful to God for answered prayer." Anna Stanley first filed for divorce in 1993, saying the couple had lived apart for a year. They placed the book on a shelf in front of the sanctuary.