Publication: One-to-One, Winter 2006
It seems like yesterday when I was writing an editorial about my father’s fortieth anniversary in Gospel ministry, but another amazing decade has passed. In December of 2005, Rev. Charles Simpson was honored by Covenant Church of Mobile with a celebration of fifty years of ministry.
And as I write this, I am surrounded by the happy sounds of his grandchildren—six of which were not with us ten years ago. In many ways, they exemplify what his ministry has been all about. Perhaps you know their story: in the mid-1990s, with the support and blessing of my parents, my sister, Charlyn, moved to Costa Rica as a missionary, to learn the language and the culture and to minister to at-risk children.
Many of you have heard about how God has used her to bless hundreds of children from the streets, barrios, and squatter’s camps; how the Lord gave her a wonderful husband, Enrique Mejia; and how they stood together in battle on behalf of five children whom they eventually adopted. Those children, plus another biological daughter born to Charlyn and Enrique, are now visiting with us here in the United States for a few days of great joy and family fellowship.
Himself the son of a pastor, Charles Simpson’s ministry began more than 50 years ago, being licensed by the First Baptist Church of Theodore (AL) on June 16, 1955, and he quickly moved into ministry to “the outsiders”—the least, the last, and the lost. Whether at the local rescue mission or starting church services at a riverside bar, his ministry—from the beginning—was “out of the box” and typified by compassion for the “lost sheep.”
Ordained as a Southern Baptist pastor in 1957, he took a small, hurting congregation in Mobile, and together they were swept into a powerful move of the Holy Spirit that eventually became known as the Charismatic Movement. Dad was an early pioneer in the Charismatic Movement, finding great acceptance among a wide variety of denominations and crossing previously unimagined boundaries for fellowship and ministry.
His Bible teaching back then, as today, focused on Christ-centered living, walking in the Holy Spirit, worship, family, the Church, covenant relationships, practical discipleship, evangelism, godly manhood, restoration, and joy—all taught with his unique combination of piercing insight and warm humor. Literally millions of people worldwide have been influenced directly and indirectly by his ministry.
In 1969, along with Don Basham, Derek Prince, and Bob Mumford, he was part of the launching of New Wine Magazine, a strategically influential Bible teaching publication throughout the 1970s and 1980s. After New Wine ceased publishing in 1986, Charles Simpson Ministries gave birth to many other outreach efforts, including One-to-One Magazine and The Covenant & the Kingdom Bible Study Curriculum. Another ministry born out of New Wine is Integrity Media, the world’s largest praise and worship music company.
Dad has traveled more than three million air miles, and countless miles by car, to share the Gospel around the world. He is the author of books such as The Challenge to Care, Courageous Living, and the collection of humorous stories, Take Your Hat Off, Son! He was also a Contributing Editor for The Spirit-Filled Life Bible, a special New King James Edition that was over- seen by Pastor Jack Hayford.
But he has never sought out media acclaim or the spotlight of spectacle. He is, at heart, a pastor. In 1973, he founded Covenant Church of Mobile, a non-denominational Charismatic congregation that has since planted numerous churches and ministries around the world. In 1999, he resigned as Senior Pastor of Covenant Church to focus on his ongoing ministry of offering personal care, insight, and encouragement to pastors and spiritual leaders in the marketplace.
Also in 1999, work was completed on the Ern Baxter Memorial Library on the Covenant Church campus, which Charles Simpson built to not only honor his longtime friend in ministry, but to provide a place for education and encouragement for the next generation of Christian leaders. Out of this has come Covenant Institute, an innovative combination of DVD, written curriculum, internet learning, and one-to-one mentoring.
All of this has been rightly noted by many contemporary church historians, particularly Dr. David Moore in his superb book, The Shepherding Movement.
But what impresses me most, as one of his children, is that Dad’s first priority has been his family. A loving husband of nearly 45 years to Mom, Carolyn, and father to Charlyn, Jonathan, and myself, he has unselfishly given himself to us and has proven in private to be a man of great integrity. My sister, brother, and I are all serving the Lord today, along with our three wonderful spouses. Dad and Mom have the affection of their seven grandchildren— each of whom has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
None of this is by accident, which Dad—on a feisty day—will tell you himself. As a family, we are in debt to he and Mom for their prayers, their love, their tears, their sacrifices, and their generosity. Understand, I’m not bragging on my Dad—OK, maybe a little bit— but I really want to boast in the Lord, for His faithfulness and loving kindness to us.
As Editor-in-Chief, Dad will likely be somewhat irked that I’ve taken so much space in this issue of One-to-One for this tribute. But, I trust that you, our wonderful readers, will join with me in taking note of this momentous occasion, in thanking God for His servant, and in praying for many more years of fruitful and joy-filled ministry.
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.