10 Important Events in Dr. David Jeremiah’s Ministry
David Jeremiah was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1941, where he enjoyed a blessed upbringing by parents who were deeply involved in ministry. In his youth, he rejected the idea of becoming a pastor like his father. But during his senior year of college, God “got ahold of his heart,” and he could no longer resist the calling on his life.
1. 1963: During his senior year at Cedarville College, Jeremiah made two pivotal decisions that would forever impact his future—he said “yes” to the Lord’s prompting to enter full-time ministry. He also said “I do” to his college sweetheart, Donna Thompson, who would become his partner in ministry and life. After Jeremiah received his Bachelor of Arts degree that year, the newlywed couple moved to Dallas, Texas, where he would later receive an MD in Theology through Dallas Theological Seminary.
2. 1969: With eager anticipation of what God had in store for them, the Jeremiahs moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and planted Blackhawk Baptist Church. Dr. Jeremiah served as pastor, janitor, office manager, and visitation committee to a seven-family congregation until God added to the church’s numbers. Meanwhile, the young pastor’s ministry expanded to include the role of fatherhood, with the birth of each of his and Donna’s four children.
During their time at Blackhawk Baptist, Jeremiah learned the importance of setting priorities. God showed him that his first priority should always be his relationship with the Lord, then Donna and his children, and finally, his congregation. These priorities became his schedule’s guardrails, his prayer life’s focus, and his ministry’s mainstay.
3. 1973-1980: By the end of the Jeremiahs’ 12-year mission in Indiana, the tiny church grew to over 1300 members, and a K-12 Christian school was established. God also opened the door to launch The Bible Hour, an evangelical television program that would serve as the training ground for bigger future opportunities.
4. 1981: While hosting a Family Life Seminar at Blackhawk church, Jeremiah met a California pastor named Dr. Tim LaHaye. The divine appointment led to a lifelong friendship between the two and paved the way for Jeremiah’s next steps in ministry. In 1981, upon completing additional graduate work at Grace Seminary, he received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Cedarville College. He then became LaHaye’s successor at Scott Memorial Church in San Diego—now called Shadow Mountain Community Church, where he still serves as Senior Pastor today.
5. 1982: After settling into their new lives and roles in California, the Jeremiahs were inspired to pick up where The Bible Hour left off and start a new television ministry. With a desire to “deliver the unchanging Word of God to an ever-changing world,” they started Turning Point for God, a local television program that featured Jeremiah’s relevant and powerful Bible teaching. Much to their shock and surprise, God took the little program and quickly grew it into a thriving international broadcast ministry.
Today, Turning Point is a multi-media network that features Jeremiah’s messages through print, online, television, and radio mediums that reach millions of households in multiple languages worldwide.
6. 1992: One of Jeremiah’s first sermon series in his new role as a megachurch pastor was a series centered on the book of Daniel. A woman named Carol Carlson approached him at a Bible conference after hearing his teachings and offered to help Jeremiah put his messages into book form. A few years later, The Handwriting on the Wall became one of the first of over fifty books published by Jeremiah and sold around the globe. When asked about his wildly successful writing career, he explains, “It’s just another way to reach out with the truth of the Word of God.”
7. 1994: On September 26, 1994, Jeremiah’s ministry journey hit a “bend in the road” that would leave him and Donna clinging to the hope that only Christ can provide: he was diagnosed with lymphoma. As the couple faced the most challenging season of their marriage and ministry, they were not alone. God was faithful to surround them with the support they needed and fill them with His perfect peace through every appointment, treatment, and surgery.
8. 2004: Through his five-year battle with cancer, Jeremiah experienced the sufficiency of God’s grace and saw first-hand God’s strength revealed through his own weakness. In 2004 he wrote When Your World Falls Apart to share the spiritual treasure gained through his suffering. The book has since become a valuable source of encouragement for millions who face their own challenges.
9. 2020: Among his many awards and honors, Jeremiah received the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame Award and NRB’s President’s award in 2020. His acceptance speech reflected a continued passion for God’s word and his ministry:
“We’re so grateful to be a part of this organization and to be involved in the wonderful calling of taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every corner of the world.”
10. Current: Since his stem cell transplant in 1999, Jeremiah has been cancer free, and he hasn’t taken that gift lightly. When people ask the now 81-year-old why he continues to work so hard in ministry, his reply echoes the surrender of his original calling:
“When God gave me my life back, He didn’t do it so I’d go sit on a beach somewhere. He gave me my life back to serve Him. I feel such great joy in being able to do what I do at this stage of my life and know that I have been preserved and granted these extra days by a gracious, loving God and I’m so thankful.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images/gustavofrazao