by Matt Crouch
Christian television has come a long way since those early days in 1973 when my parents and their small TBN startup team (which included me at twelve years old) helped pioneer this emerging broadcast medium destined to impact the world. Our very first viewers — a few thousand individuals scattered around the Los Angeles area — had to cut us a lot of slack as they watched our homemade programming through a snowy picture screen. I can still picture my dad, TBN founder Paul Crouch, sitting in front of TBN’s single, borrowed television camera, on a set that consisted of a shower curtain purchased at Sears, a couple of ladders, a folding chair, and a night stand from my parents’ bedroom.
Yes, a lot has changed in the nearly forty-four years since TBN broadcast its first program on the evening of May 28, 1973. That one cramped studio on Dyer Road in Santa Ana, California has grown into a group of state-of-the-art production facilities from Los Angeles to New York City, and in strategic places around the world like London, Madrid, Johannesburg, Jerusalem, and beyond.
How people are accessing TBN’s programming and content is changing too. A new generation of viewers are watching on smart phones, tablets, and from social media platforms. And what they’re seeing is different, even from the TBN of just two or three years ago. Yes, we’re still featuring the powerful and life-changing ministries of Christian leaders like John Hagee, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, and many more who have been speaking into the lives of individuals and families over the years.
But we’re also focusing on reaching “next-gen” viewers with a lot of great new programming that is cutting edge, relevant — and life-transforming. It’s ministry from emerging, vibrant speakers and teachers like Christine Caine, Steven Furtick, Beth Moore, and Kerry Shook. And it’s up-close programs like Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts, Why Israel Matters with Mat Staver, Adventures With God with Darren Wilson, and Restoring the Shack with Wm. Paul Young, author of the runaway bestseller The Shack.
In all these positive, progressive changes to faith-and-family television, however, one thing that hasn’t changed is the commitment we started with way back at TBN’s very beginnings to produce programming that communicates in a clear and biblical way the incomparable message of hope and grace through Jesus. That, of course, is the one and only reason TBN exists in the first place — to use television to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth, and to see as many people as possible, from every corner of the earth, come to faith in Him.
Thanks for continuing to stand with us in prayer as our team creates programming for every age group and demographic across the global TBN Family of Networks.