2017 Vision Letter

 

Dear Friends and Whole Heart Partners,

A good story rarely moves from point A to point B. You may think that it will, or even that it should, but then point B unexpectedly becomes point C, and suddenly the story takes on new life and new meaning. In literature, we call that a “turning point.” In life, we talk about a “pivot.” In either case, things were headed one way, and now they’re headed another. Same story, but a new storyline.

This year, 2016, has been a turning point in the story of Whole Heart Ministries. After twenty-two years of ministry, we’re making a pivot into a new storyline. One that we’re praying will bring new life into our ministry for the years still ahead. We hope you will continue to be a part of our story.

We celebrated our twentieth anniversary and final Mom Heart Conference in February. It was an amazing storyline that had touched thousands of women’s lives since 1996. The conferences were still successful and growing, so it was counterintuitive for us to say, “That’s a wrap!” But we knew we had to; that it was time to make a change. We needed to pivot. We needed a new direction for a new season of our lives and ministry. Our core story is still the same, but we’re creating new storylines now.

The Evolving Story of Whole Heart

The heart of our ministry has always been simply to help Christian parents—to encourage and equip them to raise children who will serve God “with a whole heart and a willing mind” (1 Chronicles 28:9). We never want to stop helping families find their place in the grand story of God’s faithfulness to His people. That storyline will never change, but how we accomplish that vision can change.

Our ministry has pivoted several times since 1994, each time enabling us to serve more families more fruitfully. With the possibilities of a new decade ahead of us, we’re sensing again the need to pivot, to make sure we finish well with this ministry God has entrusted to us. We know we can’t do everything God has put in our hearts to do for His kingdom, but we can do whatever we do with our whole hearts. We want to invest our lives in ministry choices that will last, that will enable us to last, and that might even outlast us. We want to leave behind a story worth reading for generations to come.

Whole Heart Initiatives Tell the Whole Story

We started out purposely as Whole Heart Ministries because we knew our message would be multifaceted. We now call those six ministry facets “Initiatives.” Some are active, some are passive, but together they tell the whole story of the message of Whole Heart over two decades. It’s always been all about helping wholehearted Christian parents and strengthening Christian homes and families. Here’s how those six Initiatives define our vision for ministry as we look ahead to 2017 and beyond:

SALLYCLARKSON.COM (Christian Living): Sally’s personal blog and weekly “At Home with Sally” podcast ministry reach tens of thousands of Christian women and mothers every day with biblical encouragement and inspiration. Soon we hope to launch a subscription site with over twenty years of Sally’s audio and video messages, and exclusive access to new webinars and other online events by Sally. As a bestselling author of over a dozen books, Sally is a trusted and respected voice with two new books releasing in 2017 (Different, with Nathan; and The Lifegiving Table). She is also working on a Spanish-language page for her blog, and Spanish translations of selected books.

MOM HEART INITIATIVE (Christian Motherhood): Mom Heart Ministry is a strategic small groups movement to “restore moms’ hearts to God’s heart for motherhood.” On MomHeart.com, moms can find training, resources, media, and encouragement. Our Mom Heart Groups Facebook group has grown to nearly 2,000 women, and city and regional Facebook groups are forming where group leaders and members can encourage and help one another. We are training a national Mom Heart Ministry Team to grow this ministry in the states, as Sally travels internationally to work with mothers in the UK, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand to develop new “Mum Heart” ministries.

THE LIFEGIVING HOME PROJECT (Christian Home): Sally’s most recent book, The Lifegiving Home (co-written with Sarah), is a personal portrait of how she built and beautified her own home and influenced her children. As a ministry initiative, she will continue to provide resources and ideas to mothers on the Lifegiving Home page on SallyClarkson.com, and through her blogs and podcasts. The lifegiving home is a vision and concept for how to bring God’s life and beauty into a home.

STORYFORMED PROJECT (Christian Imagination): Sarah, now married and studying theology at Oxford, created the Storyformed.com website in 2014 from her books Read for the Heart and Caught Up in a Story. In 2017 we will be expanding and re-launching the site, with additional voices to help parents find the best soul-shaping books and literature to feed their families’ imaginations, minds, and spirits. We’re also in early planning for a Storyformed book imprint and an event.

FAMILY FAITH PROJECT (Christian Parenting): This is our Family Faith Formation initiative—how faith is grown at home. Clay will write The Lifegiving Parent for Tyndale (June 2018 release), and also create a “Parent for the Heart” faith formation online course. A new Family Faith Project website will bring together all of Whole Heart Ministries messages for 20+ years about biblical parenting. The site will also feature Clay’s books Heartfelt Discipline and Our 24 Family Ways.

