Dear Friend of the Family,
On New Year’s Eve 2013, I told my wife, Darla, “I truly believe 2014 will be a breakthrough year for The FAMiLY LEADER.”
Wow! Was it ever! I could never have known how true those words were, and I would have been in utter disbelief at the time to have seen, in detail, how 2014 would play out. The fact is “breakthrough” is quite an understatement compared to what we actually experienced!
I hope you’ll take a moment to read through our entire list of accomplishments from the past year. When you do, take satisfaction in what you have helped make happen. And join me in giving all glory and praise to God who has blessed us and orchestrated these exceptional outcomes.
Also, as you peruse this list, I hope you’ll be more convinced than ever, based on what the Lord has done with The FAMiLY LEADER in 2014, that your continued financial support is a sound investment that will be multiplied toward even greater results in 2015 and beyond.
In fact, while we’re on the topic of “continued financial support,” I’d humbly ask you to prayerfully consider your very best year-end gift as we close out an old calendar, and prepare to open a new one.
Here’s the list. Enjoy and be amazed. You are a vital part of this!
At the Capitol in Des Moines
Four-Member Legislative Team on Location During Session Greg Baker, Danny Carroll, Churk Hurley, and Tamara Scott comprise the best legislative team in Iowa. Day after day during the Legislative Session, they’re building relationships with lawmakers, informing them with details related to our pro-family policy priorities, reading and studying Scripture with them, praying with them, and introducing them to grassroots activists and pastors who visit the Capitol regularly on behalf of Iowa’s families.
Pro-Family Rally During the 2014 Legislative Session, we hosted our annual pro-family rally at the Capitol, featuring national speakers and conservative advocates from all over the state. We continue to be the Christian, pro-family group with the largest network of grassroots activists in Iowa and it’s important that we gather annually to show legislators our support for conservative, constitutional, pro-family legislation. Stay tuned for details on our 2015 rally, which will be held in February or March.
Cross Country with If 7:14
Beyond what we could have ever asked or imagined, God has blessed the book He inspired me to write on behalf of The FAMiLY LEADER. Just a few chapters of exposition on II Chronicles 7:14 and a call for people to pray for national revival at 7:14 AM and PM has spread like wild fire and helped us forge key ministry partnerships all over the country.
Thousands of Christian leaders around America from all corners of God’s Kingdom are anticipating a spiritual revival or even a Third Great Awakening in America. What a thrill to be used of the Lord to help encourage and bring those men and women together. Here are a few of our highlights related to If 7:14. We’re expecting much more of this in 2015.
Featured at National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville
Featured at Large Church Pastors’ Conference in Dallas
Featured at Life Action Ministries’ Conference in Florida
Presented at Large Church Association and Network Conference in Michigan
Diplomacy Trip to Israel with Christian Leaders Shortly after Joel Rosenberg’s appeal at the The FAMiLY Leadership Summit that Christians rise up in support of God’s chosen people, Israel, at a time when our current presidential administration won’t, I had a chance to join Joel, Rick Santorum, and other Christian leaders to deliver a “we support Israel” message in the Holy Land.
WWII and Cold War Leadership Tour Several members of The FAMiLY LEADER team joined Mike Huckabee and a select national group of leaders from around the U.S. on a trip to Poland, London, and California to study the leadership of WWII and Cold War era leaders, including Churchill, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and Ronald Reagan.
Throughout the course of the year we have dozens of media requests each month. The FAMiLY Leader is a go-to source for scores of local, regional, and national newspapers, radio stations, television networks, and blogs/websites looking for commentary on a wide range of issues from a conservative, Christian, pro-family perspective. The items listed below are just a few highlights from a long, long list of interactions with the media over the past year.
Live Segment on Fox News’ Huckabee Show re: If 7:14 Mike Huckabee is one who believes that the need for spiritual revival is even more fundamental than electing better politicians. We had a nationally televised discussion about that, which gave The FAMiLY LEADER and If 7:14 great exposure.
November Cover Story for Focus on The Family’s Citizen Magazine The story outlined our call for prayer and revival alongside our role as a political bellwether for the nation in both the 2014 U.S. Senate race and the 2016 presidential selection process. God continues to use TFL as one of the leading family policy councils in the country, and we have close relationships with similar organizations in 35+ other states.
Election Day Op-Ed in the USA Today I was asked to write an opinion article about what the 2014 election results meant for America. In short, I said it means that conservative principles on a wide range of issues are alive and well, and that candidates who won and future candidates who will run need to boldly stand for these principles now and in the future. You can read the article by searching “USA Today, The Family Leader” online.
