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Janice Wendell Bethany Crouch, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), died May 31st at the age of 78 following a short illness.
A woman of great faith, courage, and compassion, Jan, as she was known by millions of friends around the world, spent her life spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to every continent, and encouraging everyone she touched with God’s love and grace.
The daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Edgar Bethany, Jan was born on March 14, 1938, in New Brockton, Alabama, and grew up in Columbus, Georgia, where she experienced the benefits of a rich spiritual heritage through her father’s ministry as a pastor in the Assemblies of God denomination.
After graduating from high school, Jan went on to attend Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri, where she met Paul Crouch, a student at nearby Central Bible Institute. The couple married in 1957, and over the next several years served in pastoral ministry at various churches while Paul worked in management in both radio and the emerging field of broadcast television.
In 1965 the Crouches moved to California with their two young sons, Paul Jr. and Matthew, where in 1973 they took a significant step of faith, blazing a trail for the new medium of Christian television with the launch of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Beginning with one small, low-power station in Southern California, over the next forty years Paul and Jan, with the help of countless partners and friends across the earth, grew TBN into America’s most watched faith network and the world’s largest religious broadcaster. Through Paul and Jan’s vision and leadership, today TBN reaches over one billion potential viewers on every inhabited continent through thirty-plus global networks broadcasting on over eighty satellite channels and tens of thousands of television and cable affiliates, as well as via the Internet.
As TBN’s Vice President and Director of Network Programming, Jan was responsible for the development of much of the inspirational, life-changing programming that has become the hallmark of TBN and faith-and-family television worldwide. Along with Paul, Jan also helped guide TBN’s expansion to include its 37 owned-and-operated full-power stations across the U.S., along with its many innovative global networks, including: the Smile of a Child children’s network, the JUCE TV network for teens and young adults, the Church Channel, the Enlace Spanish-language network, TBN Asia, TBN Europe, and TBN in Africa, along with many other popular TBN networks and affiliates in the Middle East, Russia, and elsewhere.
In 2007 Jan’s duties expanded significantly when she became the President and Creative Director of TBN’s Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, developing the Bible-based theme park into one of the nation’s premier faith-and-family vacation destinations.
Jan’s heart of compassion also led her to found the Smile of a Child foundation, a humanitarian relief organization that provides medical supplies, food, clothes, and toys to underprivileged children around the world. Jan had an especial love for the nation of Haiti, where through Smile of a Child she built a clinic and service facility, and where, through the years, she helped improve the lives of many children and families.
In 1990 Jan was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma for her many contributions to the field of Christian television. Jan was also responsible for many awards and honors received by both TBN and Holy Land Experience, including the Golden Angel Award from Excellence in Media; the Parents Television Council’s Entertainment Seal of Approval, presented to TBN and the Smile of a Child network for their positive, pro-family programming; and several Brass Ring Awards, presented to Holy Land Experience by the IAAPA, the largest international trade association serving the world’s theme parks.
Above all, what Jan treasured most throughout her life were the countless individuals who came to faith in Christ and who were touched through her lifetime of ministry and service. When Jan left this world, she did so with the firm assurance of the heavenly Father’s welcome into her heavenly home with the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
“Jan Crouch loved many things,” said her son, TBN Chairman Matthew Crouch, “but most of all she loved Jesus, and now has seen Him face to face and has experienced His grace in fullness.”
In addition to her husband Paul, who died in 2013, Jan was preceded in death by a sister, Laurie Quinn. Jan is survived by her sons, Paul Jr. (Brenda) and Matthew (Laurie); a sister, Dorothy Casoria; several grandchildren; and a great grandchild.