Karl Benzio’s Early Years
Lighthouse Network is the vision of Karl Benzio, MD, a Christian Psychiatrist. In 1968, when he was 5 years old, God placed on his heart the concept of Decision-Making. Young Karl was interested in why he and other people made the decisions we make, especially the wrong ones. Karl never wanted to be an astronaut, teacher, policeman, or builder. He only wanted to understand decision-making and help others be better decision-makers.
After watching Dr. Bellows on I Dream of Jeannie, Dr. Sidney Friedman of MASH, and The Bob Newhart Show, he realized a psychiatrist is the professional expert for the mind and decision-making, so he set his eyes on psychiatry.
Growing up, Karl was good in school and sports and loved the way sports and academics are broken down into very small parts, techniques, and drills, then taught and practiced hundreds of times to ensure success. He wondered why they never teach a decision-making class or have coaches to go through situations with you hundreds of times to learn decision-making mechanics and skills.
During his teen years, Karl was struggling with anxiety and depression and started listening to a Bible teacher talk about everyday psychological skills and how the mind works by just looking at the Bible. That was the first time the Bible was actually presented as something more than a book about ancient history or the end of our time on Earth. Karl thought if we could combine these Biblical truths with our medical and psychiatric knowledge of the brain and mind, we could help people live the abundant life the Bible instructs us about. That was the seed of Lighthouse Network.
Karl Benzio’s Adult Years
Upon becoming a psychiatrist in 1990, Dr. Benzio honed his clinical skills, learned about how science and the Bible can help people, and started teaching his philosophy and principles in various forums. He received much encouragement and positive feedback from professionals, pastors, and people struggling who didn’t know the Bible, and science agreed so tightly about the diagnosis and prescription for the human condition.
As people would hear, they would have questions and need more treatment than Dr. Benzio could provide in his outpatient practice. Having trouble saying ‘no,’ he would find them some intensive treatment option, and Christian if possible. He found many Christian options existed, but people didn’t know about them. He also saw many Christian options weren’t using the available cutting-edge science to advance and implement Biblical teachings in a therapeutic environment.
Lighthouse Network Officially Starts
After providing an informal Helpline and teaching on his unique Spirit, Mind, Body Integration for 5 years, Dr. Benzio founded Lighthouse Network in 2003 and we received our 501c3 in 2004.
- 2003 – present: Helpline has grown from 30 calls per month to 900 per month (10,000+/yr.)
• Refer thousands of people a year to over 300 Christian treatment facilities
- 2006: Five-man team to Uganda to conduct a Pastor and Ministry Leaders Conference
- 2007: Led first team invited into Iraq by Minister of Health to teach Iraqi national healthcare providers
- 2008: Testified before the President’s Bioethics Committee
- 2008: Hired first full time employee
- 2009 – present: Developed Christian treatment programs in various partner facilities around the U.S.
- 2009: Stepping Stones Daily Devotional launches and currently reaches 20,000 per day and used by many ministries
- 2012: Life Change Radio Minute launches and now on 425 Christian Radio Stations
- 2012: Seven-person team to Uganda ministering to 476 children and their 50 mentors traumatized by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army
- Spoke at many conferences, media outlets, and legislative meetings
- Collaborated with many regional and national ministries to apply Jesus’ healing message to many Behavioral Health and life management issues
• Christian Medical Association, Focus on the Family, Cornerstone TV, iDisciple, AACC, Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance, and many more
Present and Future Lighthouse Network
In 2013, Lighthouse Network was contacted to develop a Christian track in a treatment program by David Hoskins. After starting the Christian track, Karl found David started a nonprofit ministry called International Recovery Management with similar mission to equip the global church to understand and help behavioral health struggles.
In 2014, Lighthouse Network, including the name and all our assets, were acquired by IRM dba Lighthouse Network, providing the same services. Over the past two years, we have significantly upgraded our Helpline services, partnered with more ministries to provide online life growth content, consulted with more treatment facilities, and been involved in more social policy advocacy and expanded to provide more assistance on the Helpline.
While continuing and expanding our present services, in 2017 we are excited about our new prayer ministry called LightKeepers, allowing anyone around the world to ask for prayer regarding behavioral health struggles and for others to be an intercessory prayer warrior for these requests and those Lighthouse helps.
God has blessed us with a unique ministry and we are amazed by His faithfulness and the wonderful ministry partners He has guided us to over the years as we look to be Good Samaritans to those wounded with Behavioral Health struggles.