Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tim Clinton. I have tremendous admiration and respect for Dr. James Dobson—the man, the Christian leader, the marriage and parenting expert, and the unwavering advocate for the family. His books and broadcasts were seminal in my own education and choice of career as I pursued my doctorate in professional counseling. Then I followed in Dr. Dobson’s footsteps to become an author, a university professor, and a radio broadcaster. I feel a deep and providential alignment of our passions for the cause of the family in America today, which makes it an honor to come alongside Dr. Dobson and Family Talk and serve the ministry’s mission. In addition to being the president of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest organization of Christian counselors in the world with nearly 50,000 members, I am delighted to now be a part of the broadcast and leadership team at Family Talk. It is a remarkable enterprise.
Despite what some might expect, Dr. Dobson’s dedication and work pace remains at a fever pitch. He is healthy, fit and has more energy than most of the people who work for him. Most importantly, his concern for the institution of the family and the moral decline of the nation remain his greatest passion. He and I, along with the entire team at Family Talk, feel a great sense of urgency to do what we can to preserve the principles and moral values on which this country was built. It has been a divine calling for more than 40 years.
Let me share something with you that is highly relevant to the continuing ministry of Family Talk. A well-known marketing research firm, Campbell-Rinker, conducted a national perceptual survey of Dr. Dobson and his work. It was completed in late 2014 but not released to the public until now. The 136-page report indicated 27 percent of all adults in the United States are aware of Dr. James Dobson. That is an estimated 65 million people, and over half of them view him favorably. The executive summary concludes, “In the opinion of this research firm, Dr. Dobson’s national awareness and favorability puts him in a position of greater influence than any other family ministry leader today. [He is] uniquely positioned, being seen as a family expert, approachable, compassionate, established, caring, and having expertise in psychology.” 1
Clearly, we still have work to do and that is what I want to tell you about today. We are excited to announce a collaboration that has occurred between Dr. Dobson and Liberty University. This great academic institution, the largest Christian university in the world with over 100,000 enrolled students, has honored him by creating an academic center named The Dr. James C. Dobson Center for Child Development, Marriage, & Family Studies. It will carry on the conceptual legacy of this Christian leader and provide training at the undergraduate and graduate levels in three areas of study: child development and parenting, marriage and family, and family advocacy and public policy. Now, regardless of a student’s major area of study, each student can learn from Dr. Dobson through carefully developed and thought-provoking ONLINE classes and earn a minor and a certification in any one of these areas of concentration. To learn more about these academic programs at Liberty University, we invite you to visit Liberty.edu/JamesDobsonCenter. Dr. Dobson has himself been named a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Liberty, my alma mater and where I have served in administration and as a faculty member for more than 30 years.
The educational collaboration goes further. For those of you who may not be interested in going back to college, Dr. Dobson has joined forces with the American Association of Christian Counselors to provide “relationship coach” certification training in the same areas of specialization. These ONLINE education programs are intended for pastors, caregivers, law enforcement officers, teachers, business people, married couples, and parents.
This curriculum is designed for those who have little or no professional training but who have a calling of compassion for others. We call them “coffee-cup counselors” who want to assist their associates, relatives, neighbors, fellow church members and anyone dealing with personal challenges. By completing the required courses, he/she can also become a Certified Marriage and Family Relationship Coach. Each student will learn from Dr. Dobson and a team of world-class marriage and family experts.
Our hope is to train thousands of coffee cup counselors across the U.S. – and eventually around the world. Its purpose is to provide the very best tools with which to bring help and hope to marriages and families. To learn more about these programs of study and how to become a Certified Marriage and Family Relationship Coach, visit AACC.net/DobsonCoach.
Imagine the influence for Christ if we had a team of certified relationship coaches or couples in every church across America and around the globe as front line “first responders” for today’s marriages and families.
Dr. Dobson has created many of these courses with parents in mind. He is deeply concerned about our increasingly pagan culture and what that is doing to this generation of children. It is weakening and compromising their faith and their moral commitment. This is how he said it in his book, Bringing Up Girls:
Whether you have cuddly little preschool boys and girls who are toddling around your house, or budding young adults about to leave the nest, it is very important to understand how the culture is influencing their developing hearts and minds. We should never underestimate its force, which is like a powerful river that carries everything downstream with it. You can and must help your youngsters avoid being swept by the current into unknown waters.
In years gone by, the River of Culture was a gentle stream that carried children along toward adulthood. Most of my friends and I made the journey with hardly a ripple. Today, parents are aware that the quiet waters have become like the raging Colorado River crashing through the Grand Canyon. There are numerous places where the rapids threaten to drown those whose rafts are not piloted by an experienced oarsman.
Dr. Dobson went on in his book to specifically offer encouraging and helpful advice to parents, as he has done for more than 40 years. Today, he is even more dedicated to the task of protecting children from the ravages of “The River.” He believes the primary goal of parenting is to introduce children to Jesus Christ and to teach them moral and spiritual principles during the early years. These underpinnings will help keep them afloat when the floodwaters come in the spring.
This passage of Bringing Up Girls was inspired by Moses’ last words to the Children of Israel shortly before he died. In today’s language, he gave them what might be called “Job One” for parents. These are his words as he spoke to the people before they entered the Promised Land. He wrote:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV)
Obviously, Moses was concerned about the spiritual challenges that awaited families on the other side of the Jordan. The educational curriculum and the mission of training an army of leaders through Liberty University and with the AACC are vitally important in fulfilling that responsibility.
Again, if you would like to know more about the online courses available through Liberty University, visit Liberty.edu/JamesDobsonCenter, and for the AACC certification programs, visit AACC.net/DobsonCoach.
All of us as Christians are confronted daily with opposition as we seek to glorify the Lord. These are perilous times where the God-ordained institutions of marriage and family are being decimated, redefined, and ridiculed. Yet, God is near. We have His Word and a direct line of communication to our Savior and Creator. Pray earnestly for our country and its leaders, and especially for righteous men and women who are seeking office in November. Lift up our nation’s churches and Bible-based ministries. And, fervently intercede on behalf of children and families. Family Talk stands with you, and we are praying with you.
Dr. Dobson appreciates those of you who helped to get Family Talk through the summer months. This was one of the most financially challenging periods in the history of the ministry. But, by the kindness of our generous friends and the prayers of God’s people, we are experiencing a soft(er) landing this fall. Dr. and Mrs. Dobson have never taken a salary, and the ministry’s resources are used very carefully and wisely. Our modest building is leased, and we have no limousines or condos in Hawaii. Every dollar you invest goes into teaching and equipping families with biblically-based family wisdom.
I know Dr. Dobson would like to hear from you when time permits. We are very enthusiastic about the new things that are happening in the ministry and will share more good news in the months to come. Thanks for caring about this work.
Blessings to you all,
Dr. Tim Clinton
President of AACC
Colleague of Dr. James Dobson
1. Family Talk 2014 Survey Report by Campbell Rinker
This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from Family Talk. Copyright, 2016 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S.A.