As a young man, Meade reportedly served in the United States armed forces on the front lines in World War II. According to church literature he was seriously injured more than once, but there is no indication of this in his service record. During the early 1970s Meade began to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to various groups of young people in their late teens and early twenties. They met in living rooms, garages and various meeting places throughout the United States.
He founded Meade Ministries (now Mountaintop Ministries Worldwide) in 1984, he relocated his ministry from South Dakota and Indiana to Lake City, Florida. According to the church, God told Charles Meade that Lake City, Florida, would be the only place that believers could survive Armageddon. In a 1998 New York Times article about doomsday groups, writers Alex Heard and Peter Klebnikov explained Meade's beliefs about the apocalypse:
The world will soon be engulfed in a sticky white substance, Meade has said, leaving his church standing as a beacon of light. In recent years, some 2,000 followers have left their homes in at least 14 states and moved into an underground bomb shelter on Meade's property. The Meade-ites have prospered in local businesses, and the church has built a stunning $10 million worship center shaped like an overturned Noah's ark -- a design that is meant to attract new members.
Meade was married twice, first to Marie Meade who died of breast cancer on October 24, 1985, and then in November, 1985 to Marlene Helen Malthesen.
- Barnard, Jackelyn (May 12, 2005) "Former Endtimer Speaks Out" First Coast News (Jacksonville, Florida)
- Lewan, Todd (2005) "Meade, the self-styled prophet: a man cloaked in lore and mystery" Associated Press, reproduced from the Daytona Beach News-Journal of 17 April 2005 at this website Archived June 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. by The International Cultic Studies Association; requires Microsoft's Internet Explorer
- Klebnikov, Alex Heard and Peter. "Apocalypse Now. No, Really. Now!". The New York Times Magazine. The New York Times Company. p. 4. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
- Hughes, John (1991) "A Town Possessed - Endtimes Ministries" South Florida Sun Sentinel of May 19, 1991, reproduced at Cult Awareness and Information Center
- Leithauser, Tom (1988) "Who is Rev. Charles Meade? Leader of religious sect moving to Lake City" Lake City Reporter of November 21, 1988
- Four-part series by AP writer Todd Lewan (April 5, 2005) Associated Press, accessed via commercial service Lexis/Nexis
- "Part I: A self-styled prophet, a legion of followers, and a 'Promised Land' in Florida" reproduced at website The Times and Democrat and as "In Lake City, an apocalyptic Promised Land" in the Gainesville Sun
- "Part II: The End Timers thrive in Lake City, but what goes on behind their walls and fences is not always so pretty" reproduced at website The Times and Democrat
- "Part III: An unassailable house of worship - and incessant demands for money" reproduced from the Daytona Beach News-Journal of April 18, 2005 at website International Cultic Studies Association; requires Microsoft's Internet Explorer
- "Part IV: A 'promised land' made prosperous - yet suspicious and divided" reproduced at website Tampa Bay Online, from Internet Archives
- "How this series was reported" from International Cultic Studies Association Web Site (formerly American Family Foundation); requires Microsoft's Internet Explorer