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Every year, I put a lot of time and energy into decorating our home for Christmas. Then December 26 rolls around. Christmas decor around the neighborhood quickly comes down and we move on with our lives.

Retail stores across the country have already replaced Christmas aisles with Valentines gifts, stuffed bears, and chocolates. There’s no time for a chocolate hangover from Christmas because Valentine’s chocolates are already out to help you keep your buzz.

Retail marketing experts know there will be an influx of people visiting their stores to return gifts. They ride the momentum of Christmas craziness to draw you into the rush of Valentine’s Day.

The church is close behind on following this trend. Most marriage ministries are wise to build up excitement about a marriage event for Valentine’s Day. The foolishness comes when we forget to plan for marriage ministry wins beyond Valentine’s.

So, in the midst of the crazy planning season for Valentine’s events, sermon series, and date nights. I want to give you suggestions on how to not miss out on opportunities beginning after February 14.

Celebrate

A wise man once said “sometimes it takes a party” and this is certainly true when it comes to gathering couples. Have a big Valentine’s celebration to get couples gathered around the idea of being intentional about their marriage. This gives you a critical mass to establish momentum.

Celebrations are vital to the process of having serious fun in your marriage. Celebrations are also the easiest way to gain a greater reach. Major holidays are easy times to have celebration because people budget their time, energy, and money to celebrate during these natural times of gathering.

Celebrations are the catalyst for momentum. Celebrations gather people to further point them into greater connections.

Connect

Celebrations naturally create connections because they put people together. When you get people together there are natural connections that could happen, but you can also be intentional about connecting people through the celebration.

Momentum grows faster when you’re intentional about facilitating connection.

Since Valentine’s season is primed for married couples to celebrate, we can facilitate the celebration and capitalize on the connection. The simple “in-the-moment” connections can be table discussion connections or a moment of grouping of people by demographic—marriage length, number of kids, etc.). Greater momentum happens by encouraging a connection beyond this specific celebration.

Connecting to an opportunity or practice beyond the specific event should bless marriages while also moving your marriage ministry forward. This could be giving them a take home discussion guide which ends with an invitation to a small group. Or this might look like connecting them with a monthly marriage email, like MarriedPeople monthly.

There are a variety of things to point them toward, but the goal is to give them a greater chance to connect with each other, connect with other couples, connect with your marriage ministry, and ultimately connect more deeply with Jesus.

Don’t waste another excellent opportunity to connect couples on all of these levels.

Continue

Momentum fizzles, but it can also be recreated. If we desire to see marriages continue to thrive, get saved, or recover, then we should continue to pursue an intentional plan to make those things happen through our churches.

Everything we do should point to this continual pursuit. This is a reflection of a healthy marriage, a reflection of our walk with Christ, and a reflection of a ministry that truly cares for the people. This turns into a continuum of having celebrations which lead to connections, which create opportunities for more celebrations.

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time to reach couples, and that is too easily forgotten. While culture is setting the ball on the tee for marriage ministry to knock it out of the park, we need to ensure we don’t just rely on that one time of year. Marriage is worth our time and effort year round. Let’s approach this season with foresight for the seasons to come!

What’s your church’s plan to follow-up after Valentine’s Day?

Josh Fortney is the Teaching and Next Steps Pastor at Springcreek Church in Garland, Texas.

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