What a Strong Marriage Ministry Should Look Like

What a Strong Marriage Ministry Should Look Like

I thought I’d write a different kind of post. I’d like to sketch out what I think a church with a strong marriage ministry would look like, and then I’d invite you to share your thoughts, in the hope that this could be a resource page or a springboard for discussion for churches that want to be more intentional about supporting the marriages.

A Strong Marriage Ministry Leverages Marriage Mentors

Pastors should not be the main focus of a marriage ministry. A pastor may not be gifted at counseling, which is OK. After all, Pastors were hired to primarily lead and preach. There are limited pastors at each church. They can’t do all the work.

A strong marriage ministry involves couples from the congregation. If a church is going to support marriages, it needs to find a way to forge relationships where couples can talk about important issues. I believe is the best vehicle for this is mentorship.

  • A mentor couple should be a couple whose marriage is strong and has been married at least ten years.
  • Marriage mentors are often better equipped for pre-marital counseling than pastors, who may not have the time. It’s often better to talk to a couple than just a pastor.
  • Mentors should be trained on how to ask questions that encourage discussion. Most breakthroughs come because the couple is able to talk through issues.
  • Mentors are not counsellors. The role of a mentor is not to help couples solve problems but instead to raise important issues for discussion and to guide conversations and prayers. If counseling is necessary, the couple should then be referred elsewhere.
  • Mentors do not need to have all the answers; they need to be equipped to ask the right questions.
  • The church should set up a system where it’s easy to get a mentor couple if you need one.

Choose Marriage Mentors Based on Relationships, Not Past

We have a tendency to promote leadership that looks one way—Christians their whole life; always chose well; never rebelled; still married to their first spouse.

However, the strongest marriages are not necessarily those that fit the “ideal” Christian mold. If congregation members are to relate to marriage mentors, then there should be some diversity in faith journeys among the mentors. While all should have solid marriages now, it’s OK if some people were not born in the church, and became Christians after a difficult faith journey.

It’s even best if some marriage mentors are blended families. Let’s have the marriage mentors resemble the congregation, rather than assuming that those who “look” the most Christian automatically have the strongest marriages.

A Strong Marriage Ministry Flows From an Authenticity Culture

The culture of a church is passed on, top down. At the church my daughters attend, the senior pastor is very open about some of the mental health battles his family has faced, so the church family can pray for them.

At the last song of the service, those who need extra prayer are always encouraged to come up to the front, without judgment. It’s never seen as a sign of weakness. People will not open up to marriage mentors unless the church does not punish those who admit failings. If churches want to rescue marriages, then people need a safe place to admit when they have problems. If they don’t have that, no one says anything until the marriage implodes.

The more we deal with the messiness of life, the more people can admit problems when things do get messy. If no one can dare admit an issue without appearing strange, then no amount of marriage programs will accomplish much.

Leaders Must Have Strong Marriages Themselves

It’s a biblical principle that one shouldn’t serve on church leadership unless one has strong family relationships at home. If the church wants to send a message that marriage is important, then, it must choose leaders that have good marriages. Even if those couples do not directly take part in marriage mentorship, the leadership of the church must still model good marriages.

  • Leader couples should always speak well of each other
  • The couples should have no whisperings of impropriety
  • The couple should support one another in their giftings, rather than the wife seen as simply an appendage or servant of her husband.
  • There must be a “team” feel to every ministry couple.

The latter point is especially important. In churches where women are seen more as servants of their husbands, the divorce rate is far higher than in churches where marriage is seen as more teamwork. Researchers have concluded that this is because women don’t feel entitled to speak up about marriage problems when they first occur, because they believe that to identify issues would be seen as unsubmissive. After years of dysfunctional behaviour, the wives often throw in the towel.

If leaders demonstrate grace and care for one another in a team framework, then church members are more likely to feel free to raise issues when they crop up, rather than letting them fester.

