The Christian Broadcasting Network

When Pat Robertson accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in the 1950s, he had no idea that he would become one of the most influential personalities in broadcast history.

The Lord spoke to Pat and told him to build a Christian television network for His glory. This call from God on his life led him to found the Christian Broadcasting Network, which would lead to the creation of its flagship program, The 700 Club.

With only $70 in his wallet, Pat Robertson moved his young family to Portsmouth, Virginia. There he acquired a defunct television station, a broken-down facility in need of extensive repair.

Difficult months of preparation followed. Then on October 1, 1961, nearly two years after moving to Portsmouth, Pat stood before a camera as the light blinked on and the decrepit television equipment sent a feeble signal to nearby homes. CBN was born.

By the end of 1975, CBN’s potential audience for television alone jumped to 110 million viewers, with more than 40 stations around the U.S. airing CBN programming. The decade also saw the launch of a 24-7 prayer counseling center, the Operation Blessing humanitarian organization, and Middle East Television.

By the 1980s, CBN was ministering in 60 countries through television, videocassette, literature distribution, and radio broadcasting. The ’80s saw the launch of CBN News in Washington, D.C., the release of the popular children’s shows Superbook and Flying House, while CBN University (later Regent University) gained full accreditation.

During the 1990s, CBN extended its international reach to former communist nations, including Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Russia, reaching more than 20 million people with the Gospel. It was also during this time that CBN opened the Founders Inn and Conference Center, attracting thousands to the Virginia Beach headquarters.

The 2000s have seen the expansion of CBN programming to various news format shows airing nationally. In addition, CBN programming reaches millions of users and viewers on social media channels, and streaming services.

Today, more than 90 percent of CBN’s viewing audience is overseas. International Centers around the globe produce indigenous programming for millions of people worldwide. Research reveals that hundreds of millions of people report they have prayed with a CBN program host to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Here in America, The 700 Club can be seen in nearly 97 percent of U.S. TV markets. On the air continuously since 1966, The 700 Club is one of the longest-running television programs in broadcast history.

CBN International

As Pat Robertson was praying during the Christmas week of 1976, the Lord spoke to him and said, “I am sending My Spirit all over the world. Millions of people will respond. I want you to proclaim a simple message of salvation. Do not try to teach complex theological matters. Just preach the simple Gospel.”

Pat returned to work and told the staff what he had learned. During the New Years’s prayer meeting, he formally launched CBN Worldreach. Later the name was changed to CBN International, having a staggering goal: to win 500,000,000 to faith in Jesus Christ. Through research firms, Brown & Fraser and Ipsos, yearly surveys reveal that goal has been met and greatly surpassed.

Through international broadcasting, indigenous programming, church planting, humanitarian outreaches, children’s animation, and media blitzes, CBN continues to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and hurting world.

CBN Animation

Pat Robertson was dedicated to bringing the Word of God and the message of salvation to children throughout the world through programs and initiatives such as Superbook and the Flying House. These animated series brought the stories of the Bible alive and entertained millions of children and adults around the globe.

The rate of biblical illiteracy among children and adults continues to increase. Many children have never been introduced to God’s Word. Bringing the Bible to children at a young age is critical in a world that is growing more and more hostile to Biblical truth.

Today, the Superbook Bible app is reaching kids around the world with a media-rich experience that brings the Bible to life through videos, games and activities.

CBN Prayer Center

Pat Robertson was a man of prayer. His vision to provide a safe place for viewers to call and receive prayer support from Christian phone agents has led the way for many ministries to follow in kind.

CBN’s Prayer Centers around the world are operated by dedicated people anointed with the Holy Spirit and equipped to pray with those who want prayer or biblical resources. CBN’s prayer centers provide prayer as well as biblical resources to callers in their own language. The centers also provide ministry through email, text messaging, social media, and live web chats.

Just last year alone, CBN’s U.S. Prayer Center completed over 1.9 million calls and recorded over 6,000 professions of faith in Jesus.

Middle East Television

Pat Robertson believed that the destiny of CBN was linked with that of the nation of Israel. That impression was reinforced when CBN broke ground for a new studio in Portsmouth, Virginia, on June 5, 1967.

“I remember one of our board of directors walking up to me that day with the news that what is now known as the Six-Day War had broken out in Israel,” Pat later recalled. “When the war ended the following week and I watched TV coverage of the joyous Israeli troops entering Jerusalem, I recalled Jesus’ words in Luke 21:24:

Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

For the first time since 586 B.C.,” he thought, “Jerusalem is no longer under Gentile rule. The ‘times of the Gentiles’ are fulfilled.”

Pat believed that God would move in a unique way toward Israel, and that CBN needed to be positioned to be a vital part of that move. “I knew right then that God was going to have us establish a ministry to both Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land.”

For years CBN tried to broadcast in Israel without success. Then in October 1981, George Otis of High Adventure Ministries, a radio outreach to the Middle East, came to visit Pat in Virginia. “Pat, I've started a television station in southern Lebanon,” he said. “I know you have the resources and the personnel to take it over. I believe this has to do with the second coming of Jesus, and I don’t want to stand in the way of God's best plan. Pat, I want you to have it.”

Pat, and his wife Dede, took time to pray to see if this was the Lord’s will for CBN. He felt strongly impressed that the Lord would have CBN make no mistakes in the Holy Land.

One Sunday, as Pat and Dede prayed together, the Lord led Pat to a Scripture in John, which spoke of Jesus opening the eyes of the blind. Dede was reading Isaiah 29:17-18, and Pat felt a burst of excitement as she spoke the words of the prophet:

It is not a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? And in that day shall the deaf hear words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.

“Do you see what God is saying?” Pat asked Dede. “The Word of God is going to go forth from Lebanon, and the spiritually blind eyes in the Middle East are going to be opened!”

In April 1982, Middle East Television officially went on the air, broadcasting a message of peace and hope into Israel—and throughout the Middle East. Pat would write of the momentous occasion, “Regardless of where God led me, CBN had a mandate to fulfill: That of spreading the Gospel of His Kingdom, of bringing the knowledge of God to the ends of the earth, of being a part of a great company who would help to usher in the very second coming of Jesus.”

Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Middle East Television (METV) operated this television station in Southern Lebanon, broadcasting news, sports, family entertainment, and religious programming by satellite to a potential audience of 200 million people in 15 nations—including Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Cyprus. METV also distributed free videotapes and religious literature, while providing food and clothing throughout the Middle East in partnership with CBN’s humanitarian affiliate, Operation Blessing International.

In July 2001, Middle East Television was sold to a like-minded ministry, LeSEA Broadcasting, creating a partnership through which CBN distributes original ministry programming. Through Middle East TV, and other satellite and cable distribution systems in the region, The 700 Club and other CBN programming were broadcast daily into Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, and beyond. The station was sold to Sid Roth's Messianic Vision, Inc., in September 2016.

The CBN Story

The CBN Story is told through never-before-seen photographs, powerful interviews, and newly discovered footage. Watch the story of God's faithfulness through 60 years of ministry and catch a glimpse of what God has in store.

Click here to watch The CBN Story