For more than a decade, the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute (JDFI) has been working to preserve and promote principles that support strong marriages and families through the timeless teachings and broadcasts of Dr. James Dobson.
Headquartered in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, JDFI is a trusted resource for families and individuals seeking guidance on navigating the complexities of modern life while adhering to their Christian faith. Initially coined Family Talk, the nonprofit was founded in 2010 by Dr. James Dobson, the nation’s most renowned advocate for issues impacting the family.
Dobson launched Family Talk in response to the disarray of the institution of marriage and family. In 2017, the ministry updated its name to the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute (JDFI) to better reflect its core mission. The rebrand aimed to facilitate the expansion of its four core ministry divisions––Family Talk, the Dobson Policy and Education Centers, and the Dobson Digital Library.
“[My] commitment to moral and spiritual truths has not changed and will not be compromised one iota. Please don’t expect me to take a ‘softer, gentler’ approach to the issues that burn within my soul. I have never spoken or written without passion for the values which I believe, and I don’t intend to start now,” said Dobson.
“Babies are dying, the very definition of marriage is under attack, the financial underpinnings of families are being destroyed by confiscatory taxation, and children of all ages are being taught wickedness and every form of godlessness,” Dobson emphasized. “This is not the time to grow timid!”
The organization seeks to impact faith, family, culture, and policy through a “holistic” portfolio of initiatives and resources, including marriage enrichment programs, tools for parents, and advocacy efforts in defense of religious freedom and family rights.
Dobson’s flagship broadcast program, “Family Talk,” airs on more than 1,300 terrestrial radio outlets and numerous digital channels. The program offers dialogue and discussion aimed at addressing the culture’s challenges, promoting biblical principles, and equipping families with the tools they need to thrive today.
“Given Dr. Dobson’s medical background, having earned a Ph.D. in child development, coupled with his strong biblical worldview, it is of vital importance to him that the ministry of JDFI be dedicated to communicating God’s truth as it relates to His design for marriage and parenting,” said James Dobson Family Institute President Joe Waresak, who has been with the ministry since 2013 and assumed the office of President in 2022. “This is the heart of JDFI—to encourage men and women to courageously live out their faith within their marriages and as they raise their children.”
Dobson’s unwavering commitment to see the institution of the family flourish in the Nation positioned him to play a pivotal role in launching over fifty other “Christ-centered” ministries such as NRB members Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council.
Recognizing the importance of reaching the next generation, JDFI has embraced modern communication channels to place faith-filled digital resources in front of every generation.
“Over the past several years, JDFI has launched several new ministry initiatives to reach the next generation of families. One of the most effective is by capitalizing on the ubiquitous popularity of videos and social media,” said Waresak. “Each of the 60-second videos we produce is based upon a foundational truth nugget that Dr. Dobson has shared either through his numerous writings or broadcasts.”
According to Waresak, through these efforts, approximately 500 short-form videos have reached over 55 million people in just the last two years. The ministry has also launched the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute app, making Dobson’s timeless 90-second commentaries available in a user-friendly format.
The further our culture sways from biblical principles, the harder life becomes for our youth. Instead of hearing encouragement from their peers, Christian teenagers often feel like fools and failures. In this video, Dr. James Dobson equips parents to navigate these tough times. pic.twitter.com/I1DPdAZwFE
— Family Talk (@DrJamesDobsonFT) November 12, 2023
It is essential to find ways to communicate with the “lost and hurting generation” of today, Waresak believes.
“Young people are starving for truth in a culture that is quickly erasing it. As with any missional pursuit, we must address difficult issues impacting lives and be willing to expand our distribution efforts across emerging platforms where it matters most,” said Waresak. “As an old axiom rightly notes, ‘Methods are many, but principles are few. Methods always change. Principles never do.’”
In the ever-changing digital landscape, the potential for deplatforming is a formidable adversary for ministries like the James Dobson Family Institute.
“No doubt, for any ministry that is speaking God’s truth and grace across airwaves or digital platforms, the ever-growing aggressive cancel culture is a pervasive nemesis,” said Waresak. “We must not shrink back from this blatant attack against our religious freedoms endowed by our Creator.”
“JDFI is committed to standing alongside NRB and our brothers and sisters in Christ to assure that our liberties as Christians and Americans are not circumvented or cancelled,” said Waresak.
In a word of gratitude, Waresak expressed, “On behalf of Dr. James Dobson, our JDFI Founder Chair, the board of directors, and the entire JDFI staff, we want to extend our earnest appreciation to NRB and all of its members. Over seven decades, NRB has answered the call to be a Christian leader in religious broadcasting, and God has blessed their efforts.”
“We’re in this mission together, and we count it an honor to serve alongside NRB and our fellow members. May God use NRB and its full membership mightily in the days ahead,” Waresak concluded.
The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute has been an NRB member since 2011. Dobson was inducted into the NRB Hall of Fame in 1991—NRB’s most prestigious award, presented to an individual NRB member for invaluable contribution to the field of Christian communications, exhibition of the highest standards and evidence of faithfulness in Christ. Dobson received the 2020 Directors Award and was a member of the NRB President’s Council in 2015. To learn more, visit www.drjamesdobson.org.