A Church That Supports Marriage Does Not Overburden Those Who are Married

Frankly, those who are involved in church as leaders are often burned out with no time for their families. If the leaders don’t have strong marriages, then they can’t support other people’s marriages. Too many ministries in churches require too much of people in their 30s and 40s.

A church that values marriage will:

  • Ensure that no one is expected to be at church activities more than one night a week
  • Examine their ministries to make sure that they aren’t “make work” or “make busy” events. Choose only events that feed the community and that reach those outside the church. Lower the scope and expectations of some of those events
  • Encourage those in their 50s and 60s to do more of the child care, Sunday school, and nursery ministry to give parents a break
  • Host more adult mixer activities, like board game nights or movie nights, rather than always dividing by gender so that couples can do more things together

A Strong Marriage Ministry Supports Couples

Sometimes churches shy away from offering couples’ events because we don’t want single people to feel left out. Yet marriage is the bedrock of families and the community. It is not taking away from single people to sometimes offer something for couples.

A Strong Marriage Ministry Addresses the Tough Topics

What is it that tends to rip apart marriages? Money and sex. Yet few churches address either very well from the pulpit.

Before we blame pastors for this, let me say that I don’t think much of this should be addressed from the pulpit. There are children and teens in church; single people; divorced people.

While sex can be addressed in general ways, you can’t get nitty gritty on a Sunday morning. There is a time and place, and that is neither the time, nor the place, for anything that explicit.

With the money issue, too, what people really need is practical help on managing debt and using credit cards. Those sorts of things aren’t handled well from the pulpit, either. You need a workshop. What I would suggest is that the church go out of its way to make resources available on tough topics, remembering that if the church doesn’t address them, the world will fill the void.

  • Encourage Bible study groups to do a study on a tough topic
  • Encourage membership to sites like Covenant Eyes, which allows accountability and filtering for computers, phones and tablets to help prevent porn addictions
  • Download Covenant Eyes’ book Fight Porn in Your Church, and have all leaders read it
  • Share through social media, Pinterest boards, men’s and women’s Facebook pages, or newsletter lists great articles about sex, marriage, money, and other issues
  • Host financial planning seminars and good financial management seminars. Have debt counsellors available for couples who need help

A Strong Marriage Ministry Is Focused on Wholeness, Not Marriage

Finally, a strong marriage ministry is focused on God’s heart for us—that we all be transformed into the likeness of His Son. A strong marriage ministry is not focused on making sure that all marriages stay intact.

That may seem like a loaded statement. But where I see churches err most often is that they are so scared that a marriage will fall apart that they fail to call people to wholeness.

Churches must be able to identify toxic things that will destroy a marriage—porn use, addictions, emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. When these issues pop up, the emphasis must be on healing these issues, not healing the marriage. True relational healing can only happen once the underlying toxic things have been properly dealt with. But we’re often too scared to deal with toxic issues because they’re so huge and they threaten the marriage. Instead we try to paper over them.

Churches must be better at supporting those in difficult marriages and calling sinners to repentance. Not every marriage problem is a communication problem. Yet we often treat them as such—telling people to learn each other’s love language or to learn to talk more. Some problems are caused by a huge sin, and those problems are often one-sided. Not every marriage issue has two parties at blame.

Until churches can start calling a spade a spade and calling people to something more, while supporting the hurting spouse, no marriage ministry will ever be effective because you will be undermining the authenticity of your witness.

How Strong is Your Marriage Ministry?

If you’re talking about this article as a leadership community, here are some questions to ask. Rate each question on a scale of 1-5, which will give your church a score out of 75. This may provide some insight on where your efforts should first focus as you grow a strong marriage ministry.

