I met Jim for the first time several years ago when he was brand new to the role of President at Focus on the Family. It was in the Board room and, I confess, I was expecting an appropriate wait with a bit of a grand entrance with maybe some mid-level advance staff preceding him making sure everything was just so. I could not have been more wrong. Instead, a smiling and genuinely friendly Jim Daly walked in and all of us relaxed. This was not an audience with a ministry leader. This was a conversation with a new friend.
I’m not going to tell Jim’s story for him. I want to say I do believe he has been prepared for this responsibility not only by his long association with Focus but by the circumstances of his life. Jim has lived with letting go and transition in so many different ways. He has an extraordinary sense of himself and his own unique strengths. Oftentimes the one who follows the founder is labeled the unintentional interim or the sacrificial goat. That’s not Jim’s role. He is dedicated to taking the best of the past and carrying that with them into the future.
I was with Jim in Florida earlier this year where he was quizzed by some experienced and knowledgeable journalists about his position on a number of controversial topics. He never used spin or clung to talking points that evaded the question. He was straightforward, articulate and genuinely engaging. He took his positions and defended them but did so in such a way that created respect and, frankly, a little disbelief. I admire that.
I am pleased Jim is with us tonight and that he will be here with his wife, Jean, for the entire week-end. Get to know them.