3 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage Ministry

3 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage Ministry

When I first got hired at my church to help married couples, I was a little overwhelmed. There are a lot smarter people than me, a lot more skilled individuals who could be occupying my office right now. The thing is, God brought me here. That means I’m responsible to do the best I can with the resources I have.

Here are the things I’ve learned that have helped me grow in my role:

1. Help Parents Become Their Kids’ Heroes

Whether it’s sending Parent Cues by email or having a hardcopy of GodTime Cards to hand out to parents as they leave on Sunday morning, I’ve bought into the idea that kids are going to spend the rest of their lives with their parents. Parents mostly want to do a good job with their kids.

They don’t need to hear “just trust God more,” they need to hear: “If you’ll take 5-10 minutes to talk through these questions with your kids, it’ll help you really connect with them.” If I’m not specific, I’m wasting my time.

2. Help Husbands & Wives Learn Communication Skills

It seems like everybody texts but nobody talks anymore. I need to give husbands and wives specific instructions on how to carry on conversations.

If physical proximity and emotional openness are the keys to intimacy, I may need to physically show them how to face each other, make good eye contact, hold hands, express themselves and ask for what they want with the right tone of voice.

3. Connect with Others Working with Married Couples

I’m not always going to have the best answers, so why not reach out to other churches, counselors, and non-profits who are focusing on the area of marriage?

Read an article or book. Call somebody. Who knows? I might be able to help them!

What are you learning so far? What’s helping you build stronger marriages?

Kenn Mann is the Next Generation Pastor at First Baptist Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

3 Most Frequent Questions We Get About Marriage Ministry

3 Most Frequent Questions We Get About Marriage Ministry

Call it helping marriages, creating a marriage strategy, or revamping an existing marriage ministry. Church leaders have questions for us about helping marriages. And the questions are coming from people in every position of the church.

In fact, MarriedPeople, the marriage division of Orange, has a running list of the different types of positions who have added helping marriages to their already full ministry plate. These positions include children’s pastors, youth pastors, Next Gen pastors, family pastors, bi-vocational pastors, senior pastors, senior pastor assistants, volunteers…the list goes on and on. While the positions and passions of these leaders vary greatly, there are a few common questions:

How is MarriedPeople Orange?

While Orange is primarily known for helping children, parents, and student ministries, we added MarriedPeople in 2010. While not every child has two parents at home and we never want to marginalize single parents, we know that marriage is relevant to everyone in our churches and communities.

That is why we say all the time: one of the best things a church can do for kids is help marriages thrive.

From parents to small group leaders to paid staff, marriage impacts the health of everything including the lives of kids and of course the life of the church.

How can our church help marriages when our staff is already so busy?

Giving a great answer to this question is one of the driving forces behind MarriedPeople. We know that 90% of churches don’t have a paid staff devoted to marriage, or a part-time staff for that matter.

That is why MarriedPeople gives church a customizable, plug and play marriage strategy and the resources to empower that strategy, plus a real life person to help churches. We truly want you to think of the MarriedPeople team as your marriage ministry staff.

Where do we start?

Step One is getting buy-in from senior leadership. Let’s start with the obvious. We need to recognize where the power for change lies—senior leadership. You can put so much effort into a ministry, but if it isn’t supported and promoted by the leader, not as many people will know about it or participate.

And then that same leader will say, ‘See? There’s no need/desire for this. Getting senior leader support will be the base you need to create a marriage strategy that last. (To continue this conversation, check out our marriage ministry crash course.)

You can do it. We can help.

For years, Home Depot’s tagline was, “You can do it. We can help.” I would really love to rip off that tagline because that is the heart of MarriedPeople. Instead, our version of that is: You empower couples. We empower you.

Here’s how we seek to empower church leaders like you:

OC18 Breakout Notes: Marriage Events Overhaul

OC18 Breakout Notes: Marriage Events Overhaul

The 10 Commandments for Hosting a Killer Marriage Event, Date Night, or Comedy Show

  1. Thou Shalt Not Trust Only Posters
    What motivates people to attend an event?
  2. Thou Shalt Not Eat
  3. Thou Shalt Not Be Boring, Outdated, Preachy, or Feminine
  4. The Emcee Shalt Be Excellent
  5. The Seating Shalt Matter
  6. The Staging Shalt Matter
  7. The Sound Shalt Matter
  8. Thou Shalt Not Go Three Hours
  9. Thou Shalt Not Include an Infidelity Recovery Story
  10. Thou Shalt Skip the Wrap-up
OC18 Breakout Notes: Combining Parenting and Marriage Ministry

OC18 Breakout Notes: Combining Parenting and Marriage Ministry

  • In America, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds. — McKinley Irvin, US Census Bureau
  • Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage. — Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, “Life Course”
  • 60% of children of divorce walk away from their faith. — The Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion
  • “Divorce statistics represent all marriages and have absolutely nothing to do with any individual marriages. Our own chances depend on our own situations especially the way we approach marriage.” — James M Henslin, Essentials of Sociology
  • Families are not statistics. Families are stories.
  • Don’t just be shocked into silence by divorce statistics, be impassioned into action.
  • The two top priorities of Millennials:
    • 1. To be a great parent
    • 2. To have a great marriage
    • Pew Research
  • Two combined forces are more powerful together than either could be alone.
  • When a church designs a simple, strategic path that strengthens marriage and family, everyone wins.
  • The power of strategy sometimes lies in the things you choose not to do.
  • Larger Group Experiences
    • 74% of those who participate in special events feel more connected with their faith community.
    • 70% believe special events allow them to meet others of their faith.
    • 69% agree that special event attendance actually strengthens their faith.
    • 56% affirm that these events help them overcome life’s difficulties.
    • 49% agree special events make evangelizing easier.
  • Marriage & Family Tools
  • MarriedPeople

