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How to Take Your Marriage Event to the Next Level

How to Take Your Marriage Event to the Next Level

My church began our marriage ministry in 2014 after being introduced to the Married People strategy at the Orange Conference. Since then, it has been an amazing ride. We’ve tried new things, failed at some things, and have continued to tweak things along the way. I believe this is how good ministries become great—by constantly evolving!

Perhaps your marriage events have hit a stale patch on road. You feel like the events look identical to the one before it. You’re ready to change things up and take these events to the next level.

Since we’ve gone through the same experience at my church, I wanted to share a few things we’ve learned along the way. Hopefully you can learn from our mistakes and not hit as many potholes and detours along your marriage ministry journey.

Small changes can make a big impact

I’m not sure why we believe that to “innovate” and “evolve” we have to do a complete 180°. As if spending more time and money will automatically lead to better results. That’s simply not true.

Small changes or upgrades to your event can make a huge difference—if done intentionally and effectively. Here are a few examples that you can try for yourself:

  • invite church members who own businesses to donate prizes
  • bring in live music if you’ve been using recorded music
  • have a local amateur comedian come in and do a 10-minute opening skit
  • have dessert made and handed out by the children or youth of the church as a special gift
  • make each centerpiece a unique prize that one couple at each table will win

Change up the games

We learned early on that games are one of the most critical pieces of these marriage events. Over time, we’ve allocated more resources and energy into quality games (and prizes!). And these efforts have paid off.

We found that playing a stage game and a table game is a must, because this accommodates the different personality types of people in attendance.  “Minute to Win It” type games have been the most successful.

Thankfully, the games that come in the Married People events have all been very good. Put a little extra effort into personalizing the games and prizes at your event and you will reap the rewards. Couples want to have fun—so give them the fun!

Make it personal

Find a professional videographer and interview several of the couples attending the event ahead of time. Ask them to share a story in relation to your theme. For instance, for the “Have Serious Fun” segment ask them to share a story about a vacation they went on that was super fun.

Likewise, for “Practice Your Promise,” interview a couple in your church that’s been married over 50 years. Ask them what their secret is. Be sure to pick a lively couple for some great laughs!

Make these couples your special guests at the event dinner. After a while, couples will ask to be a part of your future videos. Remember to give them the video as a keepsake afterwards. And, if these are professional quality, you can use the videos to promote your ministry later.

It doesn’t always have to be what it’s always been

This was tough for my team. After a couple of years of successful marriage events, we felt comfortable in what we were doing. But, if we were to evolve, my team would need to feel safe trying new things and stepping away from what we’d always done.

It’s not always easy to implement change—especially in the church.

Last summer, we held a group wedding vow renewal ceremony instead of the traditional “Practice Your Promise” event. I officiated the ceremony in a robe. We decorated the event like a wedding reception. The couples dressed up and we had a professional photographer there to capture photos of each couple.

By far, this was one of the most popular events we’ve ever held. And, it took us stepping away from what we “always” did to make it happen.

Whatever you choose to start with, just start with one thing that changes for each event. Remember—small changes are good! Before you know it, your event will be a fun surprise for participants and something all couples enjoy attending. The anticipation and excitement of what you’ll do next will entice more couples to come check it out!

How do you plan on taking your next event to the next level?

