Trinity Broadcasting Network has had a vibrant presence on the continent of Africa since 1984. That’s when TBN founder Paul Crouch first partnered with government officials and church leaders in the southern African independent state of Ciskei to establish one of TBN’s first international stations.
In truth, Africa had always held a special place in Paul Crouch’s heart, for it was in the North African country of Egypt that he spent the first few years of his life before his missionary father’s health was broken and the family returned to America. “The grave of my own cousin, Rachel Crouch, a tragic victim of small pox, is in Egypt,” said Paul, “and the remains of countless other ‘soldiers of the cross’ who gave their lives for the kingdom of God are sown across the continent, precious seed awaiting an eternal harvest.”
With this poignant thought deep in his heart, Paul turned his efforts toward expanding TBN’s influence into what earlier generations of missionaries and explorers had termed the “dark continent.”
In the summer of 1984 Paul met with the leaders of both Kenya and the territory of Ciskei, South Africa. Both had agreed to allow TBN to build 100 percent Christian television stations in their country. “As it happened, Ciskei, South Africa was where the Lord decided to ignite TBN’s first flame in Africa,” recalled Paul Crouch. “That was followed by a partnership with Kenya’s national television network, which graciously offered us two hours per week of free broadcast time. God was on the move in Africa, and His Word spread like wildfire as doors opened up to a continent hungry for the message of salvation.”
It would be another three years before TBN’s Channel 23 in Ciskei would come on the air, but by that time Paul and TBN were discussing not just another station or two dotting the South African landscape, but an entire Christian network blanketing the southern tip of the continent, spreading the gospel 24 hours a day in a land where a few short decades before missionaries had traveled for days — and even weeks — to preach the message of salvation to a handful of remote villages. “Previous generations of precious missionaries, like my own mother and father, had prepared the soil and planted the seed many years before,” reflected Paul Crouch. “Now God was ushering in the great harvest, and we had the humble privilege of being a part.”
TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch recalled that when Nelson Mandela became President in 1994, he graciously met with Paul Crouch, confirming the importance of the Christian faith in his country and assuring him that TBN would continue to be free to broadcast the gospel there. “Today, because of President Mandela’s commitment,” said Matthew Crouch, “TBN continues its vital ministry throughout southern Africa.”
Here is a short video clip taking a look at TBN’s phenomenal growth and outreach through the continent of Africa.
In 2006 Matthew Crouch, Vice President of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, produced a powerful film entitled “One Night With the King,” based on the Old Testament book of Esther, the queen who risked her life to save the Jewish people. The movie starred a number of well-know actors, including big-screen legends Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. In a few short years the film has become a modern biblical classic cinema masterpiece, and will doubtless enjoy great popularity for generations of viewers.
The TBN clip above shows Matthew Crouch and wife Laurie at the opening night of “One Night With the King.” As you watch you can catch all the excitement of a “Red Carpet” movie debut, as well as the passion that motivated Matthew Crouch as he guided the film’s production.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson is well known as one of the key spokesmen lobbying for the rights of all individuals. In late 2013, Rev. Jackson spoke at a rally commemorating the 50th anniversary of the tragic bombing at Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four girls September 15, 1963. That attack, carried out by a local racist group, is considered by many historians to have marked a major shift in America’s historic civil rights struggle.
During his remarks the Rev. Jackson thanked the Trinity Broadcasting Network for taping and televising the event, and noted how effectively TBN has been at encouraging people from varied backgrounds in their faith. “I want to express my thanks to TBN for using their platform to tell the story of hope and possibility,” said the civil rights leader of TBN’s partnership in broadcasting the event.
Watch as the Rev. Jesse Jackson recounts some of the struggles — and the victories — that America faced over a generation ago.
In 2012, during an historic TBN partner tour to Israel, Paul Crouch passed the mantle of anointing that God had given him and Jan Crouch when they launched the Trinity Broadcasting Network over to their son Matthew Crouch, and Matt’s wife Laurie.
“My son and Laurie,” said Paul Crouch as, 1,800 TBN partners looked on in the outdoor theater in Caesarea, “the mantle that God placed on my angel Jan and me almost forty years ago I place now on you.” He recalled that God “spoke to us and called us to this ministry, and we both heard His voice together. That mantle now with love and joy I place upon your shoulders, that you now may continue to run with patience the race that is set before us — looking always unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He has never failed me and He will never faith you, my son. His Word is true. He will always be there right on time.”
