James Dobson has stepped down as chairman of Focus on the Family, the conservative group he founded more than 30 years ago as a voice on moral issues like abortion and marriage.
Dobson, 72, made the announcement Friday at a staff worship service, after discussing the decision with fellow board members earlier in the week.
His reasoning pointed toward the need for an effective transition in leadership for his organization.
"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. "Though letting go is difficult after three decades of intensive labor, it is the wise thing to do."
CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody said Dobson's resignation also signifies the call for a "new, younger brand of leaders" in the evangelical movement.
"You can definitely make the argument that the evangelical movement is at somewhat of a crossroads," he said.
Brody explained in his popular blog, The Brody file, that while tradional values, like abortion and marriage, will continue to be a conservative evangelical mainstay, "appealing to a younger generation and some of their concerns about a wider range of issues is going to be at the center of a potential transition process." Click here to read more of Brody's comments on his blog.
Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger said Dobson "will continue to speak out as he always has" on moral and political issues, but that it will be as "a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded."
Dobson began the pro-family ministry in 1977. His daily radio broadcasts reach more than 1.5 million listeners daily and his books on child-rearing have influenced a generation of parents.
Jim Daly, president and ceo of the Colorado Springs-based ministry, will take over as chairman.
Daly said Dobson will continue to host the ministry's daily radio program for an uncertain amount of time while they "look for the next voice for the next generation."
Sources: CBN News, Associated Press, LifeSiteNews
*First posted February 27, 2009.