Biography of Jack Chick
From early childhood, it was obvious that Jack Chick had an ability to draw. He even failed the first grade because he was so busy drawing airplanes in battle. As he grew, Jack was constantly drawing, and honing skills that God would later use in a great way.
While in high school, none of the Christians would have anything to do with him because of his bad language. They all agreed not to witness to him, convinced that he was the last guy on earth who would ever accept Jesus Christ.
After graduation from High School, Jack won a scholarship to the Pasadena Playhouse to study acting, but his studies were interrupted by the military. He spent the next three years in the Army, which took him to foreign countries like New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and Japan.
After being discharged from the service, Jack returned to the Playhouse, where he met and married his wife, Lynn, who was instrumental in his salvation. While visiting Lynn's parents in Canada on their honeymoon, Jack's mother-in-law insisted that he sit and listen to Charles E. Fuller's Old Fashioned Revival Hour radio program. Jack recalls, "God was already working on my heart, but when Fuller said the words, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow," I fell on my knees and my life was changed forever."
Once married, Jack used his artistic talents to earn a living. He had always longed to be a professional cartoonist, but now as a Christian, he desired to use his artistic talents for the Lord.
While working at AstroScience Corporation in El Monte, California, Jack was sitting in his car reading a copy of Power From On High by Charles Finney, which an old welder had given him. He remembers, "That book pushed my button. I went to church and saw all the deadness and hypocrisy, and I thought, 'that's why there's no revival.' So I started making these little sketches. My burden was so heavy to wake Christians up to pray for revival."
He couldn't find a publisher who was willing to print his book, so Jack borrowed $800 from the credit union and paid for the first printing of Why No Revival?
Right after the book was printed, he was driving down the road, when his eyes were drawn to a group of teens on the sidewalk. Jack remembers, "At the time, I didn't like teenagers or their rebellion. But, all of a sudden, the power of God hit me and my heart broke and I was overcome with the realization that these teens were probably on their way to hell. With tears pouring down my face, I pulled my car off the road and wrote as fast as I could, as God poured the story into my mind."
Within 15 minutes, A Demon's Nightmare was written. After going home and drawing the art, Jack Chick's very first soul winning gospel tract was completed. God miraculously used the owner of the company Jack worked for to pay for the first printing of this new soul winning book.
One day, Bob Hammond, missionary broadcaster of The Voice of China and Asia, told Jack that multitudes of Chinese people had been won to Communism through mass distribution of cartoon booklets. Jack felt that God was leading him to use the same technique to win multitudes to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not long after, he was invited to present the gospel to a group of inmates at a prison near his home. He drew several pieces of cartoon art and prepared a flip chart to illustrate what he was saying. At the conclusion of his message, nine of the eleven inmates present trusted Christ as their Saviour. Jack became convinced that God had given him a method of reaching people with the gospel that worked. That art was later put into booklet form and became the tract This Was Your Life!
Using his kitchen table as an office and art studio, Jack continued writing new tracts, as God gave them to him. Throughout the rough early years, he persevered as many bookstores were reluctant to accept this revolutionary concept. Jack recalls, "We were having a tough time out there. A lot of the bookstores were really outraged at some guy using these cartoons to present the gospel. They thought it was sacrilegious."
But demand for the tracts increased, and Chick Publications was formed as a self-supporting ministry. The Lord assembled a dedicated staff and the work grew. Soon, people began wanting Chick tracts in other languages, and the ministry became international in scope.
For over fifty years, the work has flourished. Jack Chick has written and published hundreds of illustrated gospel tracts in close to one hundred different languages. Copies of Chick tracts were even requested by the Smithsonian Institute for a display on American culture. Hundreds of millions of copies have been read world-wide.
Proof of the effectiveness of Chick tracts is the fact that testimonies continue to pour in from around the world. Many current testimonies cover two or even three generations. People recount how Chick tracts were instrumental in their salvation thirty years ago, then in their children's salvation and now in the salvation of their grandchildren.
Partially because of Jack's travels overseas while in the military, he has always had a special burden for missions and missionaries. The sights he saw in New Guinea and other countries left an indelible mark in his brain. He thrills each time a new tract is translated into a foreign language. His burden has always been to get the gospel into the hands of millions of lost people around the world. He wanted to be a missionary himself, but his new wife wanted no part of missionary life. Her aunt had been a missionary in Africa. While pregnant, she was being carried across a river on a stretcher, when one of those carrying her lost a leg to an alligator.
But God had other plans. He wanted Jack to stay home and produce effective gospel literature that missionaries could use to win the lost. As a result, many missionaries love Chick tracts and use them to reach multitudes they could never reach one on one.
Today, over fifty years after writing his first tract, God is still giving Jack Chick new gospel tracts. In fact, he is now producing some of his most popular work. As of this writing, five of the ten most popular Chick tracts in stock have been written in the last year or two.
Today, Jack labors without the love and support of his wife, Lynn. On February 10, 1998, his love of 50 years went home to be with the Lord.
A pastor who recently called us summed up the life and ministry of Jack Chick quite well. He said, "The thing I appreciate most about Jack Chick is that thirty years ago when I read my first Chick tract, it was a pure soul winning tract, presenting the gospel in a simple format that anyone could understand. Today, thirty years later, he hasn't changed a bit. While many other Christian leaders have left soul winning far behind, Jack Chick is still faithfully producing easy-to-understand soul winning gospel tracts with a salvation message that anyone can understand. He has never swerved or strayed from his calling to share the gospel with the lost multitudes around the world."
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