Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom
Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom

Celebrating Over Forty-Five Years of Broadcasting

D. James Kennedy had a large vision—a vision for making a global impact for Christ. One Sunday evening in 1960 he read Jeremiah 33:3 to his small congregation. No more than 15 to 20 people were present, but after he read the following from Jeremiah 33:3: “Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not,” he said something that astounded his listeners:  “You know, I believe we can change the world!”

It began with Evangelism Explosion in 1962, a ministry for training Christians to personally share their faith and lead others to Christ.

By 1973, as the yet-to-be-completed new Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church sanctuary was going up, Dr. Kennedy had begun to see that there was another tool he could use effectively to make a global impact for Christ—mass communications—now developing at a fantastic rate.

As he addressed those who were present for the dedication of the new church building in 1974, Dr. Kennedy set the vision for not only the mission of the church, but also for the media ministry that would eventually broadcast his sermons and the Coral Ridge Church services worldwide. He spoke of that vision to his congregation telling them:

It is our prayer, that through this church, the Gospel of Jesus Christ might be radiated through television and radio, motion pictures and cassettes, books and clinics, and by ways yet undreamed of unto the entire world, that the command of Christ to go and proclaim the Gospel to every creature might be fulfilled in our generation.

That year, the radio ministry was launched with a radio outreach on five stations in Michigan, and four years later in 1978, the Coral Ridge worship service was first broadcast on television. Over the next 27 years syndication was to expand to a high point of 675 television stations and 700 radio facilities.

In the 1990’s Dr. Kennedy’s radio program Truths That Transform was on more than 300 radio outlets nationwide and The Coral Ridge Hour was in every major TV market in the United States. Dr. Kennedy became recognized as “one of the leading Christian statesmen of the day.” His biographer Herbert Williams notes that he became “a much-sought-after guest on ‘celebrity shows.’ His TV appearances include[d] Crossfire, CBS Nightwatch, MacNeil/Lehrer Report, Donahue, The Merv Griffin Show, and a Ted Koppel special on televangelism.” In addition, Dr. Kennedy was quoted in national magazines and newspapers such as the U.S. New and World Report, Christianity Today, The Washington Times, USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post. He was also a frequent guest on Morning Joe and from time to time Bill O’Reilly of Fox television would call his home to ask him about issues dealing with religion in public affairs and conflicts over manger scenes and church/state battles.

As the national and international scope of the ministry expanded, it made sense by 1996 to incorporate the ministry as a free-standing organization, Coral Ridge Ministries Media, Inc., separate and apart from Coral Ridge Church and having its own board of directors and executive staff. Coral Ridge Ministries became the vehicle for the broadcast ministry of Dr. Kennedy,

In 2003, NRB professionals awarded The Coral Ridge Hour the honor of being the “Television Program of the Year” and in 2004 they designated the radio program, Truths That Transform, “Best Radio Teaching Program” of the year. In 2005, Dr. Kennedy, himself, was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Now known as D. James Kennedy Ministries, the organization founded by Dr. Kennedy has continued his mission and legacy since his death in 2007. In addition to the broadcast channels of radio and television (now available on cable, satellite and the Internet), the ministry has published numerous books and booklets, as well as a monthly newsletter IMPACT, which was expanded in 2015 to a 48 page digest format with the inclusion of monthly devotionals by Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Jerry Newcombe, who collaborated with Dr. Kennedy on over 16 books.

Dr. D. James Kennedy left behind a great legacy, much of which has been preserved on audio and video tapes and in the many books he wrote. We pray that, as the ministry now bearing his name, we may faithfully steward this vast repository of his teaching, and by using all the current channels of communication and, in the future, the “ways yet undreamed of,” we may serve as a megaphone to the world, proclaiming the Gospel to every creature. Our motto, as was Dr. Kennedy’s, continues to be: “Excellence in all things, and all things to the glory of God.”

Dr. D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.

A.B., M.Div., M.Th., D.D., D.Sac.Lit., Ph.D., Litt.D., D.Sac.Theol., D.Humane Let.

Dr. D. James Kennedy remains one of the most listened-to Christian ministers in America. His forthright and rational presentation of the Gospel is heard via television, radio, and the Internet throughout America and the world.

Dr. Kennedy, who entered the presence of his Savior, Jesus Christ, on September 5, 2007, began his Christian life in 1953 after he was startled awake one Sunday morning by a preacher's stern question coming out of his clock radio. "Suppose you were to die today and stand before God," the voice boomed, "and He were to ask you, 'What right do you have to enter into My heaven?' — what would you say?" Dr. Kennedy soon discovered the answer, was converted to Christ, and shortly thereafter was called into the Gospel ministry. Today, Dr. Kennedy's broadcast messages are televised to a nationwide audience.

