Usually political radio hosts just talk about Congress. Veteran broadcaster J.D. Hayworth has also talked in Congress. For 12 years. Elected to the House of Representatives from Arizona’s 6th congressional district at the age of 36, J.D. was the first Arizonan in history to serve on the powerful Ways & Means Committee.
This Eagle Scout from High Point North Carolina was raised in a Christian home and became a Christ follower at the age of 12. He began his broadcasting career two years later and continued his radio work while on a football scholarship at N.C. State. He moved into television his senior year before graduating with a double major in Speech-Communication and Political Science.
Work as a television sportscaster would take J.D. to several cities. He wound up in Phoenix in 1987, where he recommitted his life to Christ at North Phoenix Baptist Church. Soon he met and married Mary Yancey and they started a family. J.D. and Mary stepped out in faith to campaign for a seat in Congress. In 1995, J.D. was sworn in as part of the first Republican House Majority in 40 years. He was soon asked to become part of the House GOP Leadership and subsequently served on the Ways & Means Committee.
His time in Congress came to an end in early 2007 and J.D. returned to broadcasting as a talk radio host in Phoenix. That’s where he got involved with Pinnacle Forum. “I had heard about Pinnacle Forum from some friends in the Valley,” J.D. recalls. “Art Brooks, who used to run the Arizona Broadcasters Association spoke of it, and I attended quite a few meetings of different small groups. But my involvement began in earnest upon my return from a TV job in Florida a few years ago. Former Pinnacle Forum CEO Guy Rodgers reached out and helped me connect. Pinnacle Forum has been an opportunity to forge new relationships and to seek God’s will among like-minded people who have achieved some good things in their lives.
“I was invited to a Forum group to which I still belong,” J.D. says. “I immediately hit it off with the guys. We meet on Fridays. This past week was the first time we did a virtual meeting on Zoom. Given the impact of the Coronavirus, it was a great way to get everybody together. We will probably continue in this format, as so many other groups are doing now. I miss the physical gatherings, but let’s face it, we’re now all in a kind of self-isolation. We don’t know the future of this pandemic, but we can still stay connected and support each other.”
During these trying times J.D. advises, “We have to remind ourselves that God is on the throne. He’s in charge of this world. We can make our plans, but the Lord may have other plans for us. We may be tempted to say, ‘Whoa! Wait a minute. Can we do a script revision? Do you mean for me to go this way and not that way?’ We have to be reminded that whatever the travails of this world, we aren’t to sit on our haunches and disconnect. We are to be active agents of change. That’s what this whole Pinnacle Forum movement is all about.”
Life has taken J.D. from the halls of Congress to the studios of various radio and TV stations around the country. Millions have heard his voice through these venues over the years, but his focus nowadays is closer to home. “I’d be the first to say that it’s much more honorable to be called a citizen than a member of Congress,” he says with a smile. “I’ve gained insights from my Pinnacle Forum Partners who are in the business world, from those who have been called into ministry full-time, from others who are in education. This unique collection of men has been immensely helpful to me at this stage of my life.
“What I find most gratifying are the number of Partners who can offer insights because of their different backgrounds and experiences. They’ve helped me with personnel decisions I’ve had to make. I appreciate the input so much because I didn’t have those insights as a younger man. The friendships in my Forum group are something special. We can be transparent and share one another’s concerns and bear one another’s burdens.”
It was on a hike up Pinnacle Peak in North Scottsdale in 1995 that three men prayed over Phoenix and the surrounding cities. They asked the Lord for direction in starting a ministry to the most influential people in the region, and the nation. Bill Dodder, Terry Hamlin and Merrill Oster went on to start Pinnacle Forum America.
“I’m blessed to almost have Pinnacle Peak in my backyard, J.D. says. “It always reminds me of Pinnacle Forum. The time of fellowship and accountability and prayer and insights from Scripture qualify as a type of mountain top experience for me. Really getting to know men in an environment of trust where we can speak what’s on our minds and hearts, I just find it exceptional.”