Howard Dayton and Larry Burkett were acquaintances for many years and were close friends since the early 1990s. Howard had founded Crown Ministries on September 19, 1985. He recognized that Crown Ministries was doing an excellent job one church at a time with small study groups in many parts of the country and the world, but he had a vision to reach millions - not thousands. Larry had seen phenomenal growth in the outreach of Christian Financial Concepts since he founded it on May 6, 1976, and his radio broadcast was well recognized. Yet, the one area he wanted to impact with small study groups was the local church.
Almost simultaneously, God began a process of prompting both Howard and Larry with an uneasy sense that there was something more that their ministries should be doing. The same Scripture reference kept prompting both Larry and Howard to seek a better way:
\"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?\\\\\\\"- Esther 4:14 NKJV
After much study, discussion, and a lot of prayer, the boards of both Crown Ministries and Christian Financial Concepts unanimously agreed to merge into a new organization, Crown Financial Ministries, on September 7, 2000. The Board wanted to keep the name Crown because of two Biblical references that were important to Howard when he founded the ministry. First, Jesus Christ is the owner, creator, sustainer, and protector of the ministry. He is to be central to all we are about. In Revelation, the elders throw their Crowns at the Lord\\\\\\\'s feet. Secondly, people are our priority, not programs. In Philippians 4:1, Paul writes speaking to the Philippians, \\\\\\\"You are my joy and Crown.\\\\\\\" The name \\\\\\\"Crown\\\\\\\" reflects both priorities.
Howard assumed the role of CEO, and Larry continued to do radio broadcasts and served as the chairman of the board until his home-going on July 4, 2003. The union of these two healthy ministries created an unprecedented alliance that will have a far-reaching impact on the church in America and around the world!
In fact, Crown\\\\\\\'s vision established by Larry and Howard to teach God\\\\\\\'s financial principles to more than 5 percent of the world\\\\\\\'s population (approximately 300 million) by 2015 is the vision that continues to drive the ministry today!
In 2005, Howard began asking the board of directors to begin to prepare for his succession from the role of CEO. After consistent prayer and an intensive process, the board of directors unanimously appointed Chuck Bentley as the ministry’s new CEO effective September 1, 2007. Chuck had served with excellence at Crown, first as Dallas Area Director, then in the home office as Vice President of the U.S. Field team and then as the Senior Vice President of the Global Impact Group.
“Before Crown’s first CEO Larry Burkett passed away, Larry and I often talked about Chuck as his choice to succeed me in the CEO role. On May 1, 2001, Larry passed me the baton signifying the transfer of leadership of the ministry. It is with great excitement and thankfulness that I pass on this baton to Chuck Bentley.” – Howard Dayton
Howard continues to serve Crown by writing and in numerous other ways.