Home Christian News Chuck Swindoll, 89, Moves to Founding Role at Stonebriar; Jonathan Murphy Named...

Chuck Swindoll, 89, Moves to Founding Role at Stonebriar; Jonathan Murphy Named Successor

Chuck Swindoll
Screenshot from YouTube / @pastorchuckswindoll

Chuck Swindoll, one of America’s first high-profile megachurch pastors, will soon begin a new role at the church he founded near Dallas. Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, announced that on May 1, Swindoll will become the founding pastor, with Jonathan Murphy stepping into the senior pastor role.

Swindoll, 89, helped launch Stonebriar in 1998. Before that, he served as senior pastor of First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, California, for more than two decades. The preacher, whose “Insight for Living” Bible-teaching program airs on more than 2,000 radio stations globally, has written 70 books. Swindoll is repeatedly named one of America’s most influential pastors.

Murphy serves as a department chair and professor of pastoral ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary. The native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, is a married father of four.

Chuck Swindoll Is ‘Excited’ About His Church’s Future

Stonebriar has an average weekly attendance of more than 3,000 in-person and 16,000 online worshipers. A special announcement on the nondenominational church’s website explains the “new chapter” that is approaching.

“Pastor Chuck will continue to preach God’s Word at the pulpit on Sundays, while Jonathan will shepherd our day-to-day ministries and fill in at the pulpit when requested,” according to the announcement. “Pastor Chuck will continue to serve as mentor and advisor to Jonathan, and at the appropriate time in the future, Jonathan will then assume primary pulpit duties.

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Stonebriar emphasized that Pastor Chuck Swindoll “is not retiring.” Instead, he’ll keep preaching “as much as he desires and is able” and will remain one of the church’s nine male elders. When Murphy officially becomes the senior pastor, he too will become an elder.

In a video accompanying the church’s announcement, Swindoll and Murphy discuss how their mentoring relationship and ministry partnership have unfolded naturally. “You’re easy to love,” Swindoll told Murphy. “I hope you feel full freedom to be you. And that works its way toward the most natural and truly spiritual future and health for our church.”

Swindoll said he appreciates the absence of any feelings of competition or frustration during this pastoral transition. “We’re in the same family, we’re working on the same team, we’re serving the same Lord, we’ve got the same ideals and goals in mind,” he told Murphy. “Our purpose is to glorify our God.”

Chuck Swindoll’s Successor Is ‘Honored & Humbled’

According to the church, elders began considering Murphy as a future senior pastor about two years ago. During combined worship services at Stonebriar on April 28, Murphy will be commissioned through prayer.

“I’m honored and humbled,” Murphy said about his new role. “What a privilege to serve Jesus alongside my ministry hero, mentor, and friend, Chuck Swindoll.”