#OC19 Breakout Notes: Get the Most Out of the Married People Strategy

#OC19 Breakout Notes: Get the Most Out of the Married People Strategy

Orange Conference 2019

Speaker: Ted Lowe

  • 59% of Christians disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15. —Barna Research
  • Millennials top two priorities. (Pew Research)
    • To be a great parent
    • To have a great marriage
  • Because marriage matters to millennials the church can matter to millennials.
    Because marriage matters to everyone the church can matter to everyone.
  • Millennials need a bridge into the church.
    • Authenticity
    • Relevance
    • Experiences
    • Acceptance
    • Inclusion
    • Respect
    • Community
  • Stats about church events
    • Special events have significant appeal to those ages 18-45 years old. —Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today
    • 49% agree special events make evangelizing easier. —Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today
    • 57% of churchless Americans would prefer a different introduction to church vs. Sunday Service. —Reach Right Studios
    • 74% of those who participate in special events feel more connected with their faith community.
    • 70% believe special events allow them to meet others of their faith.
    • 69% agree special event attendance strengthens their faith.
    • 56% affirm these events help them overcome life’s difficulties.
    • 49% agree special events make evangelizing easier.
      Christianity Today
  • Ways to use the Larger Group Experiences
    • One-night events
    • Worship services
    • Marriage retreats
  • Closer Annual Marriage Ministry Bundle
    • Two larger group events: Fall Marriage Kickoff & Valentine’s Event
    • Small group study: Closer Connection, the 4 Ways We Communicate
    • Four date nights: Take Out Date, Play Date, Picnic Date, & Pizza Date
    • One-year of Married People Monthly, a customizable email template
    • One month free of the MP Monthly for all the couples at your church
    • All of the
  • Testimonials
    • “I consistently hear the same thread: ‘We never had intentional marriage modeled for us, and it always seemed like hard work and survival. But Married People has helped us have fun and given us practical steps to take in marriage.’ At least three couples per event have the same story.” Josh Fortney
    • “We had a young couple in our community that had only been married three or four months and found themselves struggling and desperate. They had no church affiliation. They randomly googled “marriage help group” and our marriage small group came up. Since joining, they would tell you that their marriage is getting better each week. In addition, they have begun a journey towards faith in Christ as well!” Kyle Plew
    • “I would talk about the couple who decided to try again after our community event. I would also talk about having just a night to be around other couples who are focusing on their marriage makes it easier to commit to focusing on yours—you are not alone.” Heather Matarazzo
    • “I’ve heard from several couples that they now focus on the little things more since attending our events. Another thing I’ve heard is that couples see the value in being proactive in caring for their marriage as opposed to ignoring things and hoping the bad stuff fixes itself.” Monica Humpal
  • Things To Know
#OC19 Breakout Notes: Reaching Marriages Today

#OC19 Breakout Notes: Reaching Marriages Today

Speaker: Matt Engle

  • One of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the people who had survived the exile, and also about the city, Jerusalem. They said to me, “The people who survived the exile and are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of the city is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.” —Nehemiah 1:1-4
  • Church Statistics
    • 80 % of churches plateaued or declining
    • 23% of Americans are “nones”
    • 3 million people leave the organized church each year
    • 59% of millennials raised in church have dropped out
  • To understand the change that is happening we need to understand three big ideas
    • Big Data
    • Predictive Analytics
    • Precision Messaging
  • Big Data: extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions
  • Where does Big Data come from? In the next 60 seconds:
    • 70,017 hours watched on Netflix
    • $752,522 spent on Amazon
    • 3.5 million search queries on Google
    • 16 million text messages sent
    • 1.8 million Snapchats created
    • 452,000 Tweets sent
    • 46,200 photos uploaded to Instagram
    • 4.1 million videos viewed on YouTube
    • 900,000 logins to Facebook
    • 156 million emails sent
  • Big data can show us what we have never been able to see before.
    • With big data: correlation does not equal causation (but it doesn’t really matter).
    • Big Data shows us “what” not necessarily “why”
  • Big Data and Zacchaeus
    • First party data: he was short, climbed a tree, athletic and fit
    • Second party data: Male, Jewish, Tax Collector, Chief Tax Collector, Income 1%, Homeowner
    • Big Data: he wanted to see Jesus
  • Predictive Analytics
    • Predictive Analytics help churches use data to inform their mission
    • People who are doing “A” have done “B”, “F”, “Z” in the past.
    • People who are currently doing “B”, “F”, “Z” are most likely to do “A” in the future.
  • Precision Messaging
    • Motivations give insight into the why behind the actions, behaviors, and decision making of your selected audience.
    • The right message to the right person at the right time…on the right device
    • Relationship is key to growth; Engagement is key to Relationship!
    • Know your city and people from Big Data and engagement
#OC19 Breakout Notes: Build a Great Marriage Strategy

#OC19 Breakout Notes: Build a Great Marriage Strategy

Orange Conference 2019

Speakers: Ted Lowe & Dave Safstrom

  • Marriage is still the reflection of Christ and the Church.
  • Marriage is a spiritual issue.
  • One of the best gifts your church can give a kid is a mom and dad whose marriage is thriving.
    • Or step parents whose marriage is thriving.
    • Or foster parents whose marriage is thriving.
    • Or grandparents whose marriage is thriving.
    • Or youth leaders whose marriage is thriving.
  • 59% of Christians disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15. —Barna Research
  • 1996: 9% identified as “nones.”
    2016: 19% identified as “nones.” —Barna Research
  • Millennials top two priorities (according to Pew Research)
  1. To be a great parent
  2. To have a great marriage
  • Marriage isn’t seen as urgent by the church, but it’s still important.
    • You are voting no everyone when you say we can’t do marriage ministry.
    • Don’t say no because of a lack of time, resources, or leaders.
  • Deficit mentality: “We don’t have enough.”
    Strategic Scarcity: “Let’s work with what we have.”
  • “Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. . . But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” —1 Corinthians 12:12, 18-20
  • Things to Know:
    • Talk with Misty Phillips, Married People Orange Specialist: info@marriedpeople.org
    • Check out the Marriage Ministry Starter Kit in the Orange Store: marriedpeople.org/closer
    • Get a free month of MarriedPeople Membership
: marriedpeople.org/ItsPersonal
    • Join the Married People Leaders Facebook Group: https://facebook.com/groups/MarriedLeaders/
Why Marriage Ministry is Personal

