Colorado Springs- From helping save 130,000 marriages to building homes for martyred Christians abroad and assisting 247 families start the process of adoption from foster care in the U.S., Focus on the Family spent 2015 practically living out the Christian faith.
"'Helping Families Thrive' is much more than just a motto to us," said Focus on the Family President Jim Daly. "It's a calling. Every day, nearly 800 men and women come to work with the sole purpose of putting their faith into action by helping individuals, marriages and families around the world reach their God-given purpose and potential."
Life-changing movie helped raise more than $1M for orphans
Focus' second film release, "The Drop Box," surpassed expectations when record-breaking audiences caused the ministry to hold an encore presentation. All in all, nearly 300,000 theatergoers saw the film, and many of them lit up social media to share how touched they were by the story of South Korea's Pastor Lee Jong-rak's efforts to save "unwanted" babies who might otherwise be abandoned by their desperate mothers.
Audiences went on to donate more than $1 million to The Global Orphan Care Fund to benefit the children Pastor Lee serves and Focus' work in helping children in the U.S. foster care system. The movie, released by Focus on the Family, Kindred Image and Fathom Events, was also nominated for a K-LOVE Fan Award in the Impact Television and Film category.
Public school students make #BringYourBible trend on social media
Beyond empowering moviegoers, Focus also helped give Christian teens a voice through its second-ever student-led Bring your Bible to School Day, celebrated on Oct. 8. An estimated 155,000 students from all 50 states participated in the free-speech initiative that grew exponentially beyond the 8,000 who were involved in the inaugural 2014 event. The award-winning Christian band Newsboys joined the effort to raise awareness about Bring Your Bible to School Day and religious freedom issues, debuting its newest video on Jim Daly's blog and promoting the event with fans.
Students' excitement about the event spilled over to social media, causing #BringYourBible to trend on Facebook and Twitter. Social media coverage reached more than 18 million people and caused a variety of outlets to report on pictures of students proudly carrying their Bibles at their schools.
Focus helps represent millions of Americans' views at Supreme Court
Focus on the Family and nearly 45 pro-family groups submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices prepared for the Obergefell v. Hodges marriage case. The pro-marriage arguments were ultimately referenced during an exchange between U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and Justice Antonin Scalia.
Focus' other efforts to equip marriage supporters with facts about the case and the important purposes of marriage included a video by Focus President Jim Daly and a website dedicated to providing facts and analysis on the case that gave about 85,000 visitors timely, relevant information.
Focus' "marriage ER" helps save couples from brink of divorce
Beyond the policy world, Focus' efforts to strengthen marriages included an expansion to its National Institute of Marriage (NIM) campus in Branson, Missouri. The ministry added seven cottages, helping to host 450 couples in crisis in 2015. The participants benefited from the highly successful onsite, multi-day model that has served thousands of couples since 2003, with research indicating that 84 percent of the couples remain married two years following their NIM marriage intensive.
Unique research makes case for church investment in marriages
A study sponsored by Focus on the Family through LifeWay Research found that nearly one-third of churchgoers who divorced never told anyone in their congregation that they were experiencing marital problems. The research also detailed the negative impact divorce has on the local church, including hurting the spiritual health of children, reduced membership and financial giving, and damaged relationships within the congregation.
The findings led Focus on the Family to produce practical resources to equip local churches and pastors to proactively invest in marriages in their congregations, which will culminate in the Honoring Marriage Event next year on Sunday, Feb. 14.
Equipping singles for healthy marriages
Focus' Boundless outreach, which helps singles live with intentionality and marry well, broadcast the 400th episode of its podcast and radio show this year. "The Boundless Show" is now heard online and on over 370 terrestrial radio outlets and was a top-ten finalist in the Academy of Podcasters 2015 Awards in the spirituality and religion category.
Nearly 300 Christian singles attended Boundless' second Pursuit conference in July. These adults ages 18-39 gathered in Colorado Springs to make meaningful connections and benefit from well-known Christian speakers teaching on relationships, life and faith.
To help engaged couples prepare for marriage, Focus released its "Ready to Wed" kit featuring a 10-session DVD series, a leader's guide, couple's workbooks and Greg and Erin Smalley's book "Ready to Wed: 12 Ways to Start a Marriage You'll Love." The book's companion app was designed to help couples create healthy relational habits during their engagement journey.
