Paul Franklin Crouch • March 30, 1934 – November 30, 2013
With a heart to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to every corner of the earth, Dr. Crouch spent his life and energy using television for that very purpose, building TBN into America’s favorite faith-and-family network as well as the world’s most influential Christian broadcaster.
The son of Assemblies of God missionaries to Egypt, Dr. Crouch was born in St. Joseph Missouri, March 30, 1934. Feeling a strong call to Christian ministry, he attended Central Bible Institute (CBI) in Springfield, Missouri, earning a degree in theology in 1955. While at CBI Paul Crouch also got his first taste of broadcast, helping to establish the college’s campus radio station, KCBI-AM.
In 1957, Paul married the former Janice Bethany, and the couple moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, where Paul took a position as an announcer at radio station KRSD-AM, quickly progressing to become the station’s program director. Before long he was promoted to head KRSD-TV, NBC’s new Rapid City affiliate — an important training ground that immersed Paul in the emerging field of broadcast television.
Four years later the Crouches moved to California, where Paul was called by the General Council of the Assemblies of God to organize and operate its new Department of Television and Film Production, a position that gave him an opportunity to create and oversee a wide variety of Christian films and audiovisual productions.
In 1965 Dr. Crouch moved on to become the general manager of radio station KREL-AM in Corona, California, eventually purchasing a minority ownership of the station before leaving in 1970 to manage Christian stations KHOF-FM and KHOF-TV, owned by a church in San Bernardino, California.
In 1973 Dr. Crouch’s leadership in Christian broadcasting began in earnest when he and Jan stepped out in faith to launch Trinity Broadcasting Network with one small, low-power station in Southern California. Over the next forty years, under Dr. Crouch’s prayerful direction, TBN not only became America’s most watched Christian network, but grew into the second largest television broadcast group in America and the world’s largest religious broadcaster. Today TBN and its 26 global networks and affiliates reach every inhabited continent on 80-plus satellites and over 20,000 television and cable affiliates, as well as via the Internet.
As the President of TBN, Dr. Crouch had the opportunity to empower scores of ministries to expand their reach and influence through television. With that leadership he also took an active role in helping to lead tens of millions of individuals to faith in Christ — an eternal harvest that he considered his most important legacy.
For his leadership in Christian broadcasting Dr. Crouch was presented with three honorary doctorate degrees: the Doctor of Litterarum (D.Litt) in 1981 from the California Graduate School of Theology; a Doctor of Divinity in 1983 from California’s American Christian Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Laws degree in 1985 from Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Dr. Crouch was also honored with numerous awards over the years by both local and national organizations, and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Private Sector Initiative Project.
Dr. Crouch was the author of several books, including the auto-biographies I Had No Father But God and Hello World, as well as the novels Omega Code, Megiddo, and The Shadow of the Apocalypse.
While acknowledged throughout the broadcast industry as the foremost leader in Christian television, Dr. Crouch maintained a characteristic modesty concerning his role, preferring to emphasize the countless friends and partners who stepped alongside him and Mrs. Crouch to make TBN a successful outreach. Above all, in reflecting on his crucial role in TBN’s continuing impact, Dr. Crouch inevitably pointed to the importance of an undying faith in God, which he characterized as “walking to the edge of all the light you have … and taking one more step.”
Paul Franklin Crouch, founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), died November 30, 2013 at the age of 79 following a decade-long battle with degenerative heart disease.
Janice Wendell Crouch • March 14, 1938 – May 31, 2016
A woman of great faith, courage, and compassion, Jan, as she was known by millions of friends around the world, spent her life spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to every continent, and encouraging everyone she touched with God’s love and grace.
The daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Edgar Bethany, Jan was born on March 14, 1938, in New Brockton, Alabama, and grew up in Columbus, Georgia, where she experienced the benefits of a rich spiritual heritage through her father’s ministry as a pastor in the Assemblies of God denomination.
After graduating from high school, Jan went on to attend Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri, where she met Paul Crouch, a student at nearby Central Bible Institute. The couple married in 1957, and over the next several years served in pastoral ministry at various churches while Paul worked in management in both radio and the emerging field of broadcast television.
In 1965 the Crouches moved to California with their two young sons, Paul Jr. and Matthew, where in 1973 they took a significant step of faith, blazing a trail for the new medium of Christian television with the launch of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Beginning with one small, low-power station in Southern California, over the next forty years Paul and Jan, with the help of countless partners and friends across the earth, grew TBN into America’s most watched faith network and the world’s largest religious broadcaster. Through Paul and Jan’s vision and leadership, today TBN reaches over one billion potential viewers on every inhabited continent through thirty-plus global networks broadcasting on over eighty satellite channels and tens of thousands of television and cable affiliates, as well as via the Internet.
As TBN’s Vice President and Director of Network Programming, Jan was responsible for the development of much of the inspirational, life-changing programming that has become the hallmark of TBN and faith-and-family television worldwide. Along with Paul, Jan also helped guide TBN’s expansion to include its 37 owned-and-operated full-power stations across the U.S., along with its many innovative global networks, including: the Smile of a Child children’s network, the JUCE TV network for teens and young adults, the Church Channel, the Enlace Spanish-language network, TBN Asia, TBN Europe, and TBN in Africa, along with many other popular TBN networks and affiliates in the Middle East, Russia, and elsewhere.
In 2007 Jan’s duties expanded significantly when she became the President and Creative Director of TBN’s Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, developing the Bible-based theme park into one of the nation’s premier faith-and-family vacation destinations.
Jan’s heart of compassion also led her to found the Smile of a Child foundation, a humanitarian relief organization that provides medical supplies, food, clothes, and toys to underprivileged children around the world. Jan had an especial love for the nation of Haiti, where through Smile of a Child she built a clinic and service facility, and where, through the years, she helped improve the lives of many children and families.
In 1990 Jan was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma for her many contributions to the field of Christian television. Jan was also responsible for many awards and honors received by both TBN and Holy Land Experience, including the Golden Angel Award from Excellence in Media; the Parents Television Council’s Entertainment Seal of Approval, presented to TBN and the Smile of a Child network for their positive, pro-family programming; and several Brass Ring Awards, presented to Holy Land Experience by the IAAPA, the largest international trade association serving the world’s theme parks.
Above all, what Jan treasured most throughout her life were the countless individuals who came to faith in Christ and who were touched through her lifetime of ministry and service. When Jan left this world, she did so with the firm assurance of the heavenly Father’s welcome into her heavenly home with the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
“Jan Crouch loved many things,” said her son, TBN Chairman Matthew Crouch, “but most of all she loved Jesus, and now has seen Him face to face and has experienced His grace in fullness.”
Janice Wendell Bethany Crouch, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), died May 31, 2016 at the age of 78 following a short illness.