  1. Does our church have “marriage mentors”?
  2. Do the couples that we believe have strong marriages all fit that “ideal Christian” mold? Could we be missing some strong marriages because we have preconceived notions of what a strong marriage will look like?
  3. Is the weight of marriage ministry resting primarily on our pastor?
  4. Do those struggling with pornography in our church have an obvious, well-advertised place to get help?
  5. If a couple needed marriage help, or a person wanted an accountability partner, is there an easy way to access that help?
  6. Looking at our church leadership, including the board(s), paid staff, and ministry coordinators, how overburdened are they? How are their marriages?
  7. Is teamwork a hallmark of the marriages among our church leadership?
  8. Do leaders in our church regularly speak well of their spouses and encourage their spouses’ spiritual giftings?
  9. Looking at those aged 25-45 in our church, how much of the practical, hands on responsibility for ministries falls on their shoulders? How much falls on those aged 45-65? Is this a healthy balance?
  10. Do we have a culture where people can safely admit that they are struggling without judgment?
  11. Does our church handle sex in a healthy way? Do our small groups, couples’ ministries, or single-sex study groups feel comfortable talking about it?
  12. If couples are having major debt issues, do they know where to go for help?
  13. Have we had low-cost, affordable marriage events (either couple events or single-sex teaching events) at our church in the last year?
  14. Do we have a network of trained Christian counsellors to whom we can refer couples in trouble?
  15. Do we regularly refer couples who are dealing with toxic issues, rather than trying to deal with issues of that magnitude when we may not be trained for it?

What works at your church with marriage ministry? What doesn’t? Let’s help each other!

For a downloadable guide of these criteria, along with an assessment tool to see how your church ranks on marriage ministry, head over to Sheila’s original post.

Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 25 years and happily married for 20! She loves traveling around North America with her hubby in their RV, giving her signature “Girl Talk” about sex and marriage. She’s written eight books about sex and marriage.

6 Things Marriage Teaches You About Leadership

6 Things Marriage Teaches You About Leadership

I once spent a day with a group of ministry friends and mentors. All of whom have been leading their organizations for a long time. We had a heartfelt conversation about the challenges of leading in the same organization for most of our adult lives.

As I processed our day together, I realized there are common denominators between leadership and marriage. Most of us try to make our relationships work out, both personally and organizationally. And it’s not easy.

As you read this, know this post comes out of my experience. I realize many marriages don’’t make it. I realize that I will have a hard time understanding those dynamics. I’’ve been married to my wife Toni for 23 years. We have not always had an easy marriage, but we are both so thankful that we decided to work through the issues.

Similarly, I’’ve been in leadership with many of the same people for 18 years in the same community. It hasn’’t always been easy. But we’’ve seen some incredible things together. While these reflections come out of my personal experience, I offer them in the hopes that they help us all filter through the challenges of life and leadership.

1. There is no such thing as casual leadership

As much as we live in a culture where casual sex has become normal for many people, it doesn’’t produce strong or healthy relationships. Similarly, there is nothing casual about leadership.

Like a healthy relationship, it takes work, effort and commitment over the long haul. As much as we try to make things easier and easier in our culture, leadership will remain challenging by its very nature. Just like great relationships—it will always take work, effort and commitment.

2. You need to choose between serial commitment and long-term commitment

Someone once told me that commitment in our culture has shifted from life-time monogamy to serial monogamy; you’’re with someone exclusively for a few years until you move on.

Take a look around you. Many leaders approach leadership the same way. They’’re with an organization for 3-5 years, and then they move on.

I’’m not saying that’’s always a bad idea. But most of the people who make significant impact in an organization stay at least a decade. If you think about most ministry leaders you admire and who have transformed their organizations and communities, most have been there their entire lives.

3. It’’s easier to leave than it is to work through your issues

This is the gut wrenching part. Every leader I know who has been in leadership for a long time has been tempted to leave, tempted to pursue other interest and hit cruise control…. In other words, been tempted to have an affair on what might be their real calling.

Very few couples who make it over the long haul do so because they have “no issues”. They stay when it’s easier to leave.

4. There will be some joyless seasons

It’’s not all dancing and singing all the time. Every leader I know who is in long term leadership has either had to scale significant organization issues or even personal crises. God uses dark nights of the soul to grow us and shape us.

