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The Most Important Thing Your Church Can Do All Year

The Most Important Thing Your Church Can Do All Year

For several years, Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs has offered regular “respite” events for families of children with special needs. Katie Garvert has led this ministry with the mindset that special needs ministry is a part of a holistic family ministry.

As the special needs ministry grew, the church added the respite piece of programming. The purpose of the respite was not only to provide parents a break, but to provide spouses the opportunity to reconnect through time together alone.

Encouraging Couples to Date

About a year ago, Katie noticed that mothers who once showed up at respite check-in with their husbands were arriving without them. Instead of enjoying a date night, parents were doing their own thing, like running errands, while their children were in the church’s care.

As a mother herself, Katie recognized the value of a peaceful shopping trip, but was concerned parents weren’t taking the opportunity to refuel their marriage. Even some of those couples who did go on a date night were returning to pick up their kids more sad or tense than before.

Fresh off these observations, Katie felt burdened to work more proactively to help the marriage inside the family with special needs. Katie wanted to give these parents something that would keep them focused on each other—a tool that would facilitate constructive and encouraging conversation.

To that end, Woodmen Valley Chapel started using the Married People Date Nights.

Married People Date Nights

As parents dropped off their children, they received a 8.5 x 11 printed document with step-by-step date instructions. They were told to spend the evening following the instructions together.

Katie said the response was amazing. Couples were refreshed. Their enthusiasm rejuvenated the church’s approach to helping marriages. Parents were going on dates instead of just running independent errands. Spouses were arriving at pick-up obviously happy and refreshed.

Katie said, “We realized these parents had forgotten how to connect. They were too tired and overwhelmed to plan a date for themselves. They didn’t even know what to talk about aside from managing life details, usually related to the complex needs of their children. Many of these spouses had forgotten how to laugh.

Among many things, these date nights gave our couples fun conversation starters. For the first time, husbands and wives were focused on each other. We saw this in their eyes and attitude when they arrived to pick up their children. I honestly had no idea that adding this simple tool would have such a huge impact on the families and on our entire ministry.”

A Resource For Every Couple

It stands to reason that parents of children with special needs may carry a heavier burden than most parents. However, all married couples know what it’s like to be too busy and overly stressed.

Every couple—both inside and outside of your church—could benefit from connecting in new and creative ways. All marriages benefit from making memories that will enhance their relationship. Going out on a great date is just one way to do that.

Not only that, but providing these dates is something every church leader can do, too.

Every year, church leaders like you have taken these date night resources and packaged them in fun and creative ways. You can see some examples of how on this blog post or in our private Facebook group. This is the easiest step you can take to start improving marriages at your church.

This post was adapted from the book, Married People, How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last, by Ted Lowe and Doug Fields.

Creating A Mission Statement For Your Marriage Ministry

Creating A Mission Statement For Your Marriage Ministry

At the end of 2016, our pastors invited us to take the lead on a new initiative. We were confident that by implementing this initiative, we could move the vision of the church forward in our region.

The initiative was to strengthen and build marriages within our church. We hoped to use the influence of Christ Fellowship to impact the marriage culture of our surrounding communities. After stepping into the opportunity, we quickly realized we needed to bring cohesion around all that was happening for marriages at that time.

There were several great marriage classes and programs available to the congregation. However, each operated in a silo, separate from the others. We believed the most important thing we could do was to align all the marriage opportunities around a joint mission.

Randle S. Hanson says, “a mission statement acts as an invisible hand that guides the people in the organization.” We knew that our mission statement would define the purpose of the ministry, build unity with all those who served in the ministry, provide clarity, and give us laser focus for all our ministry activities.

Here is the mission statement that we created for our ministry to married people: “To lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond, we create environments that strengthen and build healthy marriages.”

Looking back at the lessons learned from our process, here are three things to take into consideration when creating a mission for your married people ministry.

1. Make your mission statement motive-focused

A mission statement should clearly express the reason or motive behind the existence of your ministry. A mission statement isn’t a list that describes what you do. It’s a statement that declares the motivation or the “why,” behind what you do.

A key way to define your motivation is to identify your vision or goal for marriage ministry. Ask yourself: “What does the preferred future look like? What does the win look like?” From our mission statement, you can see our motivation is “To lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond.”

A second way to dial into your motivation is to look at your past wins. Where have you found forward motion and success? This could be an indicator of your unique ministry motivation and point toward your mission.

