FamilyLife’s History

In 1975, a tearful Ney Bailey shared her heart with the team. Young couples on staff were fracturing. She longed to help. Sure, Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) was helping thousands of people. But individual marriages mattered too, right?

So a tiny group of Cru staff set out to safeguard staff marriages. Their idea? Create a marriage and family ministry training couples to structure solid homes using God’s blueprint.

More than 40 years later, we’re still hard at work with that … And a few other things (see timeline below).

That single plea from one woman blossomed into today’s FamilyLife, serving all shapes and sizes of families around the world.

Millions each year enjoy:

We thank God for Ney Bailey and His mind-blowing plan to work out a few of His goals—and a bit of His heart—through FamilyLife … And we’re geared up for the next 40 years.

Our Historical Timeline


A marriage prep class is created for Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) staff to equip engaged and pre-engaged couples


Original FamilyLife pre–marriage conferences open to Cru couples and then the public.

First international FamilyLife Conferences are held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Nairobi, Kenya.


Known as Family Ministry

Gordon and Pat Wegner, moved by the FamilyLife Conference, voluntarily print conference manuals free in their basement during a crucial time of ministry growth.


“A Weekend to Remember” is first used as the tagline to describe a Family Ministry Conference

Conference expands to new cities.

Donations provide 532 scholarships for pastors and spouses to attend conferences (Scholarships are offered to this day)


Record-breaking attendance of 2,950 at FamilyLife Conference in Dallas, TX

Dennis and Barbara Rainey publish their first book, Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem

$36,000 is raised in 36 hours to produce a video version of The FamilyLife Conference


The first study in the HomeBuilders Couples Series® is published; over 15,000 copies distributed in first six months

First video conference held in Olney, IL


Dennis Rainey appears as guest on the Focus on the Family broadcast with host James Dobson, gaining worldwide exposure for Family Ministry


First Urban Family Conference hosts 400 attendees in Harlem with guest speakers Crawford and Karen Loritts

Raineys publish Staying Close, which wins Gold Medallion award, the highest Christian publishing honor


“Family to Family” launched in Barcelona, Spain, with Cru Spanish ministry directors, Victor and Cesca Miron. Partnership with Cru spreads overseas

Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem video curriculum presented to 2,000+ churches


FamilyLife Parenting Conference piloted in Dallas and Cincinnati

November 9, FamilyLife Today® radio program goes live on 22 stations.  Over the next 10 months, the program spreads to 50 stations with more than 200,000 listeners


Official name changes to FamilyLife®

The Family Manifesto is published, clarifying what the Bible says about marriage and family


Launch of Resurrection Eggs®, an interactive parenting tool to teach the meaning of Easter

The Raineys publish the best-selling devotional, Moments Together for Couples

FamilyLife Today® awarded National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)  “Radio Program Producer of the Year” award for producer Dennis Rainey

1996 goes live

FamilyLife Today® is again awarded “Radio Program Producer of the Year” from NRB


FamilyLife Today® listeners fund “Jesus Loves Me” project, providing 54,000 sets of Resurrection Eggs to urban ministries

Passport2Purity® is published to help parents teach biblical principles of sexual purity to preteen children

First I Still Do® marriage celebration arena event


The FamilyLife marriage conference, now called a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway, surpasses 1 million conference guests

The Family Room monthly e-magazine launches


Hope for Orphans® is formed to promote and equip parents in adoption and orphan care

FamilyLife moves into a new facility, debt free

FamilyLife Today® awarded NRB “Radio Program of the Year”


Largest-ever Weekend to Remember in Dallas, TX, with 3,330 guests


What God Wants for Christmas® interactive nativity for families launches


LifeReady® small-group video curriculum launches with Marriage Oneness, CollegeReady, Explore, and The LifeReady Woman.

Vida En Familia Hoy®, the Spanish version of FamilyLife Today, begins broadcasting in Quito, Ecuador. Broadcasts to 17 countries mom blog launches


First Love Like You Mean It® cruise sets sail

The Art of Marriage® video event launches nationwide in thousands of churches

Weekend to Remember translated into Mandarin and approved for sale by the Chinese government


Stepping Up® 1-day video event for men launches launches, offering a blog and evangelistic home decor line by Barbara Rainey

FamilyLife Blended® begins to  to minister intentionally to blended families


Stepping Up® ten-week small-group video series launches 


FamilyLife Today® awarded repeat NRB “Radio Program of the Year” award. Broadcast reaches an audience of approximately 9.1 million weekly

David and Meg Robbins announced as CEO successors to Dennis and Barbara Rainey, installation day December 4


FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting™ launch on May 1 in conjunction with FamilyLife’s first feature film, Like Arrows.