Sharing truth through the airwaves
The "Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast" reached 2.5 million regular listeners on 2,339 outlets and welcomed guests including Francis Chan, Henry Cloud, Larry Crabb, Malcolm Gladwell, Russell Moore and Ed Stetzer.
"Plugged In," a 60-second radio feature that examines movie content with families in mind, expanded to five airings a week and added segments on music, video games and television. Listeners can hear it on 903 radio stations. Each month, approximately 750,000 users visit the Plugged In website or app for help in making wise entertainment choices.
Helping parents instill strong values in their kids
"Adventures in Odyssey," Focus' radio drama for children and children-at-heart, reached more than 750,000 radio listeners every week, with approximately one million visitors to its website each month. The podcast is the 11th most popular podcast for kids and family on iTunes radio.
The Odyssey Adventure Club gives fans access to every "Adventures in Odyssey" episode produced since 1987, and thousands of families from 37 countries have become members. The Odyssey Adventure Club partners with other ministries to promote causes children can get involved in. This year, Club members provided 65,000 life-saving vaccines to children in remote villages around the world through Mission Aviation Fellowship.
"Middle School: The Inside Story," a six-part curriculum, was released in September 2015. This resource provides tips on how to talk to tweens about technology, relationships, social media, hormones, the Internet, video gaming, finding identity and more.
Inspiring people to stand in the gap for kids
An estimated 330,000 babies have been saved since 2004 through Focus' Option Ultrasound Program, and the ministry expanded its reach in 2015 with 29 grants for ultrasound machines and trainings and assistance to clinics for meeting state and national standards.
More than 1,200 people attended Wait No More events in 2015, resulting in 247 families initiating the process of adoption from foster care.
Raising Highly Capable Kids has engaged 5,015 parents to empower them with the tools they need to raise kids who are happy, healthy and responsible. This 13-week, values-based, bilingual program has been introduced in 201 public schools across the country and 1,281 trainers from churches, community organizations and schools have been trained to come alongside the initiative.
Providing counseling to those in crisis situations
More than 50,000 people turned to Focus on the Family's counseling department for help in resolving a family crisis in 2015, receiving hope for situations including marital conflict, strained relationships with adult children, infidelity and depression.
Focus' counseling team launched a Crisis Response Initiative, offering assistance to churches, government agencies, schools and counseling centers and providing resources to help those experiencing trauma in the wake of mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina; Platte, South Dakota; Roseburg, Oregon; and Flagstaff, Arizona.
This year, more than 7,500 people received prayer through Focus' "Prayer and Care Line" partnership with six radio stations. Through this initiative, stations invite listeners looking for advice and support in their families to call a special number that reaches Focus on the Family. These conversations have an eternal impact, as well: 913 callers made decisions for Christ.
Focus also took 1,022 calls through its Pastoral Care Line, giving pastors and their families encouragement and support as they minister to those in their congregations.
Global outreach grows
After 20 Coptic Christians were killed by Islamic State militants in February, Focus on the Family Egypt immediately reached out to families mourning the loss of their husbands and fathers in Samalout, Egypt. With donations provided by Focus supporters, Focus Egypt built homes for these families and continues to assist them, along with the larger community in partnership with the local Coptic Orthodox Church diocese. The ministry is also helping refugee families in Jordan and Iraq with food, fuel, blankets, shelter and education, and it has established a self-sustainable bakery to provide bread within a refugee camp.
In May, Focus on the Family Mongolia, the newest member of Focus' global outreach, opened its offices in Ulaanbataar, establishing a media presence and counseling services. This represents Focus' 13th global partnership. The ministry now has a presence in Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ireland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and Taiwan.
Focus experts speak into the culture
Focus experts provide insightful comments on a range of marriage, parenting, sanctity of human life, social issues and evangelism topics. Among the hundreds of interviews Focus spokespeople took part in this year, Jim Daly shared his perspective on the family with outlets including The New York Times, Harvard Political Review, and Newsweek.
Online mentors provide hope to the hurting
Focus' Online Mentors program is an innovative effort to share suggestions on finding help and hope to those posting in online communities. Online mentors have engaged in 27,000 conversations since the program began in 2013, and it currently has more than 100 volunteers.
Looking ahead to 2016
In January, Focus on the Family and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) are hosting Evangelicals for Life, the first-ever major pro-life conference for evangelicals in conjunction with the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
For interview opportunities, please contact Allison Meggers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-266-7557.