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Dr. Paul Chappell is the senior pastor of the Lancaster Baptist Church and president of West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, California. He has been married to his wife, Terrie, for over thirty years and is the father of four married children all serving in Christian ministry.

1.You’ve had a tremendous ministry at Lancaster Baptist Church, as well as your college and media outreach. How did God lead you to become involved in this ministry?

I trusted Christ as my Savior at the age of ten on a Sunday evening after hearing the gospel preached at church. A few years later, when I was going into the eighth grade, I sensed God calling me to preach during a service at our church summer camp. Actually, as I look back over my life, so many of the significant decisions have been made through hearing and responding to biblical preaching.

The Lord brought my wife Terrie and I to Lancaster Baptist Church in Southern California in the summer of 1986 at the request of twelve members. We had no idea how God was about to work or that our church would grow in both size and areas of ministry (such as West Coast Baptist College, Daily in the Word radio, and Striving Together Publications). It’s been exciting and humbling to see how God has worked—not only in our ministry as a whole, but in individual lives that have been transformed by the gospel.

2. When it comes to helping families, you’ve had a tremendous impact through your speaking and writing. What are some of the areas where you feel your work is making the greatest difference in the lives of others today?

The first group I think of, outside of our church, are the over two thousand graduates of West Coast Baptist College serving in vocational ministry around the world. Many new students have recently taken advantage of our restructured online Master’s program to further their Bible training and ministry effectiveness. That’s been a blessing to see.

Additionally, it’s been a blessing to hear from listeners of the Daily in the Word broadcast as well as readers of some of our books. In particular, Terrie and I have been grateful for really encouraging feedback of readers sharing how our newest book on marriage, Are We There Yet?, has helped their marriages.

3. Many people are sadly unfamiliar with how biblical principles influence their marriage and family. Share some examples of how biblical teaching influences marriage and family life.

I think it’s easy for all of us to be most interested in biblical teaching in a particular area when we encounter difficulty in that area—such as marriage or parenting. And when we’re having trouble, that is a good time to search God’s Word for help.

But truthfully, God—the creator of marriage, the family, and each of us as relational beings—has given us His Word, not just for emergencies, but to build relationships and families that flourish. What Terrie and I have discovered over the past three decades of marriage and ministry is that two strong, growing Christians usually have a strong, growing marriage as well.

This is because as we grow in our relationship with the Lord and walk in obedience to His Word, rather than escalating conflict or further exasperating difficult situations, we give and respond to life situations in the ways that God designed relationships to work. That’s a little over-simplified, but it is a good starting place. Another way to say it is that rather than seeing the Bible as a topical manual for troubleshooting in relationships, we should see it as a way to build our relationship with God and to respond to Him—not just react to situations—in ways that please Him. Thankfully, we have the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us.

4. As you serve beyond your local church at speaking events and through broadcasting, what do you see as some of the most significant issues facing believers today? What are some ways people or churches are responding in positive ways to these issues?

The issue for every Christian, and especially every local church, is getting the gospel to the lost (Mark 16:15). That’s not to say other issues—such as family, cultural, or political issues—don’t matter. They do matter. But I notice that families and churches that get focused on some of these peripheral issues tend to lose their passion and diligence in sharing the gospel.

In fact, in the last chapter of Are We There Yet? Terrie and I pointed out how easy it is to get issue-orientated (as an individual or as a couple) and miss the larger picture of the purpose God has for, in this case, marriage. We pointed out that the big picture of marriage is growth in Christ, modeling the gospel, and more effectively serving the Lord together.

5. As a husband, father, and now grandfather, you seek to provide godly leadership and set a positive example for your family. What legacy do you desire to leave behind for your family and beyond when it comes to serving God?

I love this question because, outside of my relationship with the Lord, my family truly is my greatest priority, and I want to leave a strong legacy for my children and grandchildren for Christ. Fundamentally, I want that to be a legacy of faithfulness—that I not only started well, but that I finish well and with a godly testimony. I also want to leave a legacy of truth—I want my grandchildren, like my four children, to have a personal relationship with Christ and to embrace biblical truth for their lives.

Ultimately, leaving a legacy isn’t really about us—it’s about the Lord and pointing others to Him. As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” It is my desire to live for Christ who died for me.

[For more information about Dr. Chappell and his work, visit https://www.dailyintheword.org.]

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