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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Robert Carnes is the editor on the MarriedPeople team. He’s worked in marketing and communications for a number of churches and nonprofits. Robert lives in Atlanta with his wife, Victoria.
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