Lastly, look for ways that you are positioned to make a difference. Being uniquely graced to speak into a specific area of need can be a huge motivation for a mission. When you answer the “why” question, you will begin to see the answers to the “how” questions more clearly.

2.  Make your mission statement measurable

Be specific enough in your mission statement so that you can measure your successes and failures.  If you refer back to our mission statement, creating environments is what we do. We determine the success of an environment by whether or not it strengthens and builds into a healthy marriage. This gives us a tool to ask, “How are we doing? Is this environment or experience working?”

One of our environments is our Prep 4 Marriage course. We know that couples who take a class like Prep 4 Marriage before they get married, will reduce their risk of divorce by 31%. For us, one of the measurements of success is the number of couples we graduate out of the course each year.

Another environment that we measure is groups. We know that biblical community is critical to having a healthy marriage. So, gauging the number of couples in group life, as well as the number of new groups launched, will give us an indication of how we are doing at fulfilling our mission.

3.  Make your mission statement memorable

Your mission statement should be stated in as few words as possible. Try to keep it to one sentence.  This will help it to be easy to teach to others. People should be able to remember it! Your mission statement is the map that provides a path to follow.

If you can’t remember the mission, it will be pretty easy to drift off course.

Make sure that you are clearly articulating your mission whenever possible to your leaders and members of the ministry. A good rule of thumb is that when you start getting sick and tired of hearing yourself saying the mission, people are just then beginning to listen to you.

It’s so easy to lose sight of your mission. Post your mission statement on the walls around your ministry area or offices as a visual reminder.

4. Don’t Re-invent the Wheel

If your church already has a mission statement, you should leverage it instead of trying to create something new. Our church has a very clear mission to lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond. Everyone, Everyday, Everywhere. (Our language for the church is every person, living out their calling every day, everywhere they go).

This mission has been fundamental in the forward movement for the church. It has given us a consistent framework for growth and expansion. As we started thinking about the mission for the ministry to married people, it was evident that we needed to align to the mission of the church.  There is power in a unified purpose.

The more that you can align with the mission and vision of your church, the more effective you will be.

Does your marriage ministry have a mission statement? What is it?

LEADER PROFILE: Archie Rish

LEADER PROFILE: Archie Rish

Every month, we’re profiling a church leader just like you. This month, we’re featuring Archie Rish.

Archie has been the Discipleship Pastor at GracePointe Church in Douglas, GA, for the last four and a half years.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

The partnership we get to build with families, marriages, & our community.

What are some challenges you face at your church?

A challenge we face often is convincing couples how important it is to invest in their marriage. The investment isn’t an option, it’s essential.

How has MarriedPeople changed how your church works with marriages?

MP has given us the opportunity to load couples toolboxes in our church and community. We are able to prove to couples that we are FOR their marriage. Because of MP’s work and partnership, we can take the content and make it work for our dynamic.

What’s one helpful tip you’d like to share with other church leaders?

No one knows your church and community better than you! Believe in yourself, customize the MP resources to serve the people you know best!

Are there any other helpful resources you’d recommend people check out?

Make sure to Lean into other MP leaders. Their knowledge is golden!

Want to be featured on the blog?

If you’re a MarriedPeople partner and want to be featured on the blog, just fill out the form here and we’ll be in touch.

LEADER PROFILE: Dave Safstrom

LEADER PROFILE: Dave Safstrom

Every month, we’re profiling a church leader just like you. This month, we’re featuring Dave Safstrom.

Dave has been on a Groups Team Leader at LCBC in Lancaster, PA, for the last five years.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

I love seeing the ‘lightbulb’ go on. When individuals/couples grab hold of the inspiration of Jesus’ love and wisdom and see how it applies in their lives and relationship, you know it’s going to make a difference for years to come.

What are some challenges you face at your church?

We need more premarital mentors. Not for lack of interest, but for how many couples want good premarital mentoring. Says a lot about young couples wanting the best possible start to their marriage!

How has MarriedPeople changed how your church works with marriages?

MP is how we started our Young & Married ministry three years ago, and is providing the content to get another campus up and running in seasonal marriage ministry. The MP model itself challenges us to not settle for a one-and-done event approach. We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.

What’s one helpful tip you’d like to share with other church leaders?

