At the Orange Conference in April, we re-confirmed an important truth that we already knew—we have some amazing MarriedPeople partner churches. These marriage champions are taking the MarriedPeople resources and doing things that are above and beyond anything we dreamed about.

We want you to meet them. So once a month, we’ll spotlight a different church that is impacting not only the marriages in their church, but in their community. We want you to meet people from churches of all sizes, large and small, in various types of communities, whether urban, rural or suburban, with budgets big and small and volunteers plenty or scarce. Regardless of how different these churches may be from yours, we think you’ll find some relevancy to where you are.

We gave them a list of questions to find out more about their church, their team and their ministry. This month, we would like to introduce you to Jodi Knappen at Lenexa Baptist Church in Kansas.

Church: Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, KS 
MarriedPeople champion: Jodi Knappen

Size of church: over 5,000 members
Approximate number of married couples: Approximately 75% of church membership

Describe the area you are in: Our main campus location is in the suburbs. We have 4 other locations across the city.

Tell Us About . . . You and Your Team

I am part-time.  I support one of our full-time Family Pastors.

How did you get involved in marriage ministry? It is part of my job—which I love! There is such a need to assist, equip and come alongside married couples of the church

How many people are on your marriage ministry team (including you)? Two, although I have several volunteers that assist with special events.

How did you recruit your team? I think about those who share the same heart for this ministry and seek them out to serve.

What are the demographics of the couples in your church?
We are about even in all of the following categories:
• young marrieds
• retirees
• parents with kids
• couples without kids

Tell Us About . . . How You Use the MarriedPeople Resources and Strategy

What resources do you use from MarriedPeople? We use the Strategy Pack, Larger Group Experiences, Small Group Resources, Date Nights and the monthly MarriedPeople E-ZINEs.

How do you use them? In what settings? Events, Sunday school, small groups, date nights

How do you communicate with your couples? Bulletin, emails and our church website

Does your marriage ministry have a social media presence? We do, both on Facebook and Twitter. But is part of the whole church media presence.

Do you encourage/invite couples from the community to your marriage events? Yes

How do you reach couples outside your church? Social media and word of mouth. We also place info at local coffee shops, stores in area, etc.

Give us an example of how you took a MarriedPeople resource and “made it your own.”
At our last Night Out we had over 200 couples—ranging from those who have been married for 60 years to newly married of three weeks. We had a photo booth during the event which was a huge hit! Each couple got two copies and we gave the charge to each husband/wife to put it where each day you can see it to remember the evening.

What has been your biggest success so far? Large Group Married People Night Out. Core 4, Habits of a Great Marriage.  We’ve had so many couples say it was the best event they have attended. They had no idea what to expect since it was the first event like this that we have hosted. They can’t wait for the next one this Fall.  I loved that we had a wide range of ages/length of marriages and all loved it!  We made it a fun evening where they could relax, laugh, enjoy great food and prizes and free childcare! Many people invited their neighbors. We also had older parents bringing their married children to double date to the event!

What has been your biggest challenge? Getting events scheduled on an overloaded calendar.

What’s your dream to happen next? I want to establish a set calendar for future MarriedPeople events in the next 2 years at our church and do more long range planning.

Thanks Jodi and the awesome group of volunteers impacting marriages in Lenexa, Kansas!

Are you a MarriedPeople partner who would like to share with others the great things that are happening through your marriage ministry? If so, email us at info@marriedpeople.org for info on how to share your story.

Tim Walker is an editor on the MarriedPeople team, and blogger at timswords.com.

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