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The only public hints of her reasons came in a letter to the congregation last year in which she said, "Long ago .
Andy Stanley confers with his father, Charles, at First Baptist Church Atlanta, while Andy's son, Garrett, and his nephew, Matthew, wait on the side.
The minister sat in a massive chair behind an enormous desk.
He spread his arms across the desk as if he were bracing for battle.
The church helped pioneer a new way of worshipping that used contemporary Christian music, stage lights, video skits and visual props during sermons. The church is Southern Baptist but its appeal transcends denominational and racial lines.
Churchgoers wait outside the entrance to First Baptist Church Atlanta on a recent Sunday morning. The children's area at Andy Stanley's North Point Community Church.
Visitors to First Baptist Church Atlanta stand in front of a birthday cake model honoring Charles Stanley, the church's senior pastor.
Stanley, whose televised broadcasts from First Baptist are beamed across the globe, was one of the first pastors to recognize the power of radio and television.
Alpharetta, Georgia (CNN) -- Andy Stanley walked into his pastor's office, filled with dread.His secretary scurried out of the office when she saw Andy coming. The minister stared in silence as Andy gave him the news. After Andy finished, the pastor looked at him as tears welled up.The pastor had baptized Andy when he was 6, and groomed him to be his successor. "Andy," he said, "you have joined my enemies, and I'm your father." 'I understand drive-by shootings' He won't wear a suit or a tie in the pulpit.In it, Anna Stanley acknowledged that she and her husband are "not living together at this time," but are "working toward that end." She did not attend services.
Her move ends three years of nervous speculation about the fate of Stanley, 62.Stanley's books, which often center on self-help and leadership themes, are so popular that even some non-Christians purchase them for tips on leading organizations.