Focus on the Family founder James Dobson has resigned as chairman of the Colorado ministry he started 32 years ago, but will continue to host his daily radio broadcast and is expected to stay
involved in national politics.
Both Dobson and his wife, Shirley, have departed from the board, the ministry based in Colorado Springs, Colo. The announcement was made Feb. 27.
The move is considered “the next step in a transition plan” that started in 2003 when James Dobson stepped down as president, the ministry said.
“One of Dr. Dobson’s objectives during the last decade has been to help identify the next generation of leadership for the ministry, and to see it established securely before he stepped away from administrative oversight,” said the board of directors in a statement. “That purpose has now been fulfilled.”
In addition to hosting the “Focus on the Family” radio program, Dobson will continue writing a newsletter that Focus says is received by 1.6 million supporters each month.
Dobson and his wife, who heads annual efforts to mark the National Day of Prayer, have been elected founder and chairman emeritus, and director emerita, respectively.
“One of the common errors of founder-presidents is to hold to the reins of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority,” Dobson said in a statement.
“I have wanted not to make that mistake with Focus on the Family, which is why I stepped back. … Though letting go is difficult after three decades of intensive labor, it is the wise thing to do.”
Longtime Dobson colleague Gary Bauer, president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, called Dobson a “visionary pro-family leader” who still has contributions to make.
“At a time when few were sensitive to the struggles and pressures facing the American family, Dr. Dobson and Shirley saw that something had to be done,” said Bauer, a former senior vice president at Focus on the Family. “They have been warriors for faith, family and freedom, and I trust they will continue to fight the good fight for many more years to come.”
The new chairman of the Focus board is Patrick P. Caruana, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who has been a board member since 1996, and its vice chairman since 2006.