But here’’s the promise. If you’re being faithful, your emotions eventually catch up to your obedience.

5. Wise people realize that they are the problem

Many relationships fail because one partner says the other partner is the problem. I lived like that in my marriage and in my leadership for a season until I realized that I’’m the problem. In fact, the longer you stay in a relationship or leadership, the more you will have to come to terms with the grinding truth that you are the cap on progress.

That’’s why serial relationships and serial leadership is so wide-spread. Leave soon enough and you never have to look in the mirror. It’s always someone else’s fault.

Wise people understand that embrace that they are the problem. I tell myself almost daily that I am the problem in leadership where I serve, and that potentially God might work a solution through me.

Wise people also seek help in identifying their blind spots and problems by gather mentors, counselors and friends around them to help them spot their issues. They are also wide open to hearing about problems from the people they work with.

6. There is certain joy that only happens after years of being together

When you are able to work through your issues in a marriage, everything gets better. There’s a certain joy that comes in being with the same person for 23 years. We know things about each other that no one else can know. We can read each other better than anyone else can read us. The deep pleasure in simply being together grows every year. There’s an intimacy that only time can deliver that is almost hard to put into words.

That’s one of the things I love about working with some of the same people for years and years. There are stories whose mere mention brings a smile to everyone’’s face. The trust runs deep. And there’’s a joy in knowing you’v’e been in this together for so long and it’’s making a difference.

So what’s your experience? Do you see parallels between love, marriage and leadership? What are you learning?

Reposted with permission. Originally posted here.

How I Discovered My Sweet Spot in Leadership

How I Discovered My Sweet Spot in Leadership

My ninth year as Director of Premarital Ministry was my best year ever. Our ministry grew like crazy. We were having a impact in both our church and in the community.

Then came my tenth year in ministry.

Our leadership team gave me the opportunity to increase my leadership capacity. The downside would be leaving the job I loved in the marriage ministry. After much prayer and consideration, I accepted the offer.

Seven months after taking on the new role, I moved back to marriage ministry. Outside looking in, it might have appeared as though I failed. But these job transitions have been among the best things that have ever happened to me. In the process, I learned a few things about myself:

1. I’m a better soldier than a general

In other words, I am better at executing a plan than directing and crafting the plan. Give me a direction and I’’ll execute the heck out of it, but I’m more wired for others to direct the course. In my moments of insecurity, I somehow believe the general is more valuable in God’’s eyes than the soldier.

While the world and the church may more highly esteem the general, God values each one. He loves us all the same and doesn’’t value one ministry role more than the other. Looking for evidence? See the cross. Romans 5:8 says: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” There is no distinction: equal need for a Savior, equal recipients of His love.

2. I learned how I’m wired

I like going deep in one area of ministry (marriage) rather than going wide and less deep. Rather than leading a large slice of the pie, I do better with one narrow (yet highly significant) sliver of the pie.

I’’d rather lead one area up close than many areas from a distance. No one grows up wanting to be a marriage pastor, but I am so thankful this is the area I get to serve and use my gifts.

3. I gained a better respect for those different than me

I learned to respect the skill set required for senior pastors, campus pastors, or ministry directors who lead multiple, large teams. I relearned that God gives different gifts to different people for different purposes, but all for His glory and for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).

I was reminded that God chooses for some to be an ear, some to be a foot, and some to be the colon. All are necessary for the body to function in the way He desires and designs.

4. I learned this all could change in the future

I wouldn’’t be surprised if at some point down the road, I move to another role, either as a campus pastor or maybe even another job at another church. I sure hope not, but it wouldn’’t surprise me.

I hope I’’m not the same person in five years that I am right now. I pray God will continue to grow and sanctify me in whatever way He wishes.

