Paul Franklin Crouch March 30, 1934 - November 30, 2013
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.
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.”
In addition to his wife Jan, Dr. Crouch is survived by sons Paul Jr., Matthew (Laurie), grandchildren, and one great grandchild.