“Family” is not a western term, so says Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family. It’s Biblical and is found to be the unifying standard across all nations of the world. ◊
I met Jim Daly this week on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He was in the bay area to have lunch with a large group of area pastors but found a way to have a breakfast meeting with a smaller group of people interested in meeting the current President of Focus on the Family.
Of course, many are aware that Focus on the Family is the global organization founded by James Dobson. He passed the leadership baton to Jim Daly in 2005. What I learned this week is that Focus on the Family had morphed in Dobson’s final years at the helm to an organization that was approaching an 80% focus on public policy impacting families and a 20% focus on family and marriage issues. Jim Daly’s task was to reverse the trend and return back to the original roots of the organization as a family-oriented resource center.
Daly has done that.
Today Focus on the Family is now approaching an 80% focus on family and marriage issues and a 20% focus on public policy. It’s great to hear that the donor base and levels of revenue have responded very well and Focus on the Family is back on track financially and with a continued profound impact on families and marriages.
Jim Daly is Not James Dobson
Jim Daly is very different from James Dobson. And this is not a bad thing at all. In fact, these two men actively display how the loving and all-knowing hand of God plays out in the lives and affairs of those who obediently and humbly submit to that Godly authority.
While I’ve never met James Dobson, I’ve only admired him from afar as I listened to his radio broadcasts when he was in Southern California in the 1970’s. My wife and I read his books in the 1980’s as we were beginning our family and “daring to discipline.” We have long supported Focus on the Family and its programs when it moved operations to Pomona, CA and then Colorado Springs, CO in the 1990’s. I personally appreciated the organization’s bold advance into the headwinds of politics and national public policy and laws that greatly impact families. I do understand how this is a complicated arena and very different from the resources and support needed in the every day lives of growing families and marriages.
That Jim Daly’s mission was to return this international organization back to its Family roots is a credit to both men. After all, as he truthfully points out, “Family” is not a western term – it is Biblical and a unifying standard found all around the world across all nations. Daly is fearless and ideally equipped to steer this organizational re-transformation. He is tireless, gregarious, and boldly astute in his faith and actions, recently evidenced in advancing the organization to boldly yet lovingly face the pro-abortion community with the “Alive from New York” Times Square display of live 4D ultrasound images of an 8-month old fetus in May 2019. In a side-story not seen or heard in any broad range of news reporting I experienced, he told us of the Focus team’s fascinating interactions with protesters and the quiet relinquishing of protest signs and retreat by militant protest groups at the event after seeing the live fetus and hearing the baby’s strong heartbeat broadcast across a hushed Times Square with thousands in attendance.
A Man Equipped for the Job
Jim Daly is a bridge-builder enabling opposing forces to amazingly connect and align for common causes. Whether with LGBTQ or the pro-abortion lobbyists, he approaches in love and without trepidation. He goes places where few Christian leaders go due to pressure from money people or lack of personal skill sets to effectively confront. Always done in great gentleness and love, Daly deals with those that are not aligned with the Christian way with Christ-like hands, words and love. Yet with no compromise.
His personal story, detailed in his book, Finding Home, and in his talk with us this week, is an astounding picture of how God allows and prepares people for His work and calling.1 Jim Daly recalled and shared his painful experiences as a young 5-year old child experiencing family divorce and abandonment by an alcoholic father, his mother’s death from cancer when he was 9, his multiple siblings being separated and put into dysfunctional foster care homes, even living alone as a high school teenager. But just as the painful experiences of Moses and Joseph prepared them for difficult and important roles later in life, so Jim Daly’s difficult childhood prepared this strong, resilient, bold, thankful, humorous, loving and gracious man to be the man and Godly leader he is today.
He left us with a Bible verse he holds dearly: 2 Timothy 2:22 which calls us to escape from evil and pursue what is right with those that follow the Lord. Yes, Jim Daly is perfectly prepared and enabled to be the practical and visionary leader of this great Focus on the Family organization going forward.
Is God preparing you for something unforeseen?
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.. – 2 Timothy 2:22-24
1 Finding Home – an Imperfect Path to Faith and Family, by Jim Daly with Bob Demoss, David C. Cook, 2007.