Jim Bakker is a pioneer of Christian Television. From humble beginnings, he rose to build one of the largest ministries in the world.
As a young man, Jim was called to “make Jesus real” to the world. During the golden era of television, he was divinely inspired on what medium he could use to do just that. He dreamed of a night-time Christian talk show-one that could display the format and quality of The Johnny Carson Show.
In 1966, his dream came true. While hosting a children’s show on Pat Robertson’s fledgling Christian station in Virginia, Jim became the founder and host for the first Christian talk show- “The 700 Club”. For eight incredible years, Jim hosted the ground-breaking variety show with the top ministers and singers of the day.
Jim and his family later joined Paul and Jan Crouch in California to pioneer a new television ministry. Jim was the first President and a founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, which today, still beams around the world with 24 hour a day Christian programming.
In 1974, Jim relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina to birth one of the most dynamic ministries the world has ever known-The PTL Club, The Inspirational Network, and a state of the art Christian retreat center called Heritage USA. At the height of the ministry, there were 86 religious services held a week at Heritage USA. By 1986, Heritage USA was the third most visited destination spot, following Disney World and Disney Land.
Jim also pioneered Christian television in 52 nations as well as founding Heritage School of Evangelism, Heritage Academy and related schools. In addition to his many responsibilities at PTL, Jim authored more than ten books, and developed several special editions of the Bible.
In 1987, Jim Bakker resigned as President of PTL after a moral indiscretion he had committed seven years earlier was brought to the public’s attention.
PTL was placed into bankruptcy by its new management and in 1989 Jim was indicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison on charges of overbooking the lodging space at Heritage USA. Jim was re-sentenced in 1991 to 18 years and then later reduced to eight years in Federal prison. He was released on parole in 1994 after serving five years.
On July 22, 1996, a Federal Jury ruled that PTL was not selling securities by offering Lifetime Partnerships in Heritage USA, affirming what Jim said since the very first day he was indicted. His case was overturned and the judge was dismissed from the case.
In 1998, while working in the inner-city ministry of the Dream Center of Los Angeles, Jim met Lori Graham. After an abusive marriage of years of substance abuse, Lori founded a ministry of women who were suffering the emotional scars from abortion. They married that year and have totally dedicated their lives to ministry.
In 2002, Lori and Jim were blessed with the happiness of expanding their family with five beautiful children from the inner-city of Phoenix where Lori had ministered for years. In that same year, Jim and Lori were offered the opportunity to move to Branson, MO to begin the New Jim Bakker Show.
In 2003, sixteen years to the date that Jim had made his last broadcast from PTL, he and Lori launched their new television ministry from Branson, Missouri. With the help of PTL Partner, Jerry Crawford, the ministry staff converted a bar/restaurant to a café/television studio called Studio City Café. Mr. Crawford’s marriage was healed at a seminar at PTL 25 years before and he took on a personal mission to help Jim launch his new ministry.
The New Jim Bakker Show is an hour-long daily broadcast seen on over 50 affiliates throughout the United States, over 600 cities in Canada, and in over 200 countries around the world through Direct TV and Dish Network.
Jim helped in designing a new Christian Retreat Center called “Morningside” just outside Branson, Missouri. This 600-acre property is a planned community owned and built by Jerry Crawford. The main building serves as the world headquarters for the Jim Bakker Show and related ministries. This building has an enclosed, Old World style Main Street that Jim has named, “Grace Street”. The building houses the studio, Grace Chapel, a restaurant, Youth Center, and shops as well as over 100 condos. Jerry Crawford is also building a housing development and multiple family dwellings at Morningside.
Jim is considered to be one of today’s experts on the Book of Revelation.
Since prison, he authored, “I Was Wrong”, “The Refuge”, and “Prosperity and The Coming Apocalypse”. His message is one of grace and total restoration. Millions relate to Jim and Lori’s testimonies of the redemptive power of love. “If God can put Jim and Lori’s lives back together then he can do it for anyone.” says Bakker.