John Sweet, DMin
Executive Director

John, with his late. wife, Jo Ann, led the Green Meadow Church of God in Alcoa, Tenn., for 20 years. In 1995, they developed a foster care ministry out of that church. Sweet has been involved in recruiting and training caregiving parents for 25 years. In 2002, the foster care program moved to the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home in Sevierville, where he became Program Director in 2007. The program served about 180 children daily and nearly 500 a year. Well over 100 children were adopted during Sweet’s tenure.

In 2012, Sweet joined Church of God World Missions as a Lead Consultant to international orphanages providing training and staff development. He has traveled to over 50 countries and provided director and staff support and training for over 70 orphanages. In 2014 Sweet became director of the Heart of Florida Youth Ranch. The program has grown. and expanded services during Sweet’s tenure. Jo Ann was heavily involved in improving the physical appearance of the cottages and social media exposure. She left a legacy of love and care on the campus that will long be felt by the children served.

With the needs and numbers of hurting children growing ever larger, the need for training and support regarding the traumatic impact of abuse and loss has become vital. Sweet is the author of the book, Healing for a Hurting World: Five Steps to Behavioral Change, which serves as a training manual and resource for trauma informed childcare and Christian education workers. During his tenure as program director of the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home in Sevierville, Tenn., the agency achieved top ratings among similar programs based on professional performance standards. A recently revised edition of his Five Steps book, titled Parenting: The Peacemaking Model, furnishes guidance to parents of troubled children. Being Right the Right Way is a booklet that notes the important link between right decisions and right attitudes. In Sweet’s latest book, Beyond the Walls – in the land of forgiveness and release, he shares a model of interviewing for children who have faced abuse and exploitation.
Sweet has been involved with training and raising awareness of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). Florida ranks 3rd in the United States with children being trafficked in this modern day tragedy.  The Heart of Florida Youth Ranch stands as a iplace of rescue and recovery for children at-risk or victims of exploitation. 
In addition to raising awareness and promotion for children’s ministries, Sweet provides training, program development, networking, and consultation for the other institutions and agencies. Sweet brings a wide array of experience and a passion for caring for hurting children and those who care for them. He received a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tenn., where his graduate project focused on care ministry for the 21st century.  He has served as a pastor, foster parent, law enforcement chaplain, crisis intervention specialist with children and families, and served as adjunct faculty for Lee University in the sociology department. He serves as a consultant and advisor to Church of God World Missions Orphanages and Haven of Hope International. Sweet is also a board member for People for Care and Learning, a humanitarian agency working primarily in Southeast Asia. 

Hope Begins Here . . .