American Adventist media ministry celebrates 50 Years of global evangelism.
“Amazing Facts” embraces big vision and reflects on small beginnings.
December 17, 2015
Sacramento, California, United States
Amazing Facts/ANN Staff
In early 1965, a small group of clergymen gathered together in Baltimore, Maryland to talk about the ineffective outreach efforts that were stagnating churches in their area. Among those meeting were visionaries Cyril Miller and Bill May.
Over the next few weeks, during sessions of earnest prayer, the idea of Amazing Facts was born. For the past 50 years this international, multimedia ministry has delivered a distinct last-day message to every corner of the globe. From a small basement office in Maryland to a bustling office complex outside Sacramento, California, Amazing Facts has changed in size and scope, but its Christ-centered mission is still the same.
Bill May felt impressed to start a new radio broadcast that would grab the attention of people lost in a mire of secularism and materialism. It seemed like a strange idea since they had no equipment, experience, or money for such a venture. But God was leading, so they moved forward in faith.
The first step was to find a convincing, energetic host for the groundbreaking radio broadcast. They decided on a faithful pastor from Louisville, Kentucky.
Joe Crews was a successful pastor and evangelist but was unconvinced of his ability to host a radio program. But May was sure that Crews was the man God wanted. Eventually, May’s vision for a new approach to evangelism caught Crews’ heart and he, along with wife Lu Ann, moved to Maryland in October 1965.
Soon after, the Amazing Facts 15-minute radio format was developed. Crews used interesting historical and scientific facts to grab the attention of listeners and worked in an important Bible message. They knew they had a winning format but still lacked equipment. The leaders found themselves on their knees, asking God to intervene. The Lord did not disappoint. A few days later a local physician offered the use of his personal recording studio, absolutely free.
Finally, on March 7, 1966, the first Amazing Facts broadcast hit the airwaves in Baltimore through the radio station WBMD.
Bill May next developed a pioneering series of Bible studies called “Information Folders.” Still one of Amazing Facts’ most effective ministries today, the initial development and printing costs were $20,000—a figure far beyond the means of the burgeoning ministry. Yet God provided, as He has consistently for 50 years, when a local camp meeting raised the money in a matter of minutes. Within a few months, Crews was offering free Bible studies at the end of each program to encourage people to study the Bible for themselves.
Expanding the Reach
Step by step, God opened doors and Amazing Facts to expand its literature ministry. It published dozens of pocket-sized books, including Joe Crews’ “Library of Sermons.” The ministry also began a Bible correspondence school based on a redesign of the Information Folders, called the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides. In the late 1970s, Joe Crews started training Bible workers, which led to the soul-winning ministry of public evangelism. By the mid-1980s, the ministry expanded its media outreach to television.
More ministries meant the need for more space. Having outgrown its basement office, Amazing Facts struggled to find funding to expand. After a day of fasting and prayer, however, a generous supporter donated a large plot of land in Frederick, Maryland. Just a few months later enough donations came in to construct a debt-free building.
For nearly 30 years, Joe Crews led the ministry of Amazing Facts by innovating evangelism, overcoming obstacles, and expanding into new areas of outreach—all in faith that God would provide so long as Christ was the ministry’s focus.
New Leadership, Same Principles
In 1994, tragedy struck when Joe Crews died suddenly. The ministry was in deep mourning as Bill May took over as interim-director. Yet Crews had already chosen a successor after his own heart—Pastor Doug Batchelor. As the new president of Amazing Facts, Batchelor was an innovative speaker who could communicate with both churchgoers and secular-minded skeptics, compassionately presenting firm truths that could change lives.
Driven by his deep devotion to share the gospel, Batchelor has brought immense growth and opportunity at Amazing Facts. In 1996, he moved the ministry to Sacramento, California. Under his dynamic leadership, the ongoing work of Amazing Facts now spans the entire world.
A Variety of Ministries
Today, Amazing Facts is a multifaceted, soul-winning ministry committed to proclaiming the gospel and the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14.
Television: Amazing Facts TV programs, such as “Amazing Facts Presents”, broadcast on cable and satellite networks all around the world, including Daystar, Discovery Channel, Lifetime Network, The Church Channel, The Word Network, SAFE TV, 3ABN, the HOPE Channel, HCBN Philippines and Indonesia, Lifestyle TV in Sweden, and Firstlight Broadcasting in New Zealand.
Radio: A live call-in program hosted by Pastor Doug, “Bible Answers Live”, is carried on more than 100 stations around North America, including Sirius XM satellite radio. It can also be heard around the world on the Internet every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
Training: Amazing Facts offers dynamic training for lay people and churches wanting to become effective soul-winners. The Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism (AFCOE) includes classes on how to give Christ-centered Bible studies, mastering Bible doctrines, turning churches into vibrant growth centers, leading seekers to baptism, methods to disciple and retain converts, evangelistic preaching, and much more. Amazing Facts also provides AFCOE to Go and Empowered Church intensive weekend training seminars.
Internet: Amazingfacts.org offers Bible Studies, Amazing Facts TV, radio programs, inspiring articles and books.
Bible School: More than 100,000 students have enrolled in Amazing Facts Internet and mail-based Bible schools.
Correspondence: Amazing Facts also offers prison ministry by writing letters of encouragement and supply inmates with literature, Bibles, devotionals and other study materials.
Publishing: To provide seekers in-depth information on a variety of Bible topics, Amazing Facts publishes hundreds of resources. These include books that address the most commonly asked Bible questions and an ever-growing library of DVDs and CDs.
Local Evangelism and Revival: Amazing Facts’ highly trained and experienced team of evangelists hosts dozens of gospel, revival and prophecy seminars each year throughout North America.
Worldwide Evangelism: Amazing Facts has set the standard for large-scale worldwide evangelism outreach via satellite. International programs such as “Landmarks of Prophecy” and evangelistic outreaches in India, China, Jamaica, Africa, Korea, South America, and more have reaped thousands of baptisms worldwide.
God’s Message Is Its Mission
In every area of outreach—whether radio or TV programs, publications, prophecy seminars, training programs, the Correspondence Bible School, or the Internet—Amazing Facts remains committed to giving people the biblical answers they need to make an intelligent and heartfelt decision for Christ and to equip them to lead others to Him.