Ask Yourself These Questions

Shifting gears to you: How are you wired? What are your gifts? Are you in your sweet spot in leadership? Ask yourself some honest questions:

  • Do you think some gifts are more valuable than others?
  • Do you covet a role higher in the org chart?
  • If so, is it for the right reasons (because it fits your gifts and skills) or for the wrong reasons (more money, more power, more worldly esteem)?
  • Are you being faithful where you are right now or are you waiting for the next opportunity to come your way?

Ask others you work with if they think you’re in the right spot. Ask your boss for his or her thoughts on your ministry sweet spot. Ask how you can grow, and when they respond, be teachable, humble and don’t be defensive. If you’’re married, ask your spouse the same questions you asked your boss. Again, don’’t be defensive!

In retrospect, I don’’t think I should have changed roles. I don’’t like change, and the last year has been a year with a fair amount of transition. But, I have learned much in the process and I have gained a much greater perspective on how the Lord has fearfully and wonderfully made and designed me.

Reposted with permission. Read the original blog post here.

7 Paradigm Shifts Happening in Marriage Ministry

7 Paradigm Shifts Happening in Marriage Ministry

I’ve been working in marriage ministry for a few years now. Actually, it’s over fifteen. And I’ve been married for over twenty years. In that time, I’ve learned a few things about how churches can help couples improve their marriage.

Studies show that people think of marriage ministry as preachy, boringoutdated, and overly feminine.

We’ve lost our relevance in people’s lives. But thankfully, there are some shifts happening in some ministries that are changing how they approach marriage ministry.

3 Approaches that Fall Short

Before we get into the ways to improve how your church approaches marriage, let’s take a quick look at the trends that do not work.

  1. The Hands Off Approach: Many churches do little to help marriages because of the pace of ministry or because they don’t feel a need.
  2. The Topical Approach: Some churches view marriage as a topic to be covered, so they address it through various “one-offs”—a sermon series, a study, an event or a book. They treat marriage ministry like a task on a to-do list.
  3. The Reactionary Approach: Other churches spend time and resources on marriage, but they focus solely on couples in crisis—in essence, waiting until marriages are in trouble before offering help, rather than taking a proactive approach that could help couples avoid crises in the first place.

A Proactive, Strategic Approach

A proactive approach—a strategy—is more effective than a topical or reactionary approach. Changing from one of these historical marriage ministry approaches to a proactive approach requires some paradigm shifts.

  1. From an intervention to prevention
: Intervention is emotional and the results are measurable. Prevention is neither—but is far superior.
  2. From children’s ministry to family ministry: We know that better marriages make for better families. One of the best things you can do for your kids is leave.
  3. From isolation to relationship
: Technology makes people feel more isolated than ever before. A strategy ministry places a priority on building community and authentic relationships. Not just between couples, but with others that we can learn and grow from.
  4. From information to experience
: As a society, we’re suffering from information overload. As a result, people value experience more than another content dump. That’s why it’s important to give people less content, more often.
  5. From feminine to both feminine and masculine: Too many marriage ministries are geared almost exclusively at women. They’re overly harsh on men, who stop listening as a result. We can improve more marriages if we appeal to both men and women.
  6. From general to focused: Sharing an overly general message doesn’t resonate with people. Getting specific with examples and practical applications makes a message relevant to couples. They want to hear authentic stories they can understand and use in their marriage.
  7. From programs to process: Marriage retreats are great—but they give couples a year’s worth of resources in a weekend. That’s a lot to process and they often forget what they learned after a week. Why not give them bite-sized pieces of advice spread out through an entire year? Help them process and progress gradually.

I actually did a webinar about this very topic on our Facebook Leader’s group. You can watch the whole thing here and join the group to watch future webinars live.

How Our Strategy is Proactive

Because marriage is a process, the MarriedPeople strategy is designed to encourage and empower couples on a consistent basis—no matter where they are in their marriages.

