How does your church communicate with married couples? If you’re like most churches, you have the occasional small group study or sermon message on marriage. But the rest of your efforts are probably put towards responding to couples in crisis—trying to help couples at the brink of divorce.
But we have found that there is one simple but effective thing every church can do that impacts every couple. One of the best things your church can do to help married couples is send them regular, bite-sized tips and reminders through email.
While there is obviously more to marriage ministry than just email, it’s a great tool for all churches including those that are too busy or unsure what else to do. But why an email?
1. It’s Where People Are
Married couples are busy. Just like you, they’ve got too many things going on. They don’t need another book to read or seminar to attend. Plenty of couples love books and seminars—but those aren’t the couples that need help. The couples that need help won’t take initiative.
Where are these couples already spending most of their time? What place gets plenty of their daily attention? Their digital screens. This includes their email inbox. A mobile phone doesn’t have to be a distraction for a couple—it can be the way you sneak helpful tips into their marriage.
Thankfully, email is not restricted to certain ages or demographics. It’s simply the way that most people communicate these days. No matter what size your church is or where you’re located, email is a universal way to reach people—especially married people.
2. It’s Quick and Cheap
If you’re like other church leaders, you don’t have much time. If your church is like most churches, you’ve got a smaller budget. Thankfully, email offers a relatively speedy and very cost effective method to helping church couples.
One of the biggest benefits of email is that it’s instant. It’s not like print pieces that can take time to print, sort, and mail. It’s not like events that take weeks to organize. All you need is an hour or two per month to dedicate to schedule content and manage an email list.
There are plenty of email services out there, but MailChimp offers a 100% free service for email lists of less than 2,000. Even if you do pay, they offer a discountto nonprofits and churches. Email marketing may already be something your church already pays for.
3. It’s Trackable
One of the biggest challenges of any marriage ministry is telling whether or not it worked. Shifting from a proactive instead of a reactive strategy is much better. But it’s harder to track. It’s easier to tell how many divorces you’re preventing the closer the couples are to divorce.
Email platforms provide you with data that can begin to tell the story of marriages you’re impacting. You can measure the size of your email list and numbers of people opening and clicking on your emails. It gives you an idea of what works, and what doesn’t.
Email is the best place for your church to start impacting marriages, but it’s not the end. If your church is committed to marriage and think you can pull this off, here are some action steps to begin.
Create an account. If your church doesn’t already have one, sign up for an email platform. There are plenty of options out there, but MailChimp is always a good option.
Start collecting emails. Hopefully your church has a membership database that you can import into your new email platform. But you can also grow your list by asking people to sign up through your website or social media.
Find content to send. People are busy, so don’t clutter their inbox with meaningless messages. Send them stuff that provides value. Don’t know what that looks like? Then you really need to check out MarriedPeople Monthly.
What’s MarriedPeople Monthly?
Because email is such a powerful way to engage married couples, our friends at MarriedPeople have created a customizable email that your church can send to couples every month. It’s chock full of practical things couples can do together, including blog posts, fun videos, and discussion questions.
You get all of the content each month as well as instructions on how to implement and customize to your audience. We really think is a resource you and the couples of your church are going to love.
These days, most churches have websites—some of them are even good. Plenty of churches also operate a marriage ministry. There is an overlap between those two categories that have web pages dedicated to their marriage ministry.
But what does a good marriage ministry web page look like? Who are the churches that are doing a good job of representing their ministry well online? We did some searching for churches who meet these rigorous standards and found 10 examples that we can all learn from.
1. Seacoast Church
A multi-campus church located in South Carolina, Seacoast provides a few different resources for married couples. Their marriage ministry page lists links to join small groups, participate in the re-engage program, or go on a date night.
Their website has a very clean, user-friendly feel. It’s easy to navigate and understand how to take a next step. The marriage page is also easy to locate from the website’s main menu.
The Chicago Tabernacle’s website is a reflection of the church’s modern and trendy flare. The marriage ministry page includes an overview of their mission, what the ministry is about, and an introduction to the ministry leaders.
The page is full of vibrant colors and images. Although there is quite a bit of content, it’s made easy to navigate because of the menu in the top section. There’s also a section on recommended resources, with links to some great marriage books.
