Americas

Empire Builder D. James Kennedy Dies at 76

Pastor, broadcaster, and activist may be best known for Evangelism Explosion.

Megachurch pastor and Evangelism Explosion founder D. James Kennedy died Wednesday in his Florida home from complications following a December heart attack. He retired last week as senior pastor of the church he founded, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 76.

Kennedy created an impressive "empire," says Larry Eskridge, associate director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE). Kennedy built many ministries around his 10,000-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, including Knox Theological Seminary, a K-12 school, television and radio programs, and the politically conservative Center for Reclaiming America for Christ. He is also the author of more than 50 books.

But Eskridge and other evangelicals think his most lasting impact will be Evangelism Explosion, a curriculum that shows laymen how to evangelize in everyday settings. The ministry says 12,000 churches use the program.

"It was not as formulaic as the strategies in the past. There ...

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