Longtime area resident Bob Tebow started the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association in 1985. Since then, his ministry has taken numerous mission trips to the Philippines and has helped over 30 million people come to Christ. Tebow is also the father of legendary University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, as well as children Christy, Katie, Robby and Peter. He is married to his wife Pam.
Can you please briefly tell us about your background?
I became a Christian in 1964 at a Young Life camp. I was involved in Young Life in high school and then involved in Campus Crusade in college. Four of us, led by Ander Crenshaw, started Campus Crusade at the University of Florida. Then, I went off to seminary and got two degrees from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, a master’s in divinity and a master’s in theology. I came back here and started the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Jacksonville. They had done some stuff a few years earlier, but it had kind of fallen apart, so it had to be raised up again. I did that for three years. Then, I was on the staff of Southside Baptist Church for three years as the minister of youth and discipleship. Subsequently, God called me to be a pastor, and so we started a church. I did that for three years. It was during that time that God called me to the Philippines. I made an initial trip to the Philippines and then moved my family there in the fall of 1985. I knew I wanted to go and preach the Gospel, train pastors and plant churches. We have since added an orphanage that we started in 1991. In 1994, we started taking young Americans and training them to preach the Gospel.
What inspired you to start the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association?
That’s a simple answer. God called me. I was driving to a city in Alabama to go speak that night. My daughter Christy was laying on the front seat asleep. My wife Pam was home with the three other ones. I was just driving along singing, minding my own business, when God took the peace of God away and troubled my heart and said, “You go.” And I said, “OK, OK, I’ll go.” Then the peace of God returned. When I got home, I told Pam. She said she already knew it because God was also speaking to her. There wasn’t any question for me. For her, there was a lot of questions. What about this? What about that? She wrestled with God for a while and finally said, “OK, I’ll go.”
When you reflect on the efforts of your ministry, what are you most proud of?
I don’t need to be proud. I’m just a servant. It’s not about pride. There are a lot of things I delight in. My daughter Christy and her husband Joey went with me on trips to the Philippines over 10 times, and they’re now married and live in Asia. They’re doing the same thing there that we were doing in the Philippines. There have been a lot of others who have become pastors and missionaries. There are a lot of miraculous things that have happened. So many God stories happen on every trip, that I can’t even remember them all.
It’s obvious that Tim and your children are caring like you. Where does that come from for you?
I didn’t inherit that trait. I just responded to the Bible, what it says, how we’re supposed to treat people, what we’re supposed to do with people, etc. The New Testament is filled with things that tell us how we need to treat people. It’s been a long, gradual process of trying to learn everything in the New Testament, applying it and loving people as Christ loved us.
What are you most proud of Tim for?
He’s had a great impact. He had a big impact in high school, a really big impact in college and a big impact in the pros. I think that won’t stop happening. I personally think he can hit in the major leagues, but nobody really asks my opinion. I’m Dad, so of course I’d think that. Even if he doesn’t, he has enough things in his life to keep him busy. He has announcing football, his foundation, trips he can go on to other countries to preach the Gospel, etc. I don’t know how he does what he does.
A lot of attention is given to Tim. What don’t people know about the rest of your family?
They’re all really neat people. Christy and her husband Joey are missionaries in Asia. Katie does a lot of ministry in Georgia. Robby is living in Arizona. He was a producer of the film, “Run the Race.” He put his heart into it, did a great job on it and it turned into a really great movie. Peter is in Colorado, selling products that help people with wounds that do not want to heal. He also sells insurance and investments. Pam enjoys speaking for women’s groups, nonprofit fundraisers and various events in many cities across the country. She just released a book she wrote on encouraging women titled, “Ripple Effects.”
Edited by Jon Blauvelt