One of the largest megachurches in the country, NewSpring boasts a beautifully designed church website. Their marriage ministry page is no exception. It has eye-catching images and a mobile responsive framework.
Essentially, this page is primarily a collection of articles relating to marriage and couples. There are several hundred posts that couples can scroll through to read. There is also a ‘Talk To Someone’ button at the top of the page to get in touch with the church staff.
Located just outside of Nashville, Tenn, Otter Creek Church provides another great example of a marriage ministry webpage. It’s simpler than some of the other examples because it’s primarily text based, but it’s still helpful.
Otter Creek actually has a series of pages for their marriage ministry—with separate pages for resources, enrichment, mentoring, and divorce recovery. Each one provides an overview of how they can help and how members can get involved.
Eastview Christian Church is located in Normal, Ill., a suburb of Bloomington. Eastview uses MarriedPeople for their marriage ministry, and has links to date nights, upcoming events, and signing up for MP Monthly emails.
A brilliant feature of the Eastview marriage ministry webpage is the video from the ministry leader at the top of the page. This adds a personal touch while giving a good overview of the program.
A campus of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Buckhead Church leads couples through several stages of marriage—prepare (premarital), establish (newlywed), grow (small groups), enrich (events), and restore (crisis counseling).
That can be a lot of information to take in, but Buckhead presents it in a clean and clear way. Each section has a short description, visually appealing logo, and a button to take the next step.
Christ Church United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tenn, is another church using the MarriedPeople strategy for their ministry. And their page does an outstanding job of how that impacts real couples at their church.
The page includes several testimonials of their events from both the husband and wife perspective. They also have a highlight video of a recent event. All of this help couples understand what to expect from one of these events.
A church in Fairfield, Conn., Black Rock Church has packed a ton into their marriage ministry page. It has everything from advice on pre-marriage preparation to how to have a great date night with your spouse. Everything is clearly labeled with section headers.
Black Rock’s marriage page also includes some helpful marriage tools like messages from their pastor and a list of upcoming marriage events at the church.
Just one more example of a MarriedPeople church, The Chapel is located in Getzville, NY, outside of Buffalo. One of the first things you see on the page is information on MP Monthly, including how to sign up to get the emails.
Most of the page is taken up by frequently asked questions about marriage ministry. The Chapel’s answers to these questions gives a good idea of how couples can have a better marriage and how their church can support that.
The example from Rock Church, a multi-campus church in southern California, is a little different from the others. Instead of a page dedicated to the ministry itself, this page shows how to get involved volunteering at Rock Church.
However, other church leaders can still learn from this example, because it provides a great overview of how to structure your volunteer team and how to write job descriptions for each role. The page also has a clear way to sign up to volunteer with the ministry.
As a church leader, you’re constantly trying to find new ways to connect with the couples at your church. You’re probably using email, text messages, phone calls and smoke signals to reach these married people. But they’re busy people and these methods don’t always work.
So you’re likely also thinking about social media. More and more people get their information from Facebook and Instagram these days. You want to take advantage of this and capture their attention. But you don’t know how to start. Or you don’t have the time to figure it out.
That’s why we wanted to share some advice on the best ways to get started connecting with married couples using the latest technology.
Share Valuable Marriage Content
There’s a ton of content out there on social media. Most of it is just junk. People ignore junk. What they want is value—something that will improve their life. If you can share content with them that does that, you’ll get their attention.
So find posts to share that can actually benefit a couple’s marriage. How do you do that? Well, we think we can help. We put out a blog post every single week on a topic relevant to married couples. We also release a new podcast episode every week with the same goal. Not to mention the dozens of cool videos we have for you to share on our YouTube channel.
We do all of this to provide you with something valuable to share with married couple. Posting links and videos to social media or just sharing our social media posts can be a huge benefit to couples.
Listen to Them
It’s easy to talk on social media. All you need is an open Wifi connection and working thumbs. Listening on social media is much harder. That takes time and patience. Because it means searching out relevant conversations online.
Talking on social media isn’t a bad thing—even better when you’re talking about something valuable, as mentioned above. But you can’t just talk. Your church needs to balance this out with a healthy dose of listening to married couples.
