During my time at North Point, we launched The Great Date Experiment. What we learned from the experiment was powerfully simple: It’s a great idea for churches to help married couples date. Before I go any further, I have to say this: The Great Date Experiment did not originate with me. You probably don’t care who it originated with, but every time I talk about it, I have to give credit where credit is due.
While I was at North Point we created quarterly environments called MarriedLife Live. Couples enjoyed coffee and dessert with other couples around tables, great music, laughter and a message. The response to this environment surprised me as well—couples loved attending and even brought non-believers. Go figure.
One day I was talking with my friend Chip, a single, 24-year-old guy who ran camera at all the MarriedLife Live events. I said, “Chip, you have been around MarriedLife Live for years, what do you think we should do for our next event?” Without hesitation Chip said, “I think when people show up, don’t have an event, just send them on a date.”
I loved the idea and I was ready to do it, but we decided pulling a switcheroo may be problematic for some. So, we leveraged the well-attended MarriedLife Live event by focusing the entire night around the need for couples to be intentional about spending time together, then challenge them to participate in The Great Date Experiment. The experiment was simple, once a month for six months we rolled out a new great date. People went nuts over the dates! I think mostly because they were step-by-step, guy-friendly and worked anywhere on any budget.
Now, I could go on to say a million things but I think these daters say it much better:
“Tonight’s date brought great conversation into our world. Our conversations focused on sweet memories and got us dreaming again.” – Jake and Elizabeth, married 28 years.
“We had a blast. The funniest thing I learned was that he used to do push-ups before our dates so he would look buff—21 years of marriage and I never knew.” – Rebecca, married to Blake.
“Thanks for re-centering me on how wonderful it truly is to be married to the person God brought me!” – Johnathan Sharp, married to Colette, 15 years
So, when we started MarriedPeople, I knew we had to help churches help marriages by helping couples date. From there, we took the good, the bad and the ugly of what we learned from the Great Date Experiment dates and created two things:
You can click on the links to find out more, but make no mistake, helping married couples date, is a great idea. Thanks Chip!
From 2001-2010, Ted Lowe worked as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church. His wife Nancie played a huge role in hosting and planning MarriedLife programs at North Point. It was during their time at North Point that they decided they not only wanted to help the married people at North Point, but married people at churches all over the world. So, in partnership with Orange and church leaders everywhere, they are working fast and furiously to—HELP CHURCHES HELP MARRIAGES. They have three children: Chapman (10), Judson (7), and Teddie (5), and live in Cumming, Georgia. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.