NAMB completes FamilyNet sale to In Touch

ATLANTA (BP)--Charles Stanley, founder and president of In Touch Ministries, and Geoff Hammond, president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, signed documents Oct. 25 finalizing the sale of NAMB's FamilyNet television network to In Touch.

"This is an historic day for us at the North American Mission Board and as Southern Baptists," Hammond said at ceremonies held at In Touch's Atlanta headquarters. "Dr. Stanley is America's preacher. And we come to celebrate the launching of FamilyNet to new heights here at In Touch."

Hammond, who was joined by NAMB trustees Bill Curtis, Tim Patterson and Tim Dowdy, praised the trustees and said "these guys have done a lot of hard work in leading us on this. We wouldn't be here today if not for our trustees and their support.

"We bring to you, Dr. Stanley, FamilyNet," Hammond. "We know it's going to be in good hands –- in the hands of people who are biblically sound and passionate about the Great Commission.

"We look forward to what God is going to do as He expands the two ministries of FamilyNet and In Touch, taking the Gospel all over the world with quality programming that people can count on," Hammond said.

Hammond said as a result of the sale, the Kingdom will continue to see men, women, boys, girls -- and people of all shades, colors and types -- come to a "saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the preaching of the Word."

Following Hammond's remarks, Stanley recalled that "years ago, I thought about the possibility of having a network. But I looked at the price and said, 'Lord, that's your thing.' But it never left my mind. And while I didn't forget about it, I also wasn't going to seek it out.

"I said, 'Lord, if that ever is Your will, You work it out. Well, He's up to His same wonderful tricks. He does things you don't expect when you don't expect them and in ways you don't expect. So this is all of God, born in prayer."

Stanley said In Touch Ministry's acquisition of FamilyNet is "an awesome responsibility, not just an opportunity. When I think of the potential of reaching so many people with the Gospel...," Stanley said as his voice trailed off.

"One of the things that excites me most about this is that we have the privilege not only of getting the Gospel out, but with the help of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, God will help us build a network -– on FamilyNet's awesome foundation -– that will impact other networks when it comes to things that are righteous, godly, holy and helpful to the life of our nation."

Stanley said he believes other TV networks will watch what happens with the programming In Touch builds into the new network.

"It will say to them that there's a whole vast group of American people who don't want filth, trash and junk. They want things that are good, wholesome and helpful to their families. That's our conviction and our pledge. We'll give our best and our all to building a network that pleases God, impacts the Gospel and influences television in this country," Stanley said.

Negotiations between the two ministries began several months ago and were announced in a letter of intent from In Touch to NAMB in August.

Under the agreement, NAMB will continue to have 30 minutes of programming on both the television and a satellite radio channel each week. Also, a NAMB representative will hold a chair on FamilyNet's board of directors.

Based in Alpharetta, Ga., the North American Mission Board is the Southern Baptist missions entity which, in cooperation with state conventions, assists SBC churches in reaching the United States, Canada and their territories with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The board oversees the work of more than 5,000 missionaries who are supported through the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions.

Stanley has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta since 1971. He is also the founder and president of In Touch Ministries, whose "In Touch" radio and television programming has been translated into more than 100 languages. Stanley has twice been elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1984 and 1985) and is a best-selling author.

Mickey Noah is a writer with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

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