Listening to people online while also respecting their privacy can be tricky. One way to do this with healthy barriers is inviting them into a conversation. Post questions asking how you can help their marriage or how you can pray for them.
Hopefully these questions invite couples into a conversation that shows how much you care about their marriage and family. Asking questions opens the door for you to actively listen.
Provide Them With Community
We all crave community. It’s woven into our DNA as people. We want authentic relationships. And that’s one of the reasons why social media is such a big deal in our culture. It’s just another place that people find community.
Your church can win online by building a community online. It’s not easy to cultivate and manage great communities using social media, but it’s worth trying. Take what you’re doing to reach people physically at your church and carry that out in a digital way.
A practical way to do this is start a Facebook group for married couples at your church. Facebook groups are exploding in popularity and you can jump on the bandwagon. If you don’t want to do this yourself, we’ve done the hard work for you and created a marriage Facebook group that any couple can join. Invite married people at your church to join our growing community online.
How do you reach married couples using social media at your church?
We are thrilled to introduce a new online shopping experience for our church partners.
Previously, our partners purchased resources and downloaded content on two separate websites with two separate accounts. Now, we’re rolling those two separate platforms into one place. We hope this will make for a much better user experience.
To help you navigate the new store, we’ve included a series of screenshots of the store below. Your Orange Specialist is also on hand to answer and questions you might have.
View and purchase all of the resources from MarriedPeople, as well as the rest of Orange.
Login to the store using the same username and password as our previous system. No need to create a new login.
The Strategy Pack
You can now purchase or renew the annual Strategy Pack straight from the store. This is also where you will download all of the Strategy Pack files, too.
One year’s worth of MarriedPeople Monthly access is available as a separate product in the store. For MP Monthly subscribers and all Strategy Pack partners, access to Monthly is provided in their My Downloads section, and the content will be updated monthly as each new issue is available.
Find all of the Strategy Pack resources you’ve purchased in the My Downloads tab and download the files directly.
You can select to download files and folders individually or download them all at once. You’ll see video files listed separately (because of their size), or other files grouped by event or purpose (like marketing or Larger Group Experiences).
For MarriedPeople Monthly, you’ll be able to download each month’s worth of resources separately. You’ll have access to these files starting with your purchase of the Strategy Pack. Access to the MP Monthly content will be open for 12 months, with new files be loaded in the previous month for the next month’s content. After one year, your subscription to MP Monthly will need to be renewed by either purchasing it individually or as part of a new Strategy Pack.
You may already be aware that MarriedPeople has a private Facebook group for church leaders who work in marriage ministry. You may even be one of the more than 1,400 members in the group. But just in case you didn’t know about the group, or aren’t already a member, here’s a few reasons why you should consider joining.
1. Live Webinars
Back in 2017, we started hosting free webinars on Facebook Live within the group. The first one went so well that we decided to make it a regular thing.
But you’ve got to be a member of the group in if you want to watch the webinars live. Interested? You can watch that first webinar below.
2. Ask Questions
If you’re new to marriage ministry, you probably have questions. Even if you’ve been in the game for several years, you’ve probably still got questions.
The Facebook group is the perfect place to ask these questions. The MarriedPeople team checks the group on a regular basis and when lend a hand where we can.
Even better, these questions are also seen and answered by other church leaders who also have a great perspective on what works, and what doesn’t.
3. Discounts on Products
We frequently offer discounts on our resources, including our annual partnership. Leaders in the Facebook group are usually the first to hear about these great deals. Not to mention, we also share sneak peaks of future resources and share news about our parent organization, Orange.
By joining the Facebook group, you become a MarriedPeople insider. It’s the best place to hear about everything that’s going on and get the latest resources first.
4. Network with Your Peers
Probably the best aspect of the group is the opportunity to meet and talk to other church leaders who are in the same situation as you. The group has got leaders from different-sized churches, from across the United States and world.
They’re all a part of the group for the same reason—to improve marriages. We want to share the best ideas to make that happen. We want to encourage one another to keep going. We want to help each other win.
If you’re looking for any one of those four things, you should probably join the group. It’s private, so you’ve got to request to join, but we promise we’ll let you in. (We keep it private to keep out unwanted spammers).
If you’re already in the group, comment below with your favorite part of being a member! And feel free to invite any other church leader friends to join, too. We want to keep growing the group to make it even better.
