The founder of the world’s largest Christian TV network, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) died today. Paul Crouch, Sr. was 79 year of age. In October, reports began circulating that Crouch has fallen sick while in Dallas, Texas visiting a TBN facility there in Colleyville. He was reported to have been taken to a Dallas-area hospital but later returned to California for further treatment for heart related issues.
Paul Franklin Crouch, Sr. was born the son of a Missouri missionary but moved to California in the early 1960s where he managed the movie and television unit of the Assemblies of God. Approximately 10 years later Dr. Crouch is said to have received a message from God to begin a television network. He began buying tv stations, cable channels and satellites to launch a 24 hour network solely devoted to providing Christian programming.
The Trinity Broadcasting Network had grown to be “the country’s most-watches religious network”, by the mid-1980s, according to authors of the book “Prime-Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting.”
Dr. Crouch could often be seen anchoring the TBN Network’s nightly flagship show, “Praise the Lord”, alongside his wife Jan Crouch. He was known for preaching a gospel of prosperity and came under criticism for his extravagant taste in mansions, jets and lavish expense accounts.
In recent years, Dr. Crouch and TBN have been battling family lawsuits. His granddaughter, Brittany Koper, who formerly held the position of Director of Finance and Human Resources filed a lawsuit claiming the family was distributing luxury goods in excess of $50 million to company directors. She says she was fired for refusing to keep quiet about the commingling and illegal use of funds and allegedly threatened with physical harm.
For more than 40 years on the air the Crouch’s solicited their followers, also known as “prayer partners”, to give generously to help them further God’s works. Those tax-exempt pledges and donations enabled them to build a network that surpassed all of its rivals in size and worldwide reach. TBN reaches every major continent via 84 satellite channels and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.
Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.