     

  • Parent Cue

  • What we learned from Lighthouse Church
    • Get the leaders of marriage and parenting in the room together to lay an annual plan.
    • Spotlight your combined strategy with a combined event or month.
    • Marriage impacts all of us. We are all raising future husbands and wives.
    • Our posture is always hope—we are not focused on regret. We are focused on redemption.
  • Next steps to partner together
    • Combined team meeting
    • Determine first steps with large groups, small groups, marriage, and family tools
    • Create annual calendar
OC18 Breakout Notes: Marriage Ministry 101

OC18 Breakout Notes: Marriage Ministry 101

  • The Suffocation Model: “Culturally we are asking much of our marriages, but doing little to make it happen.” — Eli J Finkel, The All-or-Nothing Marriage
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
    • Physiological
    • Safety
    • Belonging
    • Esteem
    • Self-Actualization
  • “In marriage, we want it all—but we want it on the cheap.” — Eli J Finkel, The All-or-Nothing Marriage
  • What do we do as the local church?
    • Myth: Worship services and small groups are enough.
    • Myth: Couples will call us if they need us.
    • Myth: It’s never too late.
    • Myth: We will alienate people if we focus on marriage.
  • Bottom line: Marriage is important to everyone.
  • Why is marriage the church’s business?
    • Marriage is an illustration of Christ and the Church.
    • Kids need great models of marriage.
    • We are raising future husbands and wives.
    • Marriage is a spiritual issue.
  • But how? Teach a new, old view.
    • “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21
    • Race to the back of the line!
    • Core 4 Habits
      • Have Serious Fun
      • Love God First
      • Respect and Love
      • Practice Your Promise
    • Less content, more often
  • Larger Group Experiences
    • Worship Services
    • Retreats
    • One-Night Events
  • Larger Group Statistics
    • Special events have significant appeal to those ages 18-45 years old.
    • 49% agree special events make evangelizing easier.
    • 57% of churchless Americans would prefer a different introduction to church vs. Sunday Services.
    • 74% of those who participate in special events feel more connected with their faith community.
    • 70% believe special events allow them to meet others of their faith.
    • 69% agree special event attendance strengthens their faith.
    • 56% affirm these events help them overcome life’s difficulties.
    • 49% agree special events make evangelizing easier.
  • Small Group Experiences
    • “Community isn’t community any more, it is just a collection of homes.” — Sebastian Junger, The Quest for Tribe
    • “The biggest issue in U.S. is that we no longer need each other.”
    • “We now ask our lovers for the emotional connection and sense of belonging that my grandmother could get from a whole village.” — Dr. Sue Johnson
    • “I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.” — Romans 1:12 NCV
  • Small Group Options
    • Start One
    • Change One
  • Individual Couples
    • Cities with major league baseball teams have a 28% lower divorce rate.
    • Date Nights
    • MarriedPeople Monthly
    • MarriedPeople Podcast
    • MarriedPeople Blog

  • Healthy couples have a “love map,” they place in the brain where they store all important information about their spouse’s life. — Dr. John Gottman
  • What if we do marriage ministry right?
    • Marriage makes Christ and the Church look really good.
    • Kids have marriage models that make marriage look really good.
    • There is, perhaps, no greater relationship that God uses to make us more like him than marriage.
OC18 Breakout Notes: Volunteer-led Marriage Ministry

OC18 Breakout Notes: Volunteer-led Marriage Ministry

You can do this!

Key Questions

  • What is the main goal?  (Get one great phrase)
  • Does the ministry align with the mission of the church?
  • Will the ministry create competing systems?

Create a strategy

Core 4 Habits from Married People (marriedpeople.org)

Married People touch points throughout the year

Married People Strategy:

  • Large Group Experiences
  • Small Group Experiences
  • Individual Couple Experiences
    • Date Nights
    • MP Monthly
    • MP Podcast

Become familiar with your tools & resources

USE these & make them YOURS

They come from YOUR inbox!

Use your Social media & special email account

Married People Leaders group on FB

People Follow Passion

  • Connect with a team of people who get it to be on your team before you launch.
  • We are better together!

Volunteers

Critical Job descriptions

  • Logistics Director
  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Production Master

Calendar your Strategy

 Think Long term impact, not just an event 

Things to consider

  • Budget (Charging for events?)
  • Childcare ?
  • Work with other ministry areas for a mutual win (Children’s & Youth)

Get Church Leadership on board

  1. Make an appointment
  2. Be brief, but clear
  3. Explain the need within the church
  4. Bring your plan & share the vision
    Who, What, When, Where, & Why’s
  5. Ask for what you need. (How can the pastor best help?)
  6. Follow up and keep leadership informed!

Promote every chance you get

The Married People Strategy Pack contains everything you need: Posters, videos, post card templates, & social media posts

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