Reading biographies of great men and women has expanded my vision for true heroes of the Faith. It was my honor, however, to have known and witnessed a portion of the miraculous life of one Hero of the Faith, Warren Bolthouse, the Founder and long-time President of Family Life Radio.
Warren passed away on Monday, October 12th in Tucson. He was 88 and was preceded in death by his precious wife, Char, in 2007. The loss of Char was a huge blow to Warren, but he continued, as he could, in his ministry responsibilities and as a Father, Grandfather and Great-Grandfather.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Warren was a living example of what happens when a man follows the vision God has given him. I find it humorous that Warren was the son of a builder, as he spent 30 years building the ministry of Family Life Radio. The truth is Warren followed God’s leading in his life for more than 50 years, reaching others with the life-changing message of Christ.
He and Char met as teenagers while singing and traveling with Children’s Bible Hour. They married in 1947. Together they served in church ministry in Michigan and New York. But they had a dream of seeing non-commercial Christian radio in every home.
The concept of non-commercial Christian radio was a virtual unknown at the time, but God called the right man for the job. A man who was willing to sacrifice to bring the dream to reality. The ministry of Family Life detailed the trail Warren and Char blazed:
“[The ministry was] born in the basement studio of the Bolthouse home, a clapboard house on Jericho Road, with a 30-minute radio program. That program expanded, airtime was given and soon – Family Life Radio’s first station was on the air in Mason, Michigan in 1966.
The seeds of the dream took root and over the course of 30 years under Warren’s inspired leadership, Family Life Radio grew into a nationwide radio network with radio stations, translators, educational ministries and [so much more].
Warren and Char Bolthouse raised up the ministry of Family Life Radio, but they would surely tell you that their greatest blessing was raising their family. Jan, Donna David, Jim (and daughter Cheri, who passed away in 2011), their spouses, 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren are the living legacy that Warren leaves behind today.”
I consider it a blessing to have served with Warren Bolthouse at Family Life Radio. Having spent 26 years in ministry, many of them under Warren’s leadership, I have a high regard for this man of God. He was a visionary. Warren had a good grasp of business principles and he had that “old school” mentality of making sure every penny stretched as far as possible for the sake of those who donated to the ministry.
There are many attributes of Warren’s on which I could comment, but there is one that always stood out to me. Warren never ceased being a Pastor. He had that rare and wonderful heart of “the man of God”. I respected and appreciated Warren Bolthouse for that, above all. Though as human, frail and imperfect as we all are, Warren sought God and followed Him with his whole heart. He cared so deeply for people and he wanted so dearly to make Christ known to as many as possible.
Now Warren Bolthouse is home with our Savior. He is reunited with his dear Char. Life has never been this good. Welcome home, Warren, and well done, Good and Faithful servant.