I heard as did you today that Jerry Falwell had died. He was definitely a lighting rod and everyone had an opinion about him. I thought you might like to know that God used him to start a church over 50 years ago that literally affected the entire world. He didn’t have the same vision that we have for our church but Thomas Road is proof that God can use you and our church to become a real world evangelism church. Here is a brief bio about Jerry from his web site:
At the age of 22, having just graduated from college in June of 1956, Jerry Falwell returned to his hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia and started Thomas Road Baptist Church with 35 members. The offering that first Sunday totaled $135. Falwell often says about the first collection, â€œwe thought we had conquered the worldâ€. Today Thomas Road Church has 24,000 members and the total annual revenues of all the Jerry Falwell ministries total over $200 million.
Within weeks of founding his new church in 1956, Falwell began the Old-Time Gospel Hour, a daily local radio ministry and a weekly local television ministry. Nearly five decades later, this Old-Time Gospel Hour is now seen and heard in every American home and on every continent except Antarctica. Through the years, over three million persons have communicated to the Falwell ministries that they received Christ as Lord and Savior as a result of this radio and television ministry.
In 1967, Falwell implemented his vision to build a Christian educational system for evangelical youth. He began with the creation of Lynchburg Christian Academy, a Christ-centered, academically excellent, fully accredited Christian day school providing kindergarten, elementary and high school. In 1971, Liberty University was founded. Today, over 21,500 students from 50 states and 80 nations attend this accredited, liberal arts Christian university. Falwellâ€™s dream has become a reality. A pre-school child can now enter the school system at age 3, and 20 or more years later, leave the same campus with a Ph.D., without ever sitting in a classroom where the teacher was not a committed follower of Jesus Christ.