John Sweet, DMin
Executive Director
Dr. John Sweet has served as Executive Director of Heart of Florida Youth Ranch since 2014 and as a field consultant to orphanages and children’s ministries for Church of God World Missions. His experience working with troubled children and the caregiving parents provides a unique perspective of experience and competence for parental training and counsel. Sweet is  married to Alice, founder of Haven of Hope International. Alice’s passion for moving an orphanage from just surviving to thriving provides an amazing partnership in life and ministry. Above everything else Sweet cites his greatest joy as being a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. John and his late wife Jo Ann served as a pastor for 20 years. During that time in 1995, they developed a foster care ministry out of the church. As a result of this, Sweet has been involved in recruiting and training caregiving parents for over 25 years. In 2002, the foster care program moved to the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home in Sevierville, where he became Director in 2007. The program served as many as 200 children daily and nearly 500 a year. Well over 100 children were adopted during Sweet’s tenure. N

In 2012, Sweet accepted the position of Lead Consultant to Church of God World Missions Orphanages. He traveled extensively providing training, assessment and support for international orphanages and other ministries. He traveled to over 40 countries and visited over 70 orphanages.

In 2014, the Sweet’s came to The Heart of Florida Youth Ranch. The Ranch grew to serve record numbers of children. In 2018, Sweet became part of an awareness initiative regarding Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Florida. The need for caring for At-Risk children became staggering. The traumatic challenges in caring for these children is heartbreaking. 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 several books and articles:

  • Healing for a Hurting World: Five Steps to Behavioral Change, which serves as a training manual and resource for childcare and Christian education workers. During his tenure as director of the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home in Sevierville, Tenn., the agency achieved top ratings among similar programs based on professional performance standards.
  • “Parenting: The Peacemaking Model,” a revised edition of his Five Steps book furnishes guidance to parents of troubled children.
  • “Being Right the Right Way” a leadership guide that highlights the importance of making good decisions that should be accompanied by a right attitude in presentation.
  • “Beyond the Wall – In the land of forgiveness and release” which is the model Sweet uses when interviewing children. In addition to raising awareness and promotion for children’s ministries, Sweet provides training, program development, networking, and consultation for the institutions and agencies.
  • “Ascending to Your Dreams” – During his climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2022 Sweet journaled his preparation and climb. Sweet took his notes and published them in a blog. The work will eventually be in print. Ascending describes the journey from decision to climb to the celebration at- the summit. It is a challenge to the reader to Dream – Dream Big, prepare and then execute the plan to achieve their dreams.

Sweet brings a wide array of experience and a passion for ministry to hurting children and those who care for them. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tenn., where his graduate project focused on care ministry for the 21st century.

Sweet has served as a pastor, foster parent, law enforcement chaplain, crisis intervention specialist with children and families, and has taught courses in the sociology department of Lee University. 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; and The Global Chaplains Coalition. He serves as a senior trainer for Global Chaplains Coalition and Crisis Prevention Institute.

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