James Dobson Striking Out On His Own

Last February, it was announced that James Dobson was stepping down from his position as Chairman of Focus on the Family.  Following that announcement, we started seeing lots of articles claiming that Dobson had conceded the culture wars and was throwing in the towel, a claim which Dobson vigorously disputed, saying that even though he was stepping down as Chairman, we would maintain his presence as the voice of Focus on the Family’s flagship radio program and continue to speak out on moral and political issues.

Then Jim Daly took over as Chairman for the organization and began hinting that we’d see a different tone from them … but that proved to be easier said then done, with Dobson remaining that voice of the organization and agenda.  Which is why, in October, it was announced that Dobson would be leaving the Focus radio program in February.

As Dobson made clear, the decision to leave was not his, but came to him from the Board of Directors, which Dobson only accepted because God told him that he had bigger plans in mind.

Now it looks like those plans are beginning to take shape because when Dobson leaves Focus in February, he’s striking out on his own and setting up a new organization and radio program that will seemingly compete directly with his former organization because, as he explains, he just cannot sit on the sidelines at a time of such “moral decline”:

This is the first announcement of a brand new 30 minute daily radio program to be carried on numerous stations, beginning in March, 2010. It is called JCDs Family Forum, and will be changed soon to James Dobson on the Family. The program will be much like what you have heard on Focus on the Family for the past 33 years. It will deal with marriage, child-rearing, family finances, medical and psychological concerns, national issues, the sanctity of human life, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My son, Ryan Dobson, will co-host the program with me, which will be a exciting adventure.

From one perspective, it would be pleasurable for Shirley and me to get up in the morning and go to breakfast, read the newspaper, travel and be with friends. That prospect of an easy life is attractive to us. On the other hand, the institution of the family continues to be in deplorable condition, and children are growing up in a culture that often twists and warps their young minds. Furthermore, our nation is facing a crisis that threatens its very existence. We are in a moral decline of shocking dimensions. I have asked myself how I can I sit and watch the world go by without trying to help if I can. That is what motivates me at this time.

It is not fame or fortune that drives this new effort. I will not take a salary from the ministry and I have had more than my share of fame. My purpose is much like it was all those years ago when I made the most dramatic career move of my life, transitioning from a coveted professorial position in academia to a lowly little Christian radio program heard once a week on 34 stations. Tyndale House Publishers gave us a grant of $35,000 to get us started, and when that money ran out, we almost closed our doors. But then, the Lord’s people reached out to us generously and the ministry caught fire. Perhaps it will happen again.

If you wish to help us get started, send your contributions to JCD’s Family Forum, which will later be called James Dobson on the Family. Gifts are tax deductible and will be receipted. The address is 7150 Campus Drive, Suite 150, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80920. Contributions can also be made through the website. Your participation will be greatly appreciated, especially during this time when startup costs will be very expensive. The budget for the first year, including the costs of radio airtime, will be about two million dollars. Even a small gift for that purpose will be significant.

Once again, we will build from the ground up in a shared venture.

Please be in prayer for us as we take this step. We don’t want to get ahead of or behind the Lord. If He doesn’t bless our efforts to serve Him, it will all be for naught. Thank you for reading along with me today. Once again, my heart is pounding with the excitement of doing something that could be significant for others. I invite you to take the journey with us.