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The Statistic About Millennials Every Church Leader Should Know

The Statistic About Millennials Every Church Leader Should Know

What Millennials Want

I’ve been working with married couples through the local church since 2001. During that whole time, marriage statistics are everywhere. Many of these stats can be discouraging for those of us who greatly want marriages to win.

But recently, a friend and researcher shared a report from Pew Research about the millennial generation. According to that report, here are the top eight priorities for millennials:

  1. Being a good parent
  2. Having a successful marriage
  3. Helping others in need
  4. Owning a home
  5. Living a very religious life
  6. Having a high-paying career
  7. Having lots of free time
  8. Being famous

Millennials get such a bad rap about everything. I know previous generations have always bemoaned the current one, but millennials seem to have gotten some extra moaning.

Much of the team I work with are millennials, and I’m really big fan of this generation. Millennials not only make up the largest part of the U.S. population, they are changing the world they inherited.

Unlike the previous generation, they long for experiences instead of stuff. And what’s their biggest experience? Their family. They want to have a great family. They want to be great parents and have a great marriage.

What This Means For The Church

This is great news for church leaders. Because if we get really strategic about creating experiences for married couples, we can create a solid bridge for millennials to walk back into the church, or maybe walk in for the first time.

I’ve seen it happen all over the country—great marriage events and resources connecting people to the local church.

My wife, Nancie and I experienced this recently. We spoke and hosted a fun date night event at Mariners Church South County in San Juan Capistrano. This is in Orange County, Calif., where the divorce rate is a staggering 75%. This stat does not seem to discourage the Director of Marriage, Amanda Maguire. It actually seems to empower her.

Through her fun and strategic marketing, this event was filled with millennials. After the event, a young man approached me and said, “My wife and I are really struggling. We thought this would help. It did. We’ll be back here.”

At the end of the event, Amanda did an amazing job to ensure the group that the event wasn’t the only thing for marriages at their church. She told them it was part of an overall plan to pour into the marriages of Orange County. She gave them a reason to come back.

Bottom line: when a church leverages millennials’ love of experiences with their desire to have a great marriage, powerful things can happen.

And I’m not just talking about increasing millennials’ marital satisfaction. I’m talking about leveraging marriage to draw people to church, and ultimately Jesus—something no statistics can ever describe.

3 Reasons to Use Email to Impact Marriages In Your Church

3 Reasons to Use Email to Impact Marriages In Your Church

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.

Next Steps

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.

Reposted with permission. Read the original article here.

5 Steps to Stick to Your Marriage Ministry Goals

5 Steps to Stick to Your Marriage Ministry Goals

If I were to ask you if marriage ministry is important, what would you say? Most people who work with and near families quickly answer this question with a resounding, yes!

If I were to ask you if marriage ministry is urgent, what would you say? Answering this question is a bit trickier than the first, especially church leaders.

Church leaders know that marriage is important. But what is urgent is the fact that Sunday is always coming. Pre-school, children’s and youth ministries are always seen as urgent and important, because they are.

But marriage ministry has no Sunday. It has a “one day.” One day, we are going to make the time, get strategic at helping married couples. When we pause for a moment and reflect on how marriage impacts the life of a child—especially their faith—marriage ministry becomes urgent and important.

Why Marriage Ministry is Urgent

According to the Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion, 60% of children who come from divorce will walk away from their faith. But we don’t need a scientific study to know marriage impacts kids.

We know it. We live it in our churches our communities, and our own families. But as church leaders, we keep this information to ourselves.

After all, we wouldn’t state the facts and stats on a Sunday morning because much of our audience would feel defeated, and visitors might not return. So we just don’t talk about it. But make no mistake about it, the kids we love, who we want to know Jesus, need to grow up with healthy marriages around them at home and at church.

With that passion in mind, let’s set some marriage ministry goals, if not for the married people, for the little people. Here’s five steps to get your marriage ministry in the important and urgent column and make some real progress in the new year.

1. Get your passionate people in the same room.

Start or restart or energize your marriage ministry by getting together people who are passionate about helping marriages.

I find that all too often, those passionate about marriage ministry feel isolated and understaffed. Volunteers and couples who have found hope in their marriage are sitting in your church every week.

Lure them to a meeting with snacks and the knowledge that they don’t have to have a perfect meeting.

2. Identify the top needs of the marriages in your church and community.

Be careful not just to focus on couples in crisis. The biggest needs of every church is to help couples from getting into crisis in the first place.

3. Determine what you need to create a holistic strategy.

The days of one-off retreats and one-time marriage studies need to behind those of us who are attempting to create a marriage strategy to reach the current and next generation. What environments, tools, and people will you need to make your marriage ministry last?

4. Dream with the end in mind.

Determine what you want your marriage ministry to look like five years from now. Yes, this will change and evolve over time, but as you lead your team you will need a north to travel towards.

5. Take the first steps toward what you want to create.

One idea is to take a step toward building one proactive piece for the many and one reactive piece for those in crisis.

The kids running through the halls and scuffing the walls of our churches need champions to fight for the marriages impacting their faith.

They don’t know it, but they do. You know, too. You can do it. And you’re not alone.

