Colorado Springs, Colo. – Focus on the Family significantly expanded its online presence and outreach in 2013. The Digital Engagement Center, unveiled in October, uses cutting-edge social media software to allow family help specialists to go directly to those searching online for advice to life’s challenges. Fully paid for by designated donations, the Digital Engagement Center represents an investment of about $143,000.
"The digital age is giving us new opportunities. Families are going directly to social media for help," said Focus President and CEO Jim Daly. "The Digital Engagement Center allows us to proactively reach these hurting people like never before in our 36-year history. We’re going to them with advice for the challenges they’re facing, offering hope and practical support."
Focus on the Family’s Online Presence
Focus is also reaching the digital audience with new apps for iOS and Android. A refreshed version of the Daily Broadcast app was recently released and is averaging more than 20,000 active users each month. The ministry’s new PluggedIn app, designed to help families make good entertainment choices, has grown by more than 8,000 active users every month.
Focus also released a Thriving Family Newsstand app featuring the digital edition of Thriving Family magazine, and a Focus Leadership Institute app which allows users to easily view news, blog posts, upcoming events and videos. Focus on the Family devotional plans are also available through the YouVersion app, with more than 1 million plans already completed by readers.
In 2013, Focus’ flagship Daily Broadcast aired on more than 1,000 stations in the United States. Top programs from the year included "Bono: Husband, Father, Advocate" with U2’s lead singer, and "Experiencing a Fulfilled Marriage" with Patricia Ashley.
The Plugged In Movie Review radio feature reached its 10th anniversary this year and is heard by more than 8 million people every week on more than 700 radio stations.
Equipping Today’s Millennials
Boundless, Focus’ outreach to single adults, carried out its "Rock the Body" contest to encourage young adults to stop being church consumers and show greater commitment to a local church body. The Boundless Show podcast aired its 300th episode this year and debuted an updated website.
In May, the Focus Leadership Institute launched the online Advanced Learning Opportunities program in conjunction with Indiana Wesleyan University. This 12-week certificate program equips working professionals and adult learners with biblically based leadership skills in areas like principle-centered management, family studies in pastoring and apologetics, and Christian ethics.
Tools for a Solid Marriage
This year the ministry rolled out its Marriage Mentors program through a partnership with renowned marriage mentors Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. This program will equip couples to walk through life’s challenges with other couples, whether newlyweds or empty nesters. The program is expected to expand the ministry’s work to help marriages, which included helping strengthen 790,000 marriages and save 130,000 others in 2013.
Raising Kids with a Thriving Faith
Adventures in Odyssey has been using its episodes to ignite kids’ imaginations and teach biblical principles for 26 years. This summer, AIO joined with Tyndale House Publishers, Good Goers and Christian bookstores to encourage kids to live out their faith with the A.C.T.S.! challenge and video contest.
Through A.C.T.S.! (A Call to Serve), kids were challenged to put others’ needs above their own by completing 12 hours of service over the summer and submitting a two-minute video on how they serve their family, community or church. More than 250 kids logged more than 4,000 total hours of service and 230 video entries were submitted.
Efforts like A.C.T.S.! have helped more than 650,000 families raise kids with a thriving faith this year and guided more than 560,000 families out of a family crisis in 2013.
Helping the Orphan and the Preborn
Focus’ Wait No More outreach celebrated its fifth anniversary of finding permanent homes for waiting children in foster care. Since the program’s 2008 launch, more than 2,600 families have initiated the process of adoption from foster care.
In 2013, there were six Wait No More events attended by more than 3,000 people. More than 500 families initiated the adoption process this year.
Focus’ Option Ultrasound program helps at-risk moms choose life by giving them a visible glimpse into the life in their womb. OUP awarded 48 grants: 20 ultrasound machines, 10 sonography trainings, 17 ultrasound services enhancement grants and one medical conversion grant to qualified pregnancy medical clinics in 2013. It also supplied $385,000 worth of benevolent resources to more than 1,100 pregnancy centers. More than 201,000 babies have been saved from abortion since the program began.
Focus on the Family is meeting the needs of at-risk communities through its "Raising Highly Capable Kids" curriculum. By working with parents and community and church leaders, Focus has introduced the curriculum in areas across the U.S. where parents are in need and children are at-risk.
The program has helped more than 750 families teach their kids about service , honesty and self-esteem. There are now more than 465 facilitators, 91 churches and 18 schools trained to teach the curriculum. (These videos share some of the stories.)
Focus makes a difference within its Colorado Springs community. In 2013, employees volunteered more than 1,000 hours.
Since 1996, Focus’ Radio Theatre dramas have been using award-winning voice actors, orchestral music and compelling scripts to bring new life to classic stories. Its new "C.S. Lewis at War" drama goes behind the scenes of Lewis’ most well-known works and reveals how "Mere Christianity" started as a way of sharing hope to the city of London experiencing the horrors of World War II.
Focus’ family magazines provide parenting advice and reinforce biblical principles with fun activities, puzzles and stories for kids. This year, Clubhouse magazine won four Evangelical Press Association Awards, including first place for "fiction and cartoon" and second place for "devotional and titles." Thriving Family also received the Award of Excellence for digital efforts.
Jim Daly’s cultural engagement
Focus President Jim Daly spoke this year with the New York Times, PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and Beliefnet, among others, about engaging the culture on current issues in a sincere and relevant way.
He also spoke at university events, including a Q&A on faith at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and at Cedarville University’s "Dialogue on Sexuality."
At the heart of Focus’ campaigns, products and resources is the goal to see a broken world restored through God-centered marriages and families.
With divorce rates, fatherlessness and a general breakdown of the family at an all-time high, Focus will use The Family Project – the follow up to its popular The Truth Project DVD curriculum – to help today’s families discover what God’s design for the family looks like.
The Family Project will launch nationwide on May 6th in theaters for a one-night event with "Irreplaceable," a 90-minute documentary that will examine whether today’s culture has it right when it comes to the topic of family. A 13-lesson, DVD-based curriculum will follow.
For interview opportunities, contact Nina Coppola at 719-531-3386.