WHOLEHEARTED LEARNING PROJECT (Christian Home Education): Whole Heart Ministries started beating into life with the publication in 1994 of the first edition of Clay’s now 384-page home education handbook, Educating the WholeHearted Child, which is still in print and influencing new families twenty-two years later. The web page for this initiative on WholeHeart.org will tell the story of WholeHearted Learning as a real books, real life, and discipleship-based approach to home education, and will suggest reading, resources, and new ideas for living and learning at home. At the heart of Whole Heart, since it first started beating, is our model for Christian home education.

We’ll Keep Living to the Beat of God’s Heart for Family

Christian parents are our mission field. We are missionaries to the Christian home. Sally’s books have been translated into numerous foreign languages, and our books and ministry reach families all around the world. Mothers are hungry for biblical perspective from a seasoned Titus 2 older woman. Fathers want sound, biblical insight for building a Christian home and raising godly children. Parents want the life of Christ in their family. This is the story God has entrusted to us to write and to tell.

Yes, it’s a BIG story and message, as you can see in the initiatives above that drive us and define us. However, we don’t have a big ministry organization behind us to ensure that we have the financial resources to keep bringing that story to life. Quite the opposite, it’s really just the two of us keeping it going, with some special helpers—our new Admin-Tech Assistant Josh West, our amazing children (when we have them), a few trusted freelance helpers, and a whole bunch of beloved and highly appreciated volunteer moms and dads. If it weren’t for all of them, the ministries of Whole Heart Ministries would never happen. They are the Spirit’s wind beneath our visionary ministry wings.

Let’s Write a New Storyline Together for Whole Heart!

We are, and always have been, just a small, family-run, nonprofit, Christian, faith ministry. Events and books help fund a part of the ministry, but never all of it. Since ministry rarely pays for itself, being a nonprofit “faith ministry” means simply that we have chosen to trust God to provide financially as we step out in faith to minister. God provides the means for us to provide the ministry. Selah!

As we head into our fifth decade of ministry, envisioning by faith how God might continue to use us and Whole Heart , there are two BIG faith needs that we’re trusting God to provide for right now, and in the months ahead. Would you consider if God might use you to help Whole Heart Ministries pivot into a new decade of ministry to parents and families?

FIRST, we need financial partners who will help us tell the story of God’s heart for the home and family. We need new partners who can help offset the loss of conference income that has funded our ministry for twenty years. With large, multiple hotel conferences coming to an end as of this year, we will need to trust God more than ever before for a team of partners who will share our heart for this ministry and help to keep it beating and strong through their faithful financial assistance.

SECOND, we need partners who will help us reach beyond our current ministry limitations. We want to reach the Spanish-speaking world, expand our online ministry with better websites and digital resources, create and publish new books for families through Whole Heart Press, and train mothers in other countries for ministry to moms. If we could hire additional staff to help we would, but we cannot without additional funding. We cannot move beyond our limitations without Whole Heart Partners.

Your financial gift for 2016 before the end of December would be greatly appreciated to help us move into 2017 financially healthy and amply supplied so we can write new storylines for this ministry. You can give on our online donation page on WholeHeart.org. It is safe and secure, and will give you full control over your giving. You can also send a check to the address below (Note: Your envelope must be postmarked by December 31 to receive a donation receipt for the 2016 tax year). As always, your financial contribution to Whole Heart Ministries, a 501c3 tax-exempt organization, is tax-deductible.

Thank you for your partnership! Your generous gift will help us pivot into the new storyline God is writing for this ministry, and keep us pressing on in Christ to “keep faith in the family.” You are investing in all the families we hope to help to find their place in God’s amazing story of grace and truth. Help us help them! Grace and peace to you and your family.

Wholehearted blessings in Christ,

Clay and Sally

Clay and Sally Clarkson

Books & Resources by the Clarkson Family

Educating the WholeHearted Child (Clay)

Seasons of a Mother’s Heart (Sally)

Our 24 Family Ways (Clay)

O24FW Kids Color-In Book (Clay)

Journeys of Faithfulness (Sarah)

Read for the Heart (Sarah)

Heartfelt Discipline (Clay)

The Mission of Motherhood (Sally)

The Ministry of Motherhood (Sally)

Dancing with My Father (Sally)

Your Mom Walk with God (Sally)

10 Gifts of Wisdom (Sally) 

Caught Up in a Story (Sarah)

The Wisdom Chasers (Nathan)

The Hero’s Way (Nathan)

Desperate (Sally, Sarah Mae)

You Are Loved (Sally, Angela Perritt)

Own Your Life (Sally)

Own Your Life Study Guide (Sally)

The Lifegiving Home (Sally, Sarah)

The Lifegiving Home Experience (Joel)

Different (Sally, Nathan)

A Different Kind of Hero (Joel)

Taking Motherhood to Hearts (Clay)