Paul Crouch, Sr. (March 30, 1934 – November 30, 2013) Home-going Honored
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). Certainly this is true for Dr. Paul Crouch, a man who helped open doors for me and many other ministers, as founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Today, my heart is sad, yet I am thankful to God for nearly four decades of a special, life-changing bond with this giant in the faith.
Paul and his lovely wife, Jan, came into my life in the mid-1970s, and nothing was ever the same again for my ministry. I first appeared as a guest on Praise the Lord, their network’s flagship program, and was soon given a standing invitation to join them in the studio anytime I was in southern California.
Then, in the early 1980s, when Paul heard that I was starting a church in Orlando, he said, “Benny, why don’t you video your Sunday services? I’ll put you on the network free. All you’ll have to do is pay for the local production costs and send us the tapes.”
He not only encouraged us to begin our television ministry, but he gave me a year of free airtime. It was only one of the many selfless actions that endeared the Crouches to me.
I can’t tell you how much I loved reading his autobiography, I Had No Father but God. Even more, I enjoyed hearing him share stories about his early years growing up the son of Assemblies of God missionaries in Missouri. His father died when he was only seven years old, but his mother and grandparents raised him to follow God. He became interested in amateur radio and began telling people that he would someday use technology like that to send the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Paul Crouch received a degree in theology from Central Bible Institute and Seminary in Springfield in 1955. He met and married Jan in 1957, and soon after began the ministry that led him to work at two radio stations in South Dakota. He moved to California in 1961 to head the newly formed Department of Television and Film Production for the Assemblies of God. He continued working in radio, and then in 1973 he founded the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).
TBN, the nation’s largest Christian television network, has grown from one station to over 287 stations and is viewed globally on 70 satellite and over 18,000 TV and cable affiliates. In addition, Paul’s affiliated television networks now include Smile of a Child (for children), JCTV (for youth), The Church Channel, TBN Enlace, The Healing Channel (Arabic)), TBN-Russia, TBNE-Italian, TBN Nejat TV (Persian), and TBN-HD.
Today, as my wife, Suzanne, and I join people all around the world in grieving the passing of this extraordinary man, Paul Crouch Sr., we also rejoice that he is now in heaven. What an amazing life he lived! He had a servant’s heart, yet he was truly a giant in so many ways, and I was privileged to have him as a dear, dear friend for many years.
Often Paul and I got together to discuss what God was doing in each of our lives, and every time I was with him, I saw up close and personal a heart literally consumed with the love of Jesus Christ and the desire to use every means possible to reach the lost and hurting with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.
I can’t even imagine my life without Paul and his wise counsel, yet on this day of his glorious home-going, it is once again a time for all of us to reflect even more upon the tremendous impact of this man’s extraordinary life.
What a journey he made during his 79 well-spent years. God has used my precious friend to open doors that were once considered closed to the Gospel. Wherever I travel I benefit from the trail he blazed through his pioneering work as a Christian broadcaster.
Now Suzanne and I ask all my partners to be in prayer for the Crouch family, and the entire TBN staff during these days of bereavement. While we join our dear friends and loved ones in mourning this great loss, we also celebrate our brother’s reunion in heaven with the Lord Jesus, whom he served so faithfully during his memorable lifetime. I can only imagine the glory Paul is experiencing today in heaven with the Savior, whom he loved and served so remarkably, as well as with the hosts in heaven whose hearts were led to Christ through his untiring efforts to reach the nations through television!
Scripture tells us, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Today, Paul Crouch Sr. knows exactly what heaven holds for him. For that, though brokenhearted at his passing, we rejoice!