This shift is what makes MarriedPeople a proactive approach, not a topical or reactionary one. Our strategy leverages three environments to reach couples:

  • Individual Couple Experiences: date nights and monthly emails to help couples connect
  • Small Group Experiences: community, accountability, and faith building
  • Larger Group Experiences: vision casting, outreach, and inspiration

What Now?

Escape from Content Mountain

Escape from Content Mountain

How would you explain how to walk to someone?
 This is how Wikipedia describes walking.

“Walking (also known as ambulation) is accomplished with a strategy called the double pendulum. During forward motion, the leg that leaves the ground swings forward from the hip. This sweep is the first pendulum. Then the leg strikes the ground with the heel and rolls through to the toe in a motion described as an inverted pendulum. The motion of the two legs is coordinated so that one foot or the other is always in contact with the ground.”

Talk about over complicating a seemingly simple process. How about just “put one foot in front of the other?”

Overcomplicating Marriage Ministry

It’s not unusual for those of us in marriage ministry to sound like this. Sometimes it’s necessary to over explain—but usually not. Most marriages just need simplicity.

That’s why I always encouraged church leaders to be consistent, encouraging, and simple.

Encourage married couples to take one step, take that one step often, and to know that you’re cheering them on as they do. Simple as that.

Teach Less For More

Through the years, I’ve learned that if you teach people less, they will actually learn more.

This principle may seem counter-intuitive. It’s a principle that’s rarely applied, especially within ministry to married couples.

Many church leaders believe if we give people enough information, something is certain to work. But heaping more content on stressed couples can become the tipping point between “energized and encouraged” and “giving up.”

Churches schedule a weekend marriage retreat that requires thirsty couples to drink from a fire hose, or tired couples to hike to the highest mountain. Or they plan a five-week sermon series on marriage, giving couples enough content to last them for several years until they do a series again.

These well-intentioned church leaders offer couples everything they know about marriage all at once. Even if it’s great content, it’s too much to digest in one sitting.

When it comes to helping marriages, the church is content heavy and application light. What’s the solution to this dilemma? Teach less for more.

Give Couples Less Content More Often

Instead of covering a lot of ground at a retreat or through a sermon series, narrow your focus to only the most important topics and talk about them more often.

Whatever marriage-supportive experiences your church offers, give people the opportunity to take “just one step” weekly, biweekly, or monthly.

If you can’t do anything else, give couples a step-by-step date opportunity once a quarter and send them the MarriedPeople Monthly email resource. These simple, bite-size resources help couples succeed in practical ways.

Move from General to Focused

While there are many effective marriage principles and practices, giving couples a single, clear, focused message is powerful. Reduce the total number of topics you could cover to just a few essentials that you will cover.

The MarriedPeople strategy uses a clear, consistent terminology throughout. But just as important, it condenses a multitude of principles and practices into a few key values.

We call them the Core 4 Habits.

  • Have Serious Fun
  • Love God First
  • Respect and Love
  • Practice Your Promise

Everything we do is focused around one or more of these major topics. That’s not to say there aren’t other things that could be helpful to married couples. Just that we’re trying to stay focused to prevent couples from being overwhelmed.

Provide Action Steps

Would you rather married people spend an hour reading a chapter in a marriage book or have them spend 10 minutes filling in the following blanks for each other?

  • I am impressed with how much you know about ______ .
  • Something special about you that not many people see is ______ .
  • 
One of the nicest things you’ve ever done is ______ .

If you’re like us, then you chose the later option. Because it’s a practical application of the principles we teach. Reading marriage books is great, but actually taking action is even better.

When in doubt, give couples something you know they and will do. If I could go back and do one thing differently in my first years in ministry, I would have made our content more practical.

This post is an excerpt taken from, MarriedPeople: How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last, by Ted Lowe and Doug Fields.

2018 Orange Conference Marriage Breakouts

2018 Orange Conference Marriage Breakouts

The 2018 Orange Conference is right around the corner! This year’s theme is ONE VOICE: We Can Do More Together. Sounds like a pretty good slogan for both ministry AND marriage.

