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Twin brothers and Liberty University alumni David and Jason Benham have enjoyed success in athletics, business, and family life.
The 1998 graduates walked away from promising professional baseball careers to focus on their families, and went on to build Benham Real Estate Group, recognized nationally by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as one of the top 25 small businesses in America, and later Benham Companies. The brothers specialize in renovating homes for a profit. They began filming a show for HGTV called “Flip It Forward,” which featured the brothers helping families renovate a fixer-upper into the home of their dreams. While the show was in progress, HGTV pulled the plug on it due to pressure from watchdog groups who criticized the brothers for their personal beliefs.
Throughout this controversy the brothers have not wavered in their faith and have repeatedly explained that their views are not hateful or discriminatory. In fact, their commitment to Christ compels them to love everyone, even their critics.
The Benhams will share their story in a book they began working on last fall, which is scheduled for release next year.
David and Jason majored in American history while playing baseball for the Liberty Flames from 1995-98. After leading Liberty to an NCAA Regional appearance at Florida State, they played several seasons of minor league baseball; Jason was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and David by the Boston Red Sox. They even had the opportunity to play together in the St. Louis Cardinals organization for a while.
With offers still on the table, the brothers, who were each newly married, both decided to walk away from baseball. They moved to the Charlotte, N.C., area in 2003 and earned their real estate licenses. They began managing and selling foreclosures for a profit. Their first company, Benham Real Estate Group, grew and achieved national recognition from dozens of publications, including Inc. Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Ernst & Young, and Franchise Magazine. In 2007 they franchised the company and now have 100 locations in 35 states across the U.S.
In the midst of their growing business, the brothers maintain a strong commitment to their families. David has five children and Jason has four, and the families live on the same street.
Though they are not in vocational ministry, David and Jason see themselves as missionaries in the marketplace. They strive to show Christ’s love to anyone they encounter and use their businesses as a way to impact the lives of others. As they renovate homes, they look to add value to the surrounding communities. They do charitable work overseas as well. They own a company in the Philippines with 250 employees. All revenue from that business goes to missionary work. Visit www.BenhamCompanies.com/Philanthropy for more information.
The brothers’ success drew the attention of some cable networks, which thought that their values and commitment to family would resonate with many viewers.
After starting the show for HGTV, which was ultimately pulled, the Benhams’ faith was pushed into the national spotlight.
While some in the media have portrayed the Benhams as hateful and bigoted, David and Jason set the record straight by telling the media that they live each day looking to shine Christ’s light. The brothers say they love everyone, even those who do not share their beliefs. Furthermore, they do not discriminate against those with whom they disagree.
“With all of the grotesque things that can be seen and heard on television today, you would think there would be room for two twin brothers who are faithful to our families, committed to biblical principals, and dedicated professionals,” the brothers said. “If our faith costs us a television show, then so be it.”
In the midst of the controversy, President Jerry Falwell invited the duo to Commencement as his personal guests. There, he recognized them before the crowd of about 34,000, which applauded and cheered the brothers for their unwavering commitment to serving Christ.
Though another network might still pick up “Flip It Forward,” the brothers said they will complete all the home-improvement projects they committed to when they started the show, with or without the cameras.