Jack Johnson, last RTVC president, dies at 82

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HENDERSON, Nev. (BP)—Jack B. Johnson, the last president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Radio and Television Commission, died March 5 in Henderson, Nev. He was 82.

Johnson was the RTVC president from 1990 to 1997, when the broadcast ministry became part the new North American Mission Board in a restructuring of the SBC.

Jack JohnsonBefore his election as RTVC president, Johnson had been executive director/treasurer of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention 11 years.

Johnson, prior to leading Arizona Baptists, served as a pastor nearly 25 years in nine churches, in California, where he was elected president of the state convention in 1975, and in Oklahoma.

Johnson was instrumental in the mid-1990s SBC reorganization process, serving as chairman of a nine-member logistics transition team. After NAMB’s formation, he served as special assistant to the president for development and special projects until his retirement in September 2000.

Johnson led the RTVC in purchasing the FamilyNet television network from Liberty University. FamilyNet later became the central ministry arm of NAMB’s broadcast communication group until the network was sold in 2007 to In Touch Ministries led by Charles Stanley.

Johnson’s accomplishments as RTVC president also included the near-elimination of a $10 million debt and a focus on technology, leading to engagements as a featured speaker at several international conferences on emerging technology and the church.

The history of the RTVC dates back to the formation of a Radio Committee at the 1938 SBC annual meeting. Later called the Radio Commission, it became the Radio and Television Commission in 1955.

Johnson held a Ph.D. from the California Graduate School of Theology, a master of divinity degree from then-Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention) and an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma Baptist University.

After graduating from OBU, Johnson and his wife, Mary, moved to Rialto, Calif., where he was a teacher and became involved in a church plant, later becoming pastor.

He was a native of Clovis, N.M., who spent childhood years in eastern Oklahoma, becoming the first Christian in his family at age 10, followed by his parents’ professions of faith in Christ in 1945.

He is survived by his wife; the couple had two children, Joy and Jack.

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