Freed to live through the death of another.

Do You Know Tim Challies?

He’s the owner & proprietor of, one of the world’s most popular and influential evangelical Christian blogs. He’s the author of several great books. He’s the guy who got the Discerning Reader up and running, as well as being one of the founders of Cruciform Press. He is a conference speaker and world-traveller. In short, Tim is famous.

But ‘Famous Tim’ is just one side of the man. And if ‘Famous Tim’ is the only side of him you know, then let me humbly suggest that you don’t know him all that well.

I know Tim as my friend. I’ve observed him living life as a husband and father. I’ve watched him serve as a pastor of a small, independent, not-famous church in Canada. I’ve watched him live his life before God. And the more I’ve gotten to know him, the more I thank God for him.

I’ve wanted to write this for some time now, because I’ve read a lot of things written about Tim in various seasons of his public ministry that are simply not true. But I didn’t want this to seem reactionary or defensive, so I’ve waited for a time that’s relatively controversy-free.

My intention in writing about Tim is not to glorify him or make him seem more perfect than he is. But I do want to make sure you know that the man behind the blog is a real man of God. He is not someone different when he is out of the public’s view.

Tim is naturally shy and shrinks back from the limelight. But God has called him to public ministry, so he labours to be faithful, even where he’s not entirely comfortable. Tim doesn’t feel particularly gifted at preaching, but he has been called by the church to teach, so he serves with all the grace God gives him. He doesn’t have a seminary degree, but he labours hard and long in the study to make sure he understands and rightly divides the word for God’s people.

Though many people I know like to name-drop and make sure you know just who exactly they are, Tim pastors a church where many of the members don’t even realize the magnitude of his influence. They don’t respect him for his blog. Never once have I heard Tim brag about his popularity; he works to make sure no one thinks better of him than they see in him (2 Cor 12.6). The people of Grace Fellowship Church respect him not because of his fame, but because he follows Jesus. He lives a humble, disciplined and godly life before them: a life that calls others to follow him as he follows Christ.

Tim is a man who has a heart for the local church, for the weak and broken people who populate it, and for children. His heart reflects the loves of Christ.

Is Tim perfect? You already know the answer to that, even if you don’t know him. But Tim knows that answer to that too. And that’s what keeps him humbly and happily serving where God has placed him.

But what I do want to make sure you know is that Tim Challies is a man who, behind the scenes, away from the public, loves Jesus and lives for him everyday.

He’s the kind of guy I’m very humbled to know, and very happy to call my friend.


  1. bchallies

    That is lovely, Julian. Thank-you!

  2. colleen

    First thing, every morning after I log on, I check the headlines, then CHALLIES DOT COM. If I am delayed, I think of getting to the computer soon to do just that. I love to fill my mind with the good news and items of interest…seems like he instinctively knows just what I like to read and learn. Thank you for sharing this about your good friend. colleen in raleigh, nc

  3. Luma Simms

    This is lovely, thank you.

  4. Kim

    Thanks, Julian! I've long admired and benefited from, but it's nice to know that the man behind the blog is a faithful servant of Jesus.

  5. Grace

    Thanks for writing this…as his sister I can say, all you have written is true and watching his spiritual and personal growth over the past years has been amazing.

  6. Kim Shay

    When I was at T4G last April, I was in the bookstore, and I saw Tim in there. I'm not the type to go running up to people and introduce myself, and I definitely didn't want to embarrass him, so I just went about my business. He didn't walk around announcing his presence. He was just walking around looking a books. He was very unassuming, and from that I had a feeling he was someone who didn't seek the limelight.

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