Dr. Kennedy served for 47 years as Senior Minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A modest mission church of 45 people when Dr. Kennedy arrived in 1959, the rocketing growth of the church made it, for 15 years, the fastest growing Presbyterian church in America. Decision magazine named the church one of the "Five Great Churches of North America." In 2005, Dr. Kennedy was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Dr. Kennedy's energetic commitment to both evangelism and cultural renewal is demonstrated by four organizations he founded: D. James Kennedy Ministries (formerly Coral Ridge Ministries), Evangelism Explosion International, Knox Theological Seminary, and Westminster Academy.

D. James Kennedy Ministries — The media outreach of Dr. Kennedy, D. James Kennedy Ministries began in 1974 as Coral Ridge Ministries with the mission of bringing the Gospel to America and the world. Its media outreach includes the weekly television programs Truths That Transform and Kennedy Classics; Truth In Action, a weekly half-hour radio program; the website; the monthly Impact Newsletter, and other print and video resources produced by D. James Kennedy Ministries.

Evangelism Explosion International — A lay-witnessing training program first developed in 1962 by Dr. Kennedy, Evangelism Explosion ("EE") is now used in every nation and territory. EE has been used by God to spark explosive growth in congregations around the world.

Knox Theological Seminary — Dr. Kennedy launched Knox Theological Seminary in 1989 to prepare and equip Christians for ministry with education grounded in the historic Reformed faith and shaped by commitments to the sovereignty of God, the inerrancy of the Bible, and obedience to the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate.

Westminster Academy — Dr. Kennedy founded Westminster Academy in 1971 to help meet Fort Lauderdale's need for quality Christian education. It is a fully-accredited nationally-recognized Pre-K to 12th grade academy with approximately 1,000 students.

Dr. Kennedy earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tampa, a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary (cum laude), a Master of Theology from Chicago Graduate School of Theology (summa cum laude), and a Ph.D. from New York University. He is the author of more than 65 books, including Evangelism Explosion (more than 1.5 million copies), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, The Da Vinci Myth versus The Gospel Truth, and Cross Purposes: Discovering the Great Love of God for You.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, Dr. Kennedy was raised in Chicago and moved to Florida while in high school. He and his wife, Anne Kennedy, were married 51 years. Anne entered the presence of her Savior on May 16, 2017.  They are survived by their daughter, Mrs. Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy.

Rev. Robert J. Pacienza

President & CEO

Rev. Robert J. Pacienza is President and CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM). The Board of DJKM named Rev. Pacienza to that role in June 2022. He also serves since 2016 as Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“As a Board, we are delighted that Pastor Rob, who has served on the Board since 2020, is now leading D. James Kennedy Ministries as President and CEO. Rob brings a passionate commitment to Gospel witness and to the application of God’s Word to the moral and social questions troubling our nation,” said William T. Allen, CPA, Chairman of the DJKM Board.

Pastor Pacienza, who became a believer in Jesus Christ while a teenager at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, was later mentored by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, the founding pastor of CRPC.

“I am deeply honored and humbled at the opportunity to lead D. James Kennedy Ministries,” said Pacienza, who earned his Master of Divinity at Knox Theological Seminary and is now completing his doctorate in ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary.

“It is a great privilege and awesome responsibility to be part of a ministry that touches lives across our nation with the power of the Gospel and speaks to American culture with the truth of God’s Word,” he said.

In an interview on DJKM’s weekly television program, Truths That Transform, Pacienza said his “philosophy of ministry as a pastor is best summed up in the vision statement at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church: we exist to equip Gospel-centered, culture-shaping Christians.”

The author of the new book, The Hope Of The World: Christian Cultural Engagement in a Secular Age, Pacienza said the Gospel “moves you to shape culture according to the kingdom of God. We want people watching Truths That Transform to be motivated and informed by the Gospel, to go out and shape culture for the glory of God and for the sake of his kingdom.”

Pastor Pacienza and his wife, Jen, live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with their children, Preston and Lydia.

Authors & Contributors

Jerry Newcombe
Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is senior producer and on-air host at D. James Kennedy Ministries. He has also written or co-written more than 20 books, including The Book That Made America: How the Bible Formed Our Nation, and the bestselling George Washington's Sacred Fire (with Dr. Peter Lillback)
John Rabe
An ordained Southern Baptist church elder, John Rabe has a B.A. in Christian Ministry from Trinity International University and has studied at Knox Theological Seminary. He is the Director of Creative Production at D. James Kennedy Ministries, and oversees the television programs Truths That Transforms and Kennedy Classics. He is also the author of the book None Dare Call It Islam.
John Aman
JOHN AMAN is Director of Communications at D. James Kennedy Ministries and the author of several books, including Ten Truths About Hate Crimes Laws, Demanding Tolerance: Losing our Freedom to Disagree, and Why Israel Matters (with Mat Staver). He has a Masters in Journalism from Regent University and serves as president of a pro-life outreach in South Florida.

Financial Accountability

D. James Kennedy Ministries is accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). We are committed to financial integrity and accountability, and are fully compliant with the ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. (For more information on these standards, click here.)