A Generation of Amazing Facts: 40 Years of Miracles

By Anthony Lester, Editor 

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).

In early 1965, a small group of clergymen gathered together in Baltimore to talk about some of the ineffective outreach efforts that were stagnating churches in their conference. Among those meeting were visionaries Cyril Miller and Bill May, who was recently hired by the Chesapeake Conference to develop new and innovative ways of soul-winning.

Over the next few weeks, during weekly sessions of earnest prayer and seeking, Amazing Facts was born. For the next 40 years, the multimedia, international ministry has gone on to deliver the distinct last-day message to every corner of the globe. And God has surely blessed.

From a small basement office in Maryland to a bustling office complex outside Sacramento, California, the ministry has changed in size and scope, but the mission has always remained the same. In every facet of ministry, Amazing Facts, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, exists to introduce people to Jesus in a way that speaks directly to their lives and needs.

Innovating Evangelism

"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23). As the group met, May felt surprisingly and repeatedly impressed to start a new radio broadcast that would grab the attention of even those souls lost in a mire of secularism and materialism. It seemed an especially strange idea, being that they had no equipment, experience, money, or anything else for such a venture. But convinced of God's leading, they moved forward in faith.

The first order of business was to find a convincing, energetic host for the groundbreaking radio broadcast. They decided on a godly pastor out of Louisville, Kentucky. Yet when May called Joe Crews about spearheading the new program, the answer was an emphatic "No."

Crews had worked tirelessly and successfully as a pastor and evangelist but was unconvinced of his ability to host a radio program. But May, sure that Crews was the man whom God wanted, continued to press the humble worker. Eventually, May's dynamic vision for a new approach to evangelism caught Crews' heart and he, along with wife Lu Ann, was headed to Maryland in October 1965.

Overcoming Obstacles

Soon after, the Amazing Facts 15-minute radio format was developed: Crews would use interesting historical and scientific facts to grab the attention of listeners from every walk of life and then work in an important Bible message. Though they knew they had a winning format, the biggest hurdle was still before them: lack of equipment. Once again, Crews, May, and conference president Cyril Miller found themselves on their knees, asking God to intervene. He did not disappoint. Within a span of a few days, a local physician offered the use of his personal recording studio, absolutely free.

So on March 7, 1966, the first Amazing Facts broadcast hit the airwaves in Baltimore on WBMD - the new ministry was in full swing. On that day, a car salesman in Essex, Maryland, happened to hear the broadcast. Convicted with truth, he eventually contacted Amazing Facts and became the ministry's first baptism. Since then, untold thousands have been brought into the church by the Holy Spirit's work through Amazing Facts.

Bill May was also developing a new, pioneering series of Bible studies called "Information Folders." Still one of Amazing Facts' most effective ministries today, the initial development and printing costs were a staggering $20,000 - a figure far beyond the means of the burgeoning ministry. Yet God provided, as He has consistently for 40 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 from all walks of life to study the Bible for themselves.

Expanding the Reach

Step by step, and as God opened doors, Amazing Facts expanded its literature ministry by publishing dozens of pocket-sized books, including Joe Crews' "Library of Sermons," which have remained a popular and effective ministry with their no-nonsense but loving, rational approach to Bible truth.

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 to preach the gospel in a winsome but uncompromising fashion; this eventually led to the soul-winning ministry of public evangelism, which reveals God's end-time plan through exciting Revelation seminars across the country. By the mid-1980s, the ministry also expanded its media outreach to television, where the clear, Bible-based messages gained overwhelming approval from a national audience.

Of course, with more ministries came the need for more space. Having outgrown its basement office, Crews struggled for weeks to find funding until one morning, he set aside the day for fasting and prayer. The very next day, a generous supporter donated a large plot of land in Frederick, Maryland. And in just a few months, enough donations were given to construct a completely debt-free building dedicated to the Lord's work.

For nearly 30 years, day in and day out, this was how Joe Crews ran the ministry of Amazing Facts: innovating evangelism, overcoming obstacles, and expanding into new areas of outreach - all and only 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 as was his custom, Crews was already prepared, having already chosen a successor after his own heart. Like Crews, Pastor Doug Batchelor, president of Amazing Facts and senior pastor of Sacramento Central Church in California, is a talented, innovative speaker with an unusual ability to communicate not only to churchgoers, but also to secular-minded skeptics throughout the world. Driven by his deep devotion to share the gospel, Pastor Doug has led an even more dramatic time of immense growth and opportunity at Amazing Facts. In 1996, he moved the ministry to Sacramento, California, and under his dynamic leadership, the ongoing work of Amazing Facts now spans the entire world with such programs as The Everlasting Gospel, Millennium of Prophecy, and Central Study Hour.

He has also presented soul-reaping series in New York, Washington, D.C., Africa, India, the Philippines, South Korea, Australia, and South America, and hosts the live call-in radio program Bible Answers Live. His books, The Richest Caveman, At Jesus' Feet, and Broken Chains, also continue to touch lives in deeply profound ways.

After 40 years of miracles and ministry, a new generation of Amazing Facts continues to provide answers to those lost in spiritual darkness. By God's grace, and backed by the self-sacrificing giving of donors past, present, and future, the ministry will continue to work for another generation or until that time when Christ returns for His people.

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.

Amazing Facts Timeline

1965: May, Miller conceive Amazing Facts

1965: Joe Crews accepts call

1966: First ministry broadcast

1967: Amazing Facts Information Folders debut

1972: Bible Correspondence School forms

1977: Evangelist training begins

1980: Ministry moves to new Maryland office

1994: Doug Batchelor becomes president

1995:Bible Answers Live debuts

1996: Move to Sacramento, California

1996:A New Revelation

1999: NET '99, Millennium of Prophecy: New York

2000: First AFCOE semester begins

2001:Grace Odyssey: The Philippines

2002:Hope for a Hemisphere: Africa

2003:Visions for Life: Korea

2004:Hidden Truth, Final Events debut

2005: NET '05, The Prophecy Code: Washington, D.C.


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