Pastors, do you know the four components that promote healthy marriages in your church?
According to Ted Lowe and Doug Fields, authors of Married People: How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last, pastors who enlist couples to oversee this vital area of ministry demonstrate the value of Christ-centered families in their congregations.
Each church- based marriage ministry should include:
- Small Groups for Married Couples
- A Few Yearly Large Events
- Regularly Scheduled Date Nights
- Couples Mentoring Couples
Small groups are ideal settings for couples to encounter other married people who also want to work on their relationship. Trust builds as the group progresses through a study on marriage, and they openly share weakness and find the needed encouragement through prayer and Scripture application.
Large Events open the door for couples to enjoy an evening or a weekend of intentional investment in their marriage. There are many ways to accomplish this, but before hosting one, be advised to offer more marriage building opportunities beyond the event. A monthly newsletter, an upcoming small group study and organized date nights are among the recommended offerings.
Your church can easily organize a monthly date night activity for your married couples. Provide some focused questions to stimulate conversation, a two- hour window of time for childcare at your church, and send them off to a location of their choice to talk over life and their future together. It’s that easy, and it really works.
Couples mentoring other couples requires more finesse, as compatibility is a necessity. But, you will be surprised to find willing couples who understand the value of talking over the issues of life with another married couple. Your mentoring couple is willing to share what they have learned and to pray with the other couple. While they do not profess to have perfected the art of marriage, they are willing to listen and keep in confidence the information entrusted to them.
I know what you’re thinking: if all this was going on in your church, you personally would engage in less counseling sessions. You’re right! It’s the same principle that Jethro provided to his son-in-law, Moses. Designate leaders to oversee this area of responsibility.
Are you ready to pray now for God’s choice of leaders in your church who will champion the sacred covenant of marriage? Ask God to reveal the couple(s). Invest in their training, and they will multiply your reach into the lives of your congregation.
Consider sending couples to The Marriage Building Event Oct. 3-4. We actually will offer training for couples who desire to be used of God in strengthening marriages.
(posted by Renee Beamer)