Esther Fleece, who has spearheaded Focus on the Family's outreach to millennials since 2009, announced yesterday (Sept. 10) that she is "parting ways" with the Colorado Springs-based ministry because it is eliminating her position.
"This is a hard one for me," Fleece wrote on her website. "To everything there is a season, and I have been fortunate to have spent most of my twenties with Focus on the Family. We have accomplished much..."
Focus made the "difficult decision" to end Fleece's role as an assistant to president Jim Daly after having "accomplished in the short run what we'd hoped to achieve," wrote Daly in a public letter. (Full text at bottom)
"We have had good success in connecting with [millennials] and are far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time ... encouraging younger Christians to take a second, comprehensive look at Focus on the Family," he said.
CT reported on Fleece's millennial outreach in a recent cover story on Focus's efforts to survive and thrive after the departure of founder James Dobson.
To Whom It May Concern:
As you know, Focus on the Family has been working diligently over the last three years to reach out to millenials. And while there is still much we want to do in this area, we have accomplished in the short run what we'd hoped to achieve. Therefore, at this point we are making a strategic turn of direction, and our approach will be of a different nature going forward. As we seek to reach younger people about the importance of family, marriage and parenting, we will be drawing on Greg Smalley and other trusted colleagues and friends with expertise in these fields. With this in mind, after much prayer and discussion among the executive team, the difficult decision has been made to eliminate the position of assistant to the president for millennial relations at the end of FY012.
This position was assumed by Esther Fleece in 2009, and the ministry has made great strides in reaching our strategic goals under her excellent leadership. She has helped us build solid relationships between Focus and a number of organizations that prioritize millennial outreach. We have had good success in connecting with this demographic and are far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time. Esther's efforts have been key to encouraging younger Christians to take a second, comprehensive look at Focus on the Family.
Although we will no longer have a specific role designated for millennial relations, we remain committed to reaching out to this generation with information and resources to help them and their families thrive. Boundless, our ministry to those in their 20s, has been one of our fastest growing outreaches over the last few years. We reach more than 1 million people each month through this channel, which encourages young men and women to establish a strong walk with Christ that brings their faith to bear on their worldview and all their relationships from dating to marriage to the workplace. In addition, we will continue to enhance our alliances with millennial groups and individuals that were fostered through Esther's position.
In closing, we want to express our deep thanks to Esther for her tremendous contributions to Focus. We wish her God's best in all her future endeavors.
Jim Daly President, Focus on the Family