Trinity Broadcasting Network 

Founder Paul Crouch 79 --  Goes To Be With The Lord

November 30, 2013

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Firestorm extends deepest sympathy to Paul's family and all of the TBN helpers and supporters around the World

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Cynthia Littleton,

Editory-in-chief @Variety

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Minister and wife Jan built TBN into world's most widely

distributed 

Christian TV network

Paul Crouch,

a pioneering televangelist and founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died Saturday. He was 79 and had been in failing health.



TBN has endured since its founding in 1973 and remains one of the worlds most widely distributed Christian television networks with an expansive lineup of programs and personalities. It also has offshoots in Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

According to TBN, Crouch got his start in broadcasting after helping to build a radio station while a student at Central Bible Institute and Seminary in Springfield, Mo. He became a radio announcer in Rapid City, S.D. in the late 1950s and served as g.m. of the citys NBC affiliate station, KRSD-TV.

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By the early 1960s, Crouch relocated to Burbank, Calif., to run the film and TV production department of the Assemblies of God, where he produced a range of film and TV projects. He managed several other religious radio and TV outlets in Southern California before founding TBN with his wife, Jan. The pair became prominent figures in the evangelical community as hosts of the nightly talkshow Praise the Lord.

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TBN ranks as one of the nations largest TV station groups with 29 full power stations reaching 41% of U.S. TV households.

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November 30, 2013, 6:37 p.m.

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In the mid-1970s a vision came to Paul Crouch, but it wasn't what a man of the cloth might have expected.

A map of North America had appeared on his ceiling, glowing with pencil-thin beams of light that shot in every direction. "Lord," asked Crouch, a Pentecostal minister, "what does this mean?" God, according to Crouch, had just one word for him: "Satellite."

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Crouch, who belonged to the Assemblies of God, had been trying to spread the Gospel through a small television station in Tustin, but the vision changed his business plan. He bought more television stations, then piled on cable channels and eventually satellites, filling the airwaves with evangelical programming until he had built the world's largest Christian television system  the Trinity Broadcasting Network, or TBN.

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The controversial pioneer of televangelism, whose broadcast empire was called "one of evangelicalism's most successful and far-reaching media enterprises" by the Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, died Saturday, said his grandson, Brandon Crouch. He was 79.

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Crouch, who had heart problems and other ailments, was hospitalized in October when he became ill during a visit to a TBN station in Colleyville, Texas. In early November the network announced that he had improved enough to return to California. His family did not immediately disclose where he died or the cause of death.

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TBN was not the first Christian network  televangelist Pat Robertson had launched the Christian Broadcast Network a decade earlier  but TBN surpassed its rivals in scope and ambition, bringing the word of God to a global audience of millions

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"He has created an enormous platform for many ministries to do what he says is very important to him  that is, to spread the Gospel not only in this country but around the world," said Steve Strang, founder and chief executive of Charisma Media, a leading publisher of books and magazines for charismatic and Pentecostal Christians.

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The son of a poor missionary, Crouch was known for preaching a gospel of prosperity. His twice-yearly Praise-a-Thons on TBN generated as much as $90 million a year in donations, mostly in small amounts from lower-income Americans. "When you give to God," Crouch said in a typical appeal, "you're simply loaning to the Lord and he gives it right on back."

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Crouch channeled much of the revenue into charity, funding soup kitchens, homeless shelters and an international humanitarian organization, Smile of a Child, founded by his wife, Jan. In 2011 he donated more than 150 low-power TV stations to Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, which helps minorities, women and other underrepresented communities own and operate TV and radio stations.

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But Crouch's main mission was to build an alternative to secular media, a dream he achieved with single-minded devotion and creativity. TBN, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, is a 24-hour family of networks with something for nearly every evangelical Christian demographic. Offerings have included Biblical cartoons and soap operas, game shows, programs on fitness and faith healing, religious movies and late-night Christian rock videos. Prominent independent ministers such as Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart and Robert Schuller bought airtime on TBN, which also broadcast Billy Graham's crusades.

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The center of Trinity's lineup has long been the nightly talk show "Praise the Lord." Hosted by the silver-haired Crouch and his flamboyantly coiffed wife, it emanates from an Orange County studio decorated with stained-glass windows, gilded imitation antiques and plush pews for the audience.

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http://www.FirestormMinistry.com



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