Over the years, specifically since starting MarriedPeople, I have talked to many church leaders about marriage ministry. At The Orange Conference last April, we had two Marriage Ministry Think Tanks. Here is what I believe to be true about most, not all, but most church leaders when it comes to marriage ministry:
- Church leaders are emotional about marriage. Almost every church leader has a story of heartache about broken homes. Their hearts break for marriage in general.
- Church leaders are paralyzed about how to help marriages. I’m not sure what causes this dynamic, but church leaders seem fearful and unsure of where to even start helping couples.
If you are a church leader who is emotional about marriage, GREAT! I would dare say God is leading you to do something about it. That’s my point. We have to move from emotional to logical and start taking some emotional, logical first steps to help marriages.
If you are paralyzed about how to help marriages, I get it. Adding another full fledge ministry is intimidating. But trust yourself. So many people seem to be wondering, “What is the silver bullet to helping marriages?” Someone recently suggested sending the couples of their church on an Amazing Race type experience. While that sounds creative and a lot of fun, it’s not sustainable, affordable and many other words that end with “able.” I don’t think the church has to worry about the razzle dazzle, I just think the church just needs to be the church to marriages.
Here are three steps to get you going if you are feeling emotional but paralyzed when it comes to helping marriages.
- Leverage Large Groups: Use larger group settings like your worship service or one-night events to help couples know that struggle is normal, but hope is available.
- Empower Small Groups: Life change is sustained best in community. Empower your current small groups with marriage studies. Or start small groups with marriage as the focus.
- Equip Individual Couples: Every couple should be enjoying their marriage. Send couples on date nights where you provide the tool for the date, and babysitting. They will love you for it.
Bottom line, do for couples what you do for kids and students: something in larger group settings, something in small group settings, and something for them to do on their own. Again, couples don’t need a silver bullet, they need the church to be the church to marriages.
What are other practical ways the church can help marriages?
After serving as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, Ted recently started an organization called MarriedPeople. MarriedPeople partners with Orange to create resources and training tools for leaders who work with married couples. Ted lives in Cumming, Georgia, with his four favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their three children. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.