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Measuring the Success of Your Marriage Ministry

Measuring the Success of Your Marriage Ministry

One of the biggest challenges of marriage ministry is that it’s important, but not urgent. Things like worship and children’s ministry are both important and urgent, because Sunday is always coming. For that reason, there’s an expectation to provide these services to our congregation.

However, there isn’t the same expectation for marriage ministry. Perhaps the only pressure on a church to help marriages is imminent divorces, which is why most churches provide crisis counseling. We default to being reactionary, but a successful marriage ministry is proactive in helping couples.

So how then do you measure the success of your marriage ministry? It goes well beyond just marriages saved from divorce, because ideally they don’t get close to breaking up in the first place. How do you measure being proactive? Here are a few places to measure your success.

1. Involvement

One of the first places to look is the number of couples involved in your marriage ministry. How many couples attended your last marriage event or retreat? How many couples come to your marriage small groups or Sunday school classes?

Try to track these numbers as best you can to get a rough idea of the impact of your ministry. This could be within your church database or on a simple spreadsheet.

Realize that just because they’re showing up, doesn’t mean couples have a healthy marriage. But it’s also much harder to help them if they don’t bother coming in the first place. The more couples you’re able to reach, the more opportunities you have to impact them.

2. Feedback

To get a better understanding why couples are (or aren’t) attending your events, it’s best to gather feedback. That could mean everything from official surveys or in-person conversations. Either way, the goal is to ask your community what they think.

Before you launch your marriage ministry, think about running a short survey to ask couples what resources would be most helpful for them. That way, when you eventually do launch, you’ve got their buy-in and you’re actually providing programming that will be helpful to them.

After every marriage event, hand out a feedback card to everyone in attendance. Ask what they thought about the programming, music, speaker, etc. So that when the next event rolls around, you know what things to change to make it better.

In fact, we’ve made this easy for you! We provide a pre-designed feedback card in our Annual Bundle so all you do is print them off and hand them out.

3. Volunteers

Beyond just attending events and small groups, you’ll want to understand how many couples are investing in your marriage ministry. And the most typical way they’ll be engaged is volunteering within the ministry.

Your marriage ministry volunteers spend their time giving back because they care about your mission. They’re more willing to invite other couples. They save full-time staff from having to do all of the work. These volunteers are your champions and their value cannot be overstated.

How many volunteer couples are involved in your marriage ministry? What responsibilities do you allow them to take on? How are you recruiting more volunteers? To help you with this, we’ve included volunteer job descriptions in our Annual Bundle, too.

4. Outreach

A major reason that marriage ministry is so important for any church is the opportunity for outreach. Couples who aren’t a part of a church are more likely to attend a Saturday night marriage event than a Sunday morning worship service. Your marriage ministry provides another, less threatening way to invite people into your church.

How are you leveraging this ministry for outreach? What are you doing to let the community at-large know what you’re doing for couples? How many non-church members are showing up to your marriage events?

Considering the outreach impact of your marriage ministry is a great way way to measure success. And it’s a huge opportunity to show both the ministry’s importance and urgency to your church’s leadership team.

How do you measure success for your marriage ministry?

How to Work with Your Church’s Communications Staff

How to Work with Your Church’s Communications Staff

During one of our recent marriage ministry webinars, a church leader asked how she could better work with the communications staff at her church. She was having trouble getting marriage content added to the website and social media. Maybe this is a challenge you can relate to.

Luckily for you, I worked in communications at churches for a few years. And I still work with a few different church communication organizations. So I know how most church communicators work and think. I know how you can work with them to increase visibility of your marriage ministry.

Because believe it or not, marriage ministry and church communications have a lot in common. Mostly because they’re both under-appreciated and overlooked. Leaders in both fields are overworked and under resourced.

So what if we worked together to serve one another?

Have a Strategy

Most churches don’t have an organized strategy to reach married couples. In the same way, most don’t have much of a communications plan. These are two areas where everything seems last minute and guesswork.

This is something that frustrates church communicators. Because they can see how ineffective unplanned communications work can be. They know the data behind the church’s website, social media, and event promotions.

They try to be more strategic, but that can be difficult when every ministry is equally as disorganized and makes non-stop communications requests. You can help alleviate this burden by creating a strategy of your own. This will make both of your jobs easier.

Ask Early

Last-minute requests are one of the most irritating and challenging things about a church communicator’s job. We’ve heard all of the excuses for last-minute stuff.

  • “I know it’s Saturday, but can you just add this to the bulletin?”
  • “Would you mind promoting this event that’s happening tomorrow?”
  • “This needs to be posted to our Facebook page as soon as possible.”
  • “What do you mean you can’t design a sermon graphic in 15 minutes?”

But you can be different. Your ministry can be the exception to the last-minute request rule. Make requests from your communications person early. They may not be able to get to it right away, but they’ll appreciate the time you gave them.

When I worked in church communications, I always noticed the ministries that sent me their stuff early. And I liked working with them a lot more than those ministries that were perpetually late.

Get Organized

One of the things that makes last-minute requests so frustrating is how disorganized they are. That’s what happens when you don’t have a ministry strategy and wait until the last minute. So one of the cures to both of these is to get organized.

Don’t just make a rushed, vague communications request. Be specific with what you’re looking for. And then provide all of the files and information the church communications person needs. For example, if you’re promoting a marriage event, at least give them the date, time, location, contact person, and an image to post to the website and social media.

Even better, see if you can get a quick planning meeting with the communications team before the event. That way, you can find out what you need to get organized to send to them. They’ll take your event a lot more seriously because you took the time to get your stuff together.

