It’s always exciting to review events of the past year.
That's because it's only when you step back do you often fully appreciate all that the Lord has been doing in your life.
Just over the stairs in our main building here in Colorado Springs hangs a wonderful verse of Scripture:
“…and all the people were very happy because of what God had accomplished so quickly” (2 Chronicles 29:36, T.L.B.).
I love that verse. It also accurately sums up the year 2012 here at Focus on the Family.
I recently asked the team to summarize some of the year’s highlights. To say that I was humbled by their reports would be an understatement. In fact, before the year is up, I wanted to share this “good news” report with you.
By pointing people back to the author of the family, we also share the good news of Jesus Christ. The most important thing we do is introduce families to God, who is the foundation for lasting and thriving relationships.
Here are some highlights:
More than 80,000 households include someone who has committed or recommitted their life to Jesus Christ in 2012 after receiving encouragement and assistance from Focus on the Family’s materials or counselors.
One way Focus shared this message of salvation and hope was by airing a national television commercial during an AFC Divisional playoff game. The 30-second spot, which features children reciting the John 3:16 Bible verse, has been viewed more than 940,000 times online and was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. The best news resulting from the ad came via Twitter, where a father told Focus his two sons made a decision for Jesus Christ after watching the commercial during the game.
That father was one of 13.1 million people who contacted the ministry in 2012 via Web and social media interactions, or who reached out to Focus’ counseling department.
Focus’ licensed professional counselors have provided counseling and advice to more than 75,000 people this year, with marriage and conflict resolution as the top issues on people’s minds. The counseling department gave away about $59,000 in benevolence cash donations and $23,000 in resources to those in need.
Our Radio Programming
A top way Focus interacts with families is through its radio programming. Around the world, an estimated 238 million people viewed or listened to one of Focus’ many programs, from its flagship Daily Broadcast, to its short audio features and the Adventures in Odyssey radio drama. These programs are seen or heard in 124 countries in 25 different languages.
The Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, a half-hour radio program providing insight for marriages and families since 1977, was named the 2012 Radio Program of the Year by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). The broadcast devoted more than 65 percent of airtime in 2012 to marriage and parenting content and 31 percent to evangelism topics. Top programs that received the most response from listeners this year included “Understanding Biblical Manhood” with Pastor Tony Evans and “Catapulting Over a Painful Past” with gymnast Kim Hamilton Anthony.
Radio is still the most significant way for constituents to listen, with a large number using the Web to enjoy the broadcast. In a survey where listeners were allowed to choose all answers that applied, 77 percent listened to the broadcast through over-the-air radio; 52 percent listened via an Internet stream; 25 percent enjoyed it via a mobile device; and 10 percent downloaded the podcast.
Another fan favorite is the “Adventures in Odyssey” radio drama. The bi-monthly podcast version of the program continuously rates in the top ten of iTunes’ “Kids and Family” section, with more than 41 million downloads in October alone.
AIO celebrated its 25th anniversary this year with a live birthday party event on June 16 with more than 4,000 people Dallas, TX. Focus also sponsored the “Get in the Show” contest, where more than 5,000 kids entered for a chance to participate in a future AIO episode. Voters from around the world chose Shona Kennedy, 12, from Crestline, Calif., as the winner at an event on the Focus campus and webcast live.
The AIO event is just one example of how Focus on the Family welcomes guests from around the world to its headquarters every year. More than 203,000 people visited its Colorado Springs campus in 2012 and took advantage of Focus’ Welcome Center and Whit’s End-themed play area; and soda shop, as well as the Focus on the Family Bookstore.
One way Focus served the local Colorado Springs community this year was by co-sponsoring the “Community Rises” Waldo Canyon Fire benefit concert at the World Arena with partners like the left-leaning local newspaper. The event raised nearly $300,000 for fire victims in two hours with the grand total of nearly $1 million dollars. Some news outlets called this the most successful community event in the history of Colorado Springs, with NBCNews.com commenting on the Colorado Springs Independent and Focus on the Family as being “perhaps the most unlikely local partners of all.”
Caring for 'The Least of These'
This year, Focus emphasized the inherent value of every life by focusing on four themes for its Be a Voice for Life campaign that helped inspire people to care for the preborn, individuals with special needs, the elderly and orphans. Be a Voice is just one way Focus has inspired more than 1.1 million families to stand up for those who can’t’ stand up for themselves.
Focus’ Wait No More events bring together state, church and adoption leaders to raise awareness of and recruit families for waiting children and youth in foster care. This year more than 1,100 people attended the three total events, with 319 families initiating the adoption process at Wait No More. Focus also distributed more than 17,000 post-adoption resources and trained 70 counselors to better assist adoptive families. Since 2008, more than 2,100 families have stepped forward to start the adoption process thanks to Focus’ efforts.
Focus gives a voice for the preborn through its Option Ultrasound outreach, which gives at-risk mothers a glimpse into the life in their womb. OUP gave 46 grants for ultrasound machines and sonography training to qualified pregnancy medical clinics in 2012. It also supplied more than $350,000 worth of benevolent resources to more than 1,000 clinics. More than 146,000 babies have been saved from abortion since the program began.
The popular entertainment-review Focus website, www.pluggedin.com, currently receives about 1.4 million visits per month. Meanwhile, more than 9 million people are exposed to the Plugged In Movie Review radio program every week. The Plugged In Movie Review video also receives 1 million views per week.
Focus’ Boundless ministry to single adults helps them date with purpose and prepare for marriage. The Boundless Linewas ranked No. 15 on the top 50 Christian blogs by Blog Rank this year. “The Boundless Show” podcast consistently makes the iTunes list of top 100 Christian podcasts.
The Focus Leadership Institute trains university students to become leaders through critical thinking and developing their personal talents. In January 2012, Dr. Kneeland C. Brown joined the Focus team as the program’s executive director and brings a passion to see today’s millennial generation rise up as leaders and live out their faith at work, with families and in the world.
For social media impact, the ministry’s Facebook page has reached more than 740,000 total fans. Across all of the ministry’s Twitter accounts, there are more than 87,000 followers and more than 2.7 million video views on the ministry’sYouTube channel.
Engaging the Culture
Focus on the Family worked with five other pro-life, pro-family groups to reach 5 million constituent households with voter registration forms and the motivation to become registered to vote.
Focus’ public policy advocacy arm, CitizenLink, helped keep voters informed through the election season with informative video features and a live, three-hour Election Night webcast that provided pro-family commentary on the results. In addition, CitizenLink reached pro-family voters in key states by mail and phone with reminders of the importance to vote and information comparing their candidates on the issues of life, marriage and religious freedom.
I’m sure you can now more fully appreciate why I so enthusiastically resonate with the reflection of just how much the Lord has accomplished through the ministry of Focus on the Family.
This last week of the year is critical to the financial health of the ministry. If you are in a position to offer a contribution we would be most grateful. Any gift of any size would be appreciated! Our budget is always very tight. Waste and extravagance is never tolerated. We believe that God honors those who honor the resources He does provide.
I appreciate your consideration. May I ask you to also please remember this ministry in prayer? Thank you and a blessed Happy New Year to you and your family!
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