Gary Ezzo is the founder and Executive Director of Growing Families International (GFI)
. Gary holds a Master of Arts Degree from BIOLA University, Talbot Theological Seminary and School of Theology. He served ten years as Pastor to Family Life Ministries in Sun Valley, California. Anne Marie Ezzo is a registered nurse and co-author of Birth by Design
and On Becoming Birthwise
as well as the GFI curriculum.
Together, the Ezzos have authored a number of biblically based parenting curricula
. Their values-based approach to parenting continues to wonderfully impact millions of families in over sixty countries. Gary and Anne Marie have two adult daughters and eight grandchildren.
The Ezzos reside in South Carolina where they are under the accountability of their local church and where they continue to disciple and encourage young parents. We have found them to be full of joy, genuine and sincere, and their marriage is a beautiful example to all. For our children, as for many others, they are surrogate grandparents (complete with spoiling privileges). We have seen them open their home to families from around the world. They are generous, they have a great sense of humor, and their love for the Lord is genuine.
Growing Families International
is world-wide ministry founded over 30 years ago by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo to disciple and encourage Christian parents. What started as a one-on-one discipleship relationship with one couple who asked questions and sought the Ezzos' perspective on biblical parenting became a world-wide ministry in just a few short years. This one couple invited a few more couples to join them, and soon...
The rest of the history is best told in the Ezzos' own words, from the Introduction to the Fifth Edition of Growing Kids God's Way:
"It was the practical side of moral truth that attracted our first Growing Kids God's Way class back in 1984. Six couples gathered together every Wednesday night for six months. We talked about right and wrong, good and evil, and what it looks like in every day parenting. We had no plans of going beyond the six months or working with a second group, but those six couples bore fruit, and others began to inquire. We agreed to another class, and much to our surprise, one hundred and sixty parents signed up to meet with us. The following year another four hundred came, followed by another six hundred the next year. From community to community and state to state, the message has been spreading. Today, thousands of parents across the country and around the world attend Growing Kids God's Way classes each week."
Ministry materials have been used in all 50 states, as well as in over 60 countries. The Ezzos have never advertised the ministry, but news of it continues to spread, almost exclusively by word of mouth and by the example of families who have been impacted by the classes. Literally, the message has spread one family at a time.
Note: That first couple that the Ezzos discipled was Allen and Connie Hadidian, who subsequently co-authored the book Creative Family Times
. Though the Hadidians' children are now almost all grown (the oldest was just an infant when the Ezzos first began discipling them), they remain strongly supportive of the ministry. The Hadidians were the surprise guests at the 2004 annual GFI Leadership and Alumni Conference in Detroit, Michigan, where they introduced the Ezzos and shared how grateful they were for the gift of time that the Ezzos gave them so many years ago. They were also part of the leadership team for the 2005 National Leadership and Alumni Conference.