The One Must For Every Married Couple in Ministry

The One Must For Every Married Couple in Ministry

A few years ago, my wife Nancie and I hosted a Q & A luncheon at a youth pastor’s conference entitled, “Married and in Ministry.” The room was packed. Not because of us, but because of the topic.

As couples asked questions, I wasn’t surprised to hear that they were too busy and that it was taking a huge toll on their marriage. What did surprise me were their reactions to some basic suggestions on how to change that. We mentioned things like boundaries and they responded with things like, “What do you mean by boundaries?”

The Importance of Dating

Then we brought up the absolute necessity to date. For many, it was if we had suggested they take a trip to Disney World . . . every week. Date night? Who has time for that? We have people in our church who need us, who have real issues. We are out of the house most nights of the week—doing ministry, taking our own kids to their activities.  

I’m thinking to myself, how could such obviously smart people be so reluctant or even unknowledgeable about the need to take time for their marriage? As we passionately tried to give them permission to do so, we could tell some of them weren’t buying it.

Learning from Example

As we were debriefing afterward, Nancie wasn’t as surprised by their responses as I was. She reminded me that making marriage a priority when you are ministry is basic to us. Why? Because we’ve had the unbelievable, and UNIQUE blessing of being surrounded by great marriages our entire marriage.

From day one of our marriage, we’ve had couples around us who modeled date night and have held us accountable to it. She reminded me that day—and I have been reminded many times since in my interactions with pastors—that people in ministry need people to encourage them to do, among many things, date.

Go on a Date

So whether you are a dating pro or haven’t been on a date since Reagan was in office, I have a little challenge for you. Go out on a date. Remember what it was like to have fun with your spouse, and not just decompress from ministry or debrief about your schedules.

If the date works, then send some the couples in your church on the same date. Maybe start with your staff and volunteers and then move to a churchwide challenge, maybe even provide childcare. If you like the date, tell other couples about it.

Why date night?

Experiences and laughter and affirmation all have one thing in common: they connect you as a couple. And connection is what dating is all about it. Date nights are not about to-do lists or solving all your issues. They’re about enjoying your marriage. And as Proverbs 5 illustrates, maybe one of the best ways to protect your marriage is to enjoy your marriage.

So continue or start dating. It’s not extra. It’s essential. And don’t forget to let us know what happened, by posting a pic with #mpdates.

Reposted with permission. Read the original article here.

7 Paradigm Shifts Happening in Marriage Ministry

7 Paradigm Shifts Happening in Marriage Ministry

I’ve been working in marriage ministry for a few years now. Actually, it’s over fifteen. And I’ve been married for over twenty years. In that time, I’ve learned a few things about how churches can help couples improve their marriage.

Studies show that people think of marriage ministry as preachy, outdated, and overly feminine. We’ve lost our relevance in people’s lives. But there are some shifts happening in some ministries that are changing how they approach marriage ministry.

3 Approaches that Fall Short

Before we get into the ways to improve how your church approaches marriage, let’s take a quick look at the trends that do not work.

  1. The Hands Off Approach: Many churches do little to help marriages because of the pace of ministry or because they don’t feel a need.
  2. The Topical Approach: Some churches view marriage as a topic to be covered, so they address it through various “one-offs”—a sermon series, a study, an event or a book. They treat marriage ministry like a task on a to-do list.
  3. The Reactionary Approach: Other churches spend time and resources on marriage, but they focus solely on couples in crisis—in essence, waiting until marriages are in trouble before offering help, rather than taking a proactive approach that could help couples avoid crises in the first place.

A Proactive, Strategic Approach

A proactive approach—a strategy—is more effective than a topical or reactionary approach. Changing from one of these historical marriage ministry approaches to a proactive approach requires some paradigm shifts.

  1. From an intervention to intervention and prevention
: Intervention is emotional and the results are measurable. Prevention is neither—but is far superior.
  2. From children’s ministry to family ministry: We know that better marriages make for better families. One of the best things you can do for your kids is leave.
  3. From isolation to relationship
: Technology makes people feel more isolated than ever before. A strategy ministry places a priority on building community and authentic relationships. Not just between couples, but with others that we can learn and grow from.
  4. From information to experience
: As a society, we’re suffering from information overload. As a result, people value experience more than another content dump. That’s why it’s important to give people less content, more often.
  5. From feminine to feminine and masculine: Too many marriage ministries are geared almost exclusively at women. They’re overly harsh on men, who stop listening as a result. We can improve more marriages if we appeal to both men and women.
  6. From general to focused: Sharing an overly general message doesn’t resonate with people. Getting specific with examples and practical applications makes a message relevant to couples. They want to hear authentic stories they can understand and use in their marriage.
  7. From programs to process: Marriage retreats are great—but they give couples a year’s worth of resources in a weekend. That’s a lot to process and they often forget what they learned after a week. Why not give them bite-sized pieces of advice spread out through an entire year? Help them process and progress gradually.

How Our Strategy is Proactive

Because marriage is a process, the MarriedPeople strategy is designed to encourage and empower couples on a consistent basis—no matter where they are in their marriages.

This shift is what makes MarriedPeople a proactive approach, not a topical or reactionary one. Our strategy leverages three environments to reach couples:

  • Individual Couple Experiences: date nights and monthly emails to help couples connect
  • Small Group Experiences: community, accountability, and faith building
  • Larger Group Experiences: vision casting, outreach, and inspiration

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