The FAMiLY LEADER Sponsored Events
The “If 7:14 Call” with Newsboys in the Quad Cities The Newsboys, a popular Christian band, happened to be featured on Huckabee’s TV show the same night I was there. When they heard about If 7:14 they wanted to help promote it, so they agreed to come do a free concert in Davenport to draw people out to hear about If 7:14 and commit to pray for national revival. Michael Tait, the band’s lead singer, believes If 7:14 fits with Newsboys’ songs “We Believe in God” and “God’s Not Dead,” and that we can work together to inspire spiritual revival on a personal and cultural level. Very cool.
The FAMiLY Leadership Summit This year’s Summit was our best yet! Scores of media representatives were present along with dozens of partners and sponsors. Speakers represented the ministry, politics, and private enterprise. Their messages all had a similar theme: Christians must rise up and lead a spiritual revival in our land, rather than depending on politicians in Washington DC or Des Moines to fix our deepest problems. This, of course, was in the context of our collective agreement that electing godly politicians is also important. Buckle your seat belt and plan to join us because we expect our 2015 Summit to be even bigger and better!
Twelve Region Tour of Iowa For the second year in a row The FAMiLY LEADER team visited all 12 regions in Iowa, gathering grassroots activists in order to update them on our successes, remind them of our priorities, and inspire them to keep standing for Truth. From my first day as President and CEO we made the commitment that we would refuse to stay in Des Moines, isolated in a bubble from the rest of the state. We vowed to meet with and hear from people in all corners of Iowa. This year’s tour was a rousing success in that regard. Thank you!
Celebrate the FAMiLY Dinner with Dr. Ben Carson Our annual November celebration event was headlined by a man with the much buzz and anticipation surrounding his future decisions: Dr. Ben Carson. His straight-forward and calm, yet persistent and bold approach is very appealing to many people, as are his ideas about how to help this nation correct course. Not to mention his resume as one of the most respected medical professionals on the planet…and at a time when healthcare is a top concern for many Americans. Dr. Carson aside, we had plenty to be thankful to God for in 2014 and gathering for that purpose was awesome!
U.S. Senate FAMiLY Forum with Erick Erickson Prior to the 2014 Primary Election, The FAMiLY LEADER hosted a forum with all the U.S. Senate Candidates (except Bruce Braley, who declined our invitation.) The forum was moderated by well-known conservative blogger and commentator, Erick Erickson. We will continue to host events like this, as we see one of our primary roles as helping voters to evaluate and consider which candidates are best suited to represent Iowa’s families and our values in various elected offices.
Temporarily Hired Five Election Team Members With some financial support from a generous partner, The FAMiLY LEADER was able to hire five additional team members to join us for the months leading up to the General Election. These people organized volunteers to make phone calls and knock on doors for the purpose of helping conservative, Christian, pro-family voters get to the polls. Based on the results we saw on Election Night, this investment paid incredible dividends. Plus, now we’ve got an even larger network of grassroots conservatives to mobilize for future pro-family campaigns and initiatives.
2016!! I know it seems awfully early for most people to be talking about the next election. I often hear, “Didn’t we just get done with the campaign frenzy?! Can’t we take a break from it all?!” The answer, frankly, is “no.” While this is definitely not heaven, this is Iowa! With the Iowa Caucuses just over a year away, the intensity of presidential campaigning here is about to skyrocket. And because President Obama is coming to the end of his second term, it will be crazy in both the Republican and Democrat Parties. But have no fear, The FAMiLY LEADER will be all-hands-on-deck, to help you and other Iowans navigate the “who’s-who” and “what-are-they-all-about” of the upcoming caucus season. As Iowans we are uniquely positioned to have incredible influence in the process, and as the leading conservative organization in the state, our responsibility to be thorough and diligent is huge. Stay tuned!
Wow! Just look back at all that! And would you believe me if I told you that I only briefly skimmed our most prominent highlights?! I could write a book about 2014. But I don’t have time for that…2015 is coming, and with God’s grace it’s going to be even more epic.
If 2014 was a “breakthrough year,” I’d say that 2015 is going to be a deeply transformational year with, believe it or not, real hope for good and true change…revival.
We need you with us. 100%. All the way. Your prayers. Your time and energy. Your financial resources. Please show us your continued commitment with your generous response today!
We could not do it without you. Thanks so much.
For the FAMiLY,
Bob Vander Plaats
President & CEO
P.S. Please send your very best year-end contribution to The FAMiLY LEADER today, a gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, or $2500, go to TheFamilyLeader.com right now and make a secure online donation. Thank you!