During that same service popular TBN ministry partner Joseph Prince, who was the featured speaker and co-host of the historic TBN Holy Land tour, spoke a prayer of blessing over Matthew Crouch and Laurie as they prepared to assume that mantle of anointing for leading TBN into the future. “Father we thank you for this ministry of TBN,” Pastor Prince declared in prayer. “We thank you that you raised Dr. Paul Crouch and Jan and led them this past forty years of amazing ministry…. We thank you for all the platforms You have used them to create all over the earth, so that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached in these last days, Lord.”
Turning to the son, Pastor Prince said, “We thank you Lord as the mantle of anointing goes to this man Matthew Crouch. Heavenly Father we ask in the Name of Jesus that everything You have deposited in Dr. Paul Crouch will be imparted to his son Matthew Crouch, even right now in the Name of Jesus — the spirit of wisdom and revelation … and every spiritual gift necessary to bring this ministry to the next level.”
Click on the video link above to watch this important moment in TBN’s history.
T.D. Jakes has been providing consistent godly leadership to churches and believers for many years, and has mentored many men and women into positions of leadership. On a recent “Praise the Lord” show on Trinity Broadcasting Network, Bishop Jakes discussed with host Steve Harvey why the church is so heavily populated by women.
“Steve, we have a generation of men who were not raised by men, but by women,” he told Mr. Harvey. “They’ve been raised in a very unstructured manner, they are resistant to authority of any type or kind, and their excuse is that there is hypocrisy in the church, but that doesn’t wash because wherever there are people there is going to be hypocrisy. If that is the barometer by which you are going to measure, then you are going to have to stay by yourself.”
Bishop Jakes pointed out that his own church, the Potter’s House is composed of almost fifty percent men. “Here is what I know,” he said. “I don’t know where all the men came from in our church. They’ve always been there, and the key is engaging them with something that is relevant and challenging to their lives and hearts. If you get church out of the utopia that so many want to create and get it down to the functional level where men live out their daly lives, they will come. They will begin to see q quantifiable result in their lives and they will come. They’ll want to be in church. But if you’re just going to lay on the floor for a half and hour and speak in tongues forget about it. Men get lost in real strong emotionalism.
“As a pastor I have to present the gospel to men in such a way that it is provocative and challenging to them. We can’t allow the idiosyncrasies and weaknesses in men become the focus, because then we will just be trying to scale fish we haven’t caught.”
Bishop Jakes pointed out that many times a man is not only being challenged by the message he hears in church, but by the woman sitting by his side, the one who brought him. “So often the man is afraid that if he makes a commitment and gives his life to Christ, not only is he going to have the pastor telling how to live, but the woman as well,” he said. “If we would just back off and let God be God, and let the Holy Spirit do the work in a person’s life … it’s amazing what God will do if we shut up.”
Added the Bishop, “You see this with celebrities and other high-profile people, especially men. They are constantly in a fish tank where their every action is scrutinized. Everyone grows, but most of us can do it behind closed doors where no one else can see and criticize. It takes a great deal of courage to say, ‘I’m not there yet.’”
Bishop Jakes noted that many men feel intimidated because they don’t have it all together, and because they don’t know the rules of the so-called game that is often played among Christians. “It’s not necessarily that they hate church,” he explained. “It’s often that they just don’t want to be vulnerable to manipulation from religious acting people.
He said that the church needs to do a better job to allow people — especially men — room to grow within the context of who they are. “The apostle Paul confessed that he hadn’t arrived. But he said, ‘This one thing I do: forgetting those things that are behind I press forward for the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I haven’t got it yet, but I am reaching.’
This is why Christ died. He knew that some of us our better by nature and practice than others. But we are all still falling short of the mark. And that gulf that cause us all to fall short — all have fallen short of the glory of God — is why Jesus died. He died to bridge that gulf and bring each of us to right relationship with God.
“That is the message that will bring men — and women — to Jesus Christ, and what will fill up our churches. And it is that message that will nurture those who are not there yet, but with encouragement, the Word of God, and true fellowship will grow to maturity.”