Start! Don’t wait for critical mass for a big event. Gather a few invested couples, invite them to pray and cast vision for challenging and equipping marriages in your community, then engage effectively with the MP model. One more thing.. increase their love-literacy one step at a time (don’t throw a theological encyclopedia at them).

Are there any other helpful resources you’d recommend people check out?

 

Want to be featured on the blog?

If you’re a MarriedPeople partner and want to be featured on the blog, just fill out the form here and we’ll be in touch.

LEADER PROFILE: Monica Humpal

LEADER PROFILE: Monica Humpal

Every month, we’re profiling a church leader just like you. This month, we’re featuring Rev. Monica Humpal.

Monica has been the Associate Pastor of Grow Ministries at Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist in Mooresville, NC for the last six years. She even writes a marriage blog for her church that everyone should read.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

I love serving God by supporting the whole family—kids, parents, and grandparents. Marriage ministry supports all things “family” and can be so helpful in strengthening the entire community.

What are some challenges you face at your church?

Helping couples see the importance of their marriage relationship. Couples are either super focused on their kids, their jobs, or extra curricular things and are neglecting their marriages. They are also faced with a ton of “parent guilt” if they don’t focus on their kids every spare moment. Shifting to making marriage a priority is a struggle for many couples.

How has MarriedPeople changed how your church works with married couples?

We are now providing a multi- faceted ministry that suits couples needs, whatever they may be. We see that every couple is unique and we want to provide varied opportunities to meet the needs of as many couples as we can. Large events, small group studies, free counseling with professionals, retreats, date nights, guest speakers, etc.

What’s one helpful tip you’d like to share with other church leaders?

Even if you only provide a couple of marriage studies a year, do it. Start small if you need to, but try to find a way to incorporate marriage support into your overall ministry plan. This will go a long way to strengthening your age level ministries as a whole.

Are there any other helpful resources you’d recommend people check out?

Want to be featured on the blog?

If you’re a MarriedPeople partner and want to be featured on the blog, just fill out the form here and we’ll be in touch.

LEADER PROFILE: Everett & Kim Kvamme

LEADER PROFILE: Everett & Kim Kvamme

Every month, we want to profile a church leader just like you. This month, we’re featuring Everett & Kim Kvamme.

Everett and Kim have been serving together at the Lighthouse Christian Center in Seattle, Wash., for the last 14 years.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Getting to work with couples; meeting new people; seeing God growing them in their relationship with one another; seeing couples and families reconciled, encouraged, and given hope.

What are some challenges you face at your church?

One of the biggest challenges has been debunking the myth that marriage ministry is only for those having problems in their marriage. It’s for couples connect with each and invest in one another other on an on-going basis. Another challenge is letting all couples at Lighthouse know all that is offered for marriages and families.

How has MarriedPeople changed how your church works with married couples?

It has helped us get more opportunities out for all couples, gain more participation, have husbands wanting to come, and enable us to have more people from the community involved. Before MarriedPeople, we offered marriage education, premarital counseling, and marriage mentoring. For these, people have to come forward to say they want to participate or have someone invite them.
The MP monthly, date nights, and large group events appeal to a larger audience and help us get the word out to more people of the importance of investing regularly in your marriage and inviting others to do the same.
In addition, our church uses Orange for children through high school in some way and using MP curriculum has helped our Family Ministry team unite in values and vision. It also helped that the ideas are there, the videos, and everything is scripted so those leading are successful as they put on an event or date night. We can add our creativity or stick to the script and all is to the glory of God.

What’s one helpful tip you’d like to share with other church leaders?

Pray, follow the MarriedPeople book to build your marriage ministry, and start with at least one thing and add to it. For example, just the Married People monthly or Date Nights. Don’t feel pressure to grow all at once.

Are there any other helpful resources you’d recommend people check out?

The MarriedPeople book, and any Stronger Marriages resources for mentoring or premarital curriculum. We have used this for about seven years and many have been transformed in their marriages and grew in their faith and relationship with one another. We highly recommend this for growing a mentoring ministry.
We also partner with Family Life and recommend any of their weekend getaways and or resources. We often give out Two Hearts Praying as One by Dennis and Barbara Rainey as a resource for a couple learning how to pray together in a meaningful and non-intimidating way.

Want to be featured on the blog?

If you’re a MarriedPeople partner and want to be featured on the blog, just fill out the form here and we’ll be in touch.

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