As always, there will be plenty of marriage breakouts happening at the conference. We hope that you’ll join us for as many of these as possible. These are some of the best ways to learn more about our resources and how you can impact local marriages.

And be sure to stop by the MarriedPeople booth to meet us and ask any questions you might have. You’ll also be able to pick up tons of our resources from the conference store. It’s gonna be awesome.

 

MARRIED PEOPLE INTERACTIVE

  • TIME SLOT: Wednesday April 25, 9:30-10:30 am
  • SPEAKER: Ted Lowe
  • ABOUT: When it comes to marriage, every day is full of challenges and victories. And to be honest, just getting out the door Sunday morning can put most marriages to the test. That’s why you need MarriedPeople, the marriage division of Orange! Join us to explore creative planning, tips, tools, and resources to start your marriage ministry or take it to the next level.

MARRIAGE MINISTRY 201

  • TIME SLOT: Wednesday April 25, 11 am-noon
  • SPEAKER: Ted Lowe
  • ABOUT: So you already have an established marriage ministry in your church, and you’re ready to take it to the next level. But what more is there than one-night events, weekend retreats, and the occasional date night? In this breakout, you’ll discover how to leverage research, practice methods, and craft messaging that will span the millennial bridge into your church.

VOLUNTEER-LED MARRIAGE MINISTRY

  • TIME SLOT: Wednesday, April 25, 3-4:15 pm
  • SPEAKER: Todd Graham
  • ABOUT: Married people make up a big portion of your church, but that doesn’t mean your church has the resources to employ a full-time marriage pastor. However, that’s no reason the couples in your church can’t experience a thriving marriage ministry. Join us in this breakout as we unpack how to lead, recruit, train, and empower volunteers to lead the marriage ministry in your church.

MARRIEDPEOPLE 101

  • TIME SLOT: Thursday, April 26, 10:45-11:45 am
  • SPEAKER: Ted Lowe
  • ABOUT: MarriedPeople is the marriage division of Orange. It’s a foundational Orange concept that what happens at home is just as important as what happens at church. We get that with kids, but it’s also true for the married couples in your church. Because as any married couple can tell you—disconnection happens easily, connection takes intention. Your church can be strategic in helping couples connect. This breakout will walk you through some ways your church can be marriage heroes and impact couples inside your church and in your community.

HOW TO COMBINE PARENTING AND MARRIAGE MINISTRY TO REACH MILLENNIALS

  • TIME SLOT: Thursday April 26, 1:15 – 2:15 pm
  • SPEAKERS: Sherry Surratt & Ted Lowe
  • ABOUT: So your church has a thriving marriage ministry. And your family ministry is knocking it out of the park partnering with parents. But imagine the impact you could have if your teams capitalized on the crossover between these two groups. By aligning your church’s marriage and parenting strategies with one voice, you can do more to reach the next generation. Join us in this breakout as we unpack how.

DOING MINISTRY TOGETHER

  • TIME SLOT: Thursday, April 26, 3-4 pm
  • SPEAKERS: Geoff & Sherry Surratt
  • ABOUT: This breakout isn’t a how-to guide to create a model marriage; it’s more like coffee with friends who’ve been where you are going and have learned some lessons that may help you find your way. You’ll walk away with some practical tools the Surratts have discovered in 35 years of marriage and ministry together, showing how to thrive in ministry while loving your spouse and raising a family.

MARRIAGE EVENTS OVERHAUL

  • TIME SLOT: Thursday, April 26, 4:45-5:45 pm
  • SPEAKER: Ted Cunningham
  • ABOUT: Married couples are busy, and sometimes it can feel like a literal song and dance is necessary to get them to come to your church’s marriage event. After all, whatever “free” time they have is often reserved for sweatpants and Netflix. But that doesn’t mean couples aren’t interested in what you have to say. With an authentic, fun-filled night that escapes from being boring, preachy, and outdated, your church can help marriages in your church and your community.