You probably see it every week. Leaders who undercut their influence by something they’ve posted online. Sometimes they blow it completely through one or two dumb moves. Sometimes you end up thinking I’m not really sure I want to follow them anymore. But you’re not exactly sure why.
Loss of influence can be subtle, but its real. And its so easy to do, if you’re not careful. Because of constant exposure, social media makes influence easier to gain and that much easier to lose.
Almost every ministry leader is on social media today. So is almost everyone they lead. The opportunity to squander your influence is that much higher. Often, we do it without even realizing it. How do leaders undercut their influence on social media? Here are six subtle ways I’ve seen it happen.
1. Portraying a life everyone suspects isn’t real
It’s so tempting to portray a perfectly manicured life. But everyone knows your marriage isnt perfect and that your kids arent really as magnificently brilliant or wonderfully behaved as you let them on to be.
Bragging has become an online staple for many. Whether its kids awesome report cards, your house that can almost look like glossy mag/Pinterest/cable TV, or the selfie you and your spouse took on your date night.
But dig a little deeper and youd discover:
You tweeted the two A’s, on the report card, but not the C’s.
The house only really looks showcase when you hold the camera at just the right angle just before sunset and as long as the dog doesn’t photobomb the shot.
The selfie was taken a half hour after the fight ended.
We’ve all been there. What’s the key to building authentic influence online? It’s being real.
You probably don’t want to disclose every high or every low, but you do want to share a slice of everyday. The truth is most of us are pretty average. And average resonates. People want to know youre real. Because if you are, they can relate to you. Oh, and God has a habit of using ordinary people.
2. Overdisclosing your struggles
So portraying a perfect life underdiscloses your struggles. But does being real mean you should overdisclose them? Not in the least.
When you overdisclose your struggles, you help nobody. When you talk about your long list of problems or whats wrong with the world, you can miss the fact that youre not in a conversation with anyone on those issues. You’re just pulling a dump and run.
These three rules have helped me figure out when to talk about something publicly and when not to. Just because you need to tell someone your struggling doesn’t mean you need to tell everyone youre struggling. Tell a friend, and keep your phone in your pocket.
3. Posting when you’re emotional
Nothing good happens when you’re angry. When you’re emotional, you rarely say things youre proud of later on. So please don’t tell us about it.
Sometimes you see emotional status updates. I dont know about you, but it makes me think the person just wants someone to take the bait and ask what happened or, more sadly, that the person doesn’t have anyone to talk to.
If you start throwing some store that didn’t process your return well, some leader or some other victim of your anger under the bus, it makes us wonder what you’re saying about us when we’re not the room.
If you’re angry, process it. Don’t tweet it. Go to sleep. Wake up the next morning and my guess is your anger will be gone. Your status update won’t be though. Unless of course, you never published it. Much smarter.
4. Playing politics
When ministry leaders jump into partisan politics, they lose influence. I’m Canadian, so I realize I’m likely suspect on all fronts here. But God isn’t a Democrat or a Republican. He’s God.
As a ministry leader, I’m called to lead all people. Even the people I disagree with.
When you play politics online, you squander your influence. So I don’t. We have people who vote in every direction at our church, which I think means were being the church.
5. Say something publicly instead of privately
You’ve seen those status updates:
Some people are impossible to deal with!
I wish people would just ...
I can’t believe that this person…
It’s easier to say it publicly than it is privately, isnt it? Absolutely. For all of us.
But great leadership demands that difficult conversations happen privately, not publicly. Talk to the person youre upset with, not about them. Go direct.
6. Talking only about yourself
Who is your social media about? Is it all about you? Are you talking with others? Showcasing something bigger than yourself? Celebrating others?
We are all narcissists in one form or another, but social media has given us a platform to take self-indulgence and self-absorption to a whole new level. We are in the middle of the rise of the selfie-generation. With it comes a curse: a life devoted to self ultimately leaves us alone.
If you want to leverage influence well, spotlight others, even the people you lead.
A lot of us admire Donald Miller, but one of the things that makes his work so great is that he so often showcases others. He even redesigned his blog to feature many writers. I love that. Don’t make it all about you. Your influence will grow.
How about you? What do you see that undercuts influence?