Why Marriage Ministry is Personal

The theme for this year’s Orange Conference is It’s Personal— because it all changes when it’s someone you know. This is no more true for those people who work in marriage ministry. Especially because marriage is such a personal relationship.

So what makes marriage ministry personal for you? Who do you know that makes such a difference in the work you do? We recently asked that question on our private Facebook group (which you should join if you haven’t already). And here are some of the responses we got.

Why is Marriage Ministry Personal?

  • “When my husband and I learned so much in marriage counseling after working through tough issues, we looked at each other and said, “had we known these things 10 years ago things may have been different.” It was then that we realized the church has the means to help couples like us. So I started a marriage ministry.” —Monica Lane Humpal
  • “We too struggled and watched as the church had no idea what to do for us…as a result they did nothing, said nothing. It seemed to us that a struggling marriage was taboo. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Silence and isolation create a haven for the enemy’s success. Marriage ministry is a place to be real, to let the struggle be real and to find help to fight the good fight.” —Elaine McFarland
  • “Facing our own struggles in marriage was the spark that began the marriage ministry in our church 7 years ago. We attended a worldwide marriage encounter retreat because we noticed so many friends getting divorced. We didn’t want the same thing to happen to us. We learned that we too were broken but God had bigger plans for us. God uses us to glorify Him through the fire that continues to burn inside us for marriage.” —Marcy Renken
  • “Though we haven’t had major struggles, we have watched friends “suffer” through unhappy marriages and others end in divorce. Too many marriages are ending in divorce in the church. Mark Gungor and Ted Cunningham have taught us how to have a fun marriage. We desire that for all marriages!” —Denyse Fleming Anderson
  • “Seeing friends at church getting a divorced or close to it breaks my heart and compels me to keep going.” —Laura Thompson Wright
  • “The start to working in Marriage Ministry was personal, seeing the devastation of a my sister experiencing a struggling relationship without Christ that ended in divorce (she had only been married a year) spurred something in us to help prevent this happening in others. It was as if it happened to us. Then, God directed our paths to gradually do more and more with couples.” —Kim Kvamme
  • “Too many ” I never thought ______ and ______ would get divorced” moments.” —Melissa Brandt

What makes marriage ministry personal for you?

#OC19 Marriage Breakouts Preview

#OC19 Marriage Breakouts Preview

The 2019 Orange Conference is fast approaching! The theme for this year is IT’S PERSONAL: It Matters More When It’s Someone You Know. Which is appropriate for both a marriage and a marriage ministry.

The Conference is being held at the Infinite Energy Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on May 1-3. As always, we’ll be hosting a number of marriage ministry breakouts. And we hope to see you at all of them!

Be sure to stop by the MarriedPeople booth to meet us and ask any questions you might have. And to pick up some free swag or snap a photo with the MarriedPeople team.

Pray Circles Around Marriages

  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019
  • 11:00AM to 12:00PM
  • Nina Schmidgall
  • Room 4

Build a Great Marriage Strategy

  • Thursday, May 2, 2019
  • 10:45AM to 11:45AM
  • Room 18 at Cross Pointe Church
  • Ted Lowe & Dave Safstrom

Did you know Orange has a marriage ministry strategy? They do and it’s called MarriedPeople, and has been around since 2010. Whether you have been a MarriedPeople church partner for years, or just considering how to help the marriages of your church, this is the perfect breakout for you.

Reach Today’s Marriages?

  • Thursday May 2, 2019
  • 1:15PM to 2:15PM
  • Room 18 at Cross Pointe Church
  • Matt Engle

With technology, social media, blended families, and kids busier than ever…everything, our approach to marriage ministry has to be smart and strategic. Learn how to leverage today’s culture to make marriage ministry one of the greatest marketing tools of your church.

Get the Most out of the MarriedPeople Strategy

  • Thursday, May 2, 2019
  • 4:45PM to 5:45PM
  • Room 18 at Cross Pointe Church
  • Ted Lowe

Will you be joining us at Orange Conference 2019?

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