Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) co-founder Jan Crouch went to be with the Lord on May 31 after suffering an unexpected stroke earlier that week. Her biography on www.janicewendellcrouch.com/bio says that she was born on March 14, 1938 in New Brockton, Alabama and grew up in Columbus, Georgia. After graduating high school, Jan went to Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri. She met her future husband Paul Crouch during that time while he was attending Central Bible Institute. They were united in marriage in 1957.
Jan Crouch was TBN’s Vice President and Director of Network Programming. One of the projects she is most known for and which Paul frequently gave her a lot of the credit for are the Smile of a Child network (TBN’s 24/7 kids channel) and a humanitarian relief foundation for children under the same Smile of a Child name. The Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando, Florida was also something that she personally oversaw after they purchased the park and revamped it. I have been there a couple of times and was blessed to go with my wife several years ago while the beautiful Church of All Nations auditorium was still being constructed there at the time. We would like to go back and see it all again whenever the chance comes along.
I have been meaning to do a blog post about the passing of Jan Crouch for a while even though I am just now getting to it a week later. I remember how it felt when I first heard about Paul’s passing a few years ago. It was like losing someone you know. Then again, Paul and Jan lived a good portion of their earthly lives for the whole world to see. As a result, they gave us a chance to get to know them and to share in the global vision God gave them to fulfill the Great Commission through television and eventually internet. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). If any two people took those words to heart and lived them out through actions, it was Paul and Jan Crouch. I am sure many of the TBN viewers are still feeling that same loss now even though we rejoice that they are together again in the presence of God.
I have told some of you my testimony before about how I did not have any kind of spiritual knowledge or foundation as a child. I eventually came to know the truth about Jesus through the “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, which is also where I get my love for studying prophecy. 28% of the Bible was prophetic at the time it was written so to ignore prophecy is to ignore almost one-third of God’s Word. The influence of those books on me cannot be stated strongly enough but because of that, what I sometimes forget to mention is that I didn’t actually pray a prayer of salvation immediately after reading the first book. I did that shortly after finishing the first book at the conclusion of an episode of Hal Lindsey’s program on TBN. It used to be called the “International Intelligence Briefing.” Now it is just called the “Hal Lindsey Report.” So it would be right to say that TBN, and thus Paul and Jan themselves, played a part in my coming to Christ. Countless others could say the same over the past 43 years since the network’s birth on May 28, 1973. The value of their ministry and the impact it has had on me personally is tremendous even though I never got the pleasure of meeting them this side of Heaven.
All glory goes to God for what He has been able to do through Paul and Jan Crouch. I am thankful for their faith and obedience throughout their lives and will never forget what their obedience to start TBN and faithfulness to keep it going has done in my life and so many others. I can only imagine how happy both of them are right now and I can't wait to meet them personally one day when all of the brothers and sisters of the body of Christ are united with Him forever.