Build a Relationship

No matter how many communications requests you have to make, don’t let that be your only relationship with the communications staff at your church. Don’t let the only times you talk to them be when you need something from them.

Instead, take some time to get to know them better. Learn more about them personally and everything their job entails. Take them out to lunch at least once—because nothing forms relationships quite like free food.

If you have a good relationship with the communications person at your church, it will be easier to make those requests. You’ll know when are bad times to ask for stuff. And they’ll be a lot more understanding when you do.

How can you better work with your communications staff to promote your ministry?

Customizing Date Nights for Couples

Customizing Date Nights for Couples

One of the most important resources Married People provides for churches is date nights. That’s because dating is important in every marriage. But most couples are too busy to find time to date. So they slowly grow disconnected.

But your church can help couples to date more and stay connected. Couples just need encouragement and a little push to go on dates. Your church has the relational equity to make that happen. And Married People can help.

Every year, we create Date Nights that your church can give to couples in your church and community. Many of our church partners take this content to the next level by customizing the date nights. Want to know how you can do the same?

1. Custom Packaging

The first step to customizing a date night is the packaging. Packaging makes the date look good and easy to grab and go. Here are some creative ideas that some churches have used in the past.

  • Brown paper bags
  • Gift bags
  • Chinese takeout containers
  • Popcorn bags
  • Ziplock baggies

This can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like. And you can get volunteers to help you assemble all of these bags when it comes time to share.

2. Added Goodies

Our date nights provide the instructions for everything the couples need to do for a fun date night. But your church can add a personal touch by filling the date bags with other fun stuff.

These items can be on theme with the date. Or they could just be fun, generic things any couple would enjoy. Here are some ideas for what you can add.

  • Candies—Hershey kisses are always a good bet
  • Stress balls
  • Bubbles
  • Candles
  • Massage oil
  • Popcorn bags

Obviously, budget is always an issue—but when you buy these items in bulk it shouldn’t cost you too much to make the date night special. A few hundred dollars will get you quite a bit.

3. Local Discounts

Part of every date night is going out—usually to a restaurant, a movie, or local activity. This helps couples connect in an environment away from all the stresses at home. We make suggestions, but we don’t know your community as well as you do.

That’s why providing discounts to local places can be such a huge benefit. Not only does it lower the cost barrier to dating, but it also connects your church to the local community. Here are some local places that you can contact about potential discounts.

  • Restaurants—see about getting a percent off the bill or a free appetizer
  • Movie or performance theater
  • Fun activities like putt putt golf or an escape the room
  • Art museum or city zoo
  • Upcoming events or festivals

You could also provide a list or map of local places you recommend couples check out on their dates. Coming up with fresh ideas can sometimes be a barrier that keeps couples from dating.

4. Provide Childcare

What’s the biggest thing that keeps married couples from dating? Finding a babysitter.

Your church can eliminate that excuse by providing childcare during date nights. This isn’t always easy or feasible to pull off. But it’s something great to shoot for.

If you can’t afford to hire people for childcare, consider bringing in ministry volunteers, especially some of the older students from your youth group. You can usually convince students to babysit by bribing them with free pizza.

In fact, why not try to plan a couples’ date night on the same night as an existing children’s ministry event. You’ll already have programing in place for the kids.

Want More Date Nights?

How does your church customize date nights?

How Sticky Notes Can Help Marriages

How Sticky Notes Can Help Marriages

Marriage is huge, right? Marriage is complicated, right? So something small—like a simple sticky note—shouldn’t be able to make much of a difference in a marriage, right?

Actually, we’d like to think that small things actually make a huge difference in your marriage. Even something as minor as a sticky note can really impact your relationship with your spouse. But how?

Micro-Moves

A marriage seems like a big thing, but it’s actually made up of lots of little actions built up over time. We call these action micro-moves. These are the small things you do for your spouse every day.

The sum of your micro-moves determines the overall direction of your marriage. If you do lots of good micro-moves on a regular basis—like taking out the trash, or saying something nice about your spouse’s haircut—then you’ll be steering your marriage in a positive direction.

However, you could just as easily be damaging your marriage with negative micro-moves. Small negative micro-moves—like ignoring your spouse when they’re talking to you, or forgetting to put your dirty socks in the hamper—add up over time.

What does this have to do with sticky notes?

One good micro-move that you can do any day is to say something kind about your spouse. Everyone loves to be told something good, especially when it’s unprovoked and honest. But it’s not always easy to remember to say these things.

So rather than saying them, why not write down some thoughtful words on a sticky note. Tell your wife how much you love her smile. Or tell your husband how thankful you are that he cuts the grass. Don’t assume that your spouse knows you’re thankful—tell them you are.

Then hide the sticky note somewhere they’ll find it later. Put it in the fridge, or the visor of their car, or in a random page in the book their reading. When they stumble across the note, they’ll be instantly reminded of how much you love and appreciate them.

Best of all, you can hide several of these at once in different places around the house. Hide a dozen every month so that your spouse is constantly being reminded of your love in different ways.

Get some sticky notes

Although it’s pretty easy for you to find sticky notes, or just plain note cards, we’ve made it even easier for you to create positive micro-moves.

We’ve designed some sticky notes that have some thoughtful messages already started for you. All you’ve got to do is order some, fill in the blanks, and leave them for your spouse to find.

Whether you use sticky notes or something else entirely, it’s important that you’re taking the time to think of small ways to appreciate and value your spouse. Because marriage isn’t really some big and daunting problem to be fixed. It’s a daily choice to actively love another person.

What micro-moves are you making to show your appreciation?

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