In Part 1 of this blog post we talked about why it’s so incredibly vital that churches prioritize marriage ministry. Now we want to show you how to make that happen.
Whether your church already has a thriving “Marriage Ministry” or you’re just starting to develop a plan to strengthen marriages within your congregation, these five strategies will help you achieve your goal:
1. Offer marriage-focused classes and/or groups.
There are countless resources out there to help you facilitate these kinds of programs. Make sure your small groups and/or Sunday School classes have options geared specifically for marriages. A quick search in any Christian bookstore or online outlet will show you endless options for books, study guides, DVD studies and other resources that can be used for group study. In addition to the material itself, connecting couples to each other in a small group setting is a Biblical and practical way to bring growth and encouragement. Iron sharpens iron. For a list of resources to help you get started, check out store.xomarriage.com.
2. Develop a volunteer team of marriage “coaches.”
Pastors have to delegate their limited personal resources and they can’t sit down one-on-one with every couple that needs help. That’s why your church needs “coaches.” Coaches are a trusted team of healthy couples who go through training and agree to meet with couples in crisis and offer encouragement, mentorship and support for a period of time. This “coaching” doesn’t necessarily need to have a title attached to it. The best coaching often happens within small groups under the care of a husband and wife who model a strong marriage. It comes down to connecting couples into healthy community with healthy leaders and mentors. Healing happens best in the context of relationships.
3. Offer marriage retreats.
Most married couples don’t often get away together without kids, which is vitally important for the health of a marriage. Getting away together with the specific intention of building a marriage can work wonders. Facilitate this kind of retreat once or twice a year and it will be a life-changing weekend for the couples who attend. If your church decides to put together a marriage conference or retreat, it can be a wonderful time of marriage-building and friendship-building among the couples in your church. If you don’t host events of your own, let your congregation know about other opportunities in your area. To attend or host an XO Marriage Conference or simulcast visit xomarriage.com.
4. Preach a marriage-focused sermon series at least once per year.
We do a marriage-focused sermon series every February at our church and it is one of our highest-attended months of the year. Teach about marriage and do it consistently. The people want (and need) to hear it. Even the single people in your church can benefit from teachings on marriage. Some of the best feedback during our marriage sermons come from single people. The better we understand God’s plan for marriage, the better we understand our other relationships (including our relationship with Christ).
5. Offer a library of marriage resources.
Provide books, videos and other resources to your people. This doesn’t require a massive financial investment. In fact, there’s a wealth of marriage-related resources online that are completely free. In your emails and social media posts, consider including links to marriage articles and videos. Have a few marriage books and couples’ devotionals available in your church’s resource library. You can start small, but start somewhere!
Making marriage a priority in your ministry is one of the most effective ways to build stronger families and stronger churches. An investment in marriages will create a multi-generational legacy and an eternal impact. When marriages are stronger, families are stronger. When families are stronger, churches are stronger. When churches are stronger, God is glorified and the world is a better place!
Dave and Ashley Willis have built a strong following, reaching millions of married couples through their blogs, books, and videos. Get Dave and Ashley’s most popular resources for couples and groups. Their mission is to create resources focused on building Christ-centered marriages and families. They have four young sons and live near Augusta, Georgia.