President & CEO
Benny Proffitt grew up in a loving Christian family and modest home in East Tennessee. His father was a World War II veteran and his mom ran a private kindergarten in their home. Recently when Benny penned a book on parenting he said the following; “Parents must steer a course for their children that points directly at Christ.” That’s the kind of home Benny grew up in and it has set the pattern for his own life’s work, his 40 year marriage to Marilou, and raising their 3 children, who now are raising their 9 grandchildren with that same goal.
Benny attended Belmont University in Nashville from 1968-72 where he played basketball and prepared to be a teacher. He sang in a contemporary Christian musical group that traveled America and worked as a youth pastor. Benny attended Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Ft Worth, Texas. Benny continued as a bi-vocational youth pastor and high school teacher. He eventually united a group of churches and launched a city-wide youth ministry strategy called First Priority. He had seen his own generation begin to reject the moral foundation America was built on and become consumed with self-indulgent living. In the name of this new freedom that rejected any form of religious and moral restraint, he saw his generation ushered inthe sexual revolution, the drug culture and the ultimate destruction of the family. He saw his generation become self absorbed, choosing success in careers over success in family and choosing abandonment over commitment. He saw the divorce rate skyrocketed.
In his years as a high school teacher, Benny experienced firsthand the effects of the declining role that historically Christianity had played on the generations that followed. Sexual promiscuity, hopelessness, rebellion, violence, and a suicide are epidemic among teens and are now an every family tragedy. A devastating generational response has resulted in moral apathy and spiritual complacency. Destructive decisions are literally killing our children physically and spiritually.
In the midst of this national tragedy, God gave Benny a dream and a vision to reach the next generation for Christ. God used Benny’s 27 years of experience as a bi-vocational youth pastor and teacher to form a ministry that became First Priority of America. (www.fpofamerica.com) The vision of First Priority is “The Hope of Christ in Every Student.” Since 1985 when the first group of First Priority students formed in Irving, TX until today, Benny has poured his life into fulfilling this vision that God birthed in him. Since returning to Nashville in 1995 he has spoken and done training in over 1,000 cities in the US and on 4 other continents. He has appeared on ABC, CNN, TBN and numerous other radio and TV talk shows. He had a feature article in Time magazine. He has authored books and training manuals that share his passion and vision for reaching the next generation.
If today you asked Benny what’s next he will likely state something like the following: “Do you believe that every child deserves the opportunity to hear about Jesus in a meaningful way for them? If you do, what are you willing to do about it?” One of his many, often used, quotes is, “Whoever wins the next generation, WINS!”