Several years ago, we found ourselves very involved in our church. Sue was involved with youth ministry and a listening ministry. Scott was involved in Financial Peace and Upward Basketball. We found ourselves serving in many places, but serving separately.
Building into marriages became a call on our lives in 2011 after attending FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. During the weekend, FamilyLife’s staff challenged us to consider helping other couples with their marriages. As a result, we began a marriage ministry at our local church that has since resulted in serving over 1,400 people through 50 events, retreats, and classes over a five-year period.
FamilyLife’s ministry advisors provided great guidance on getting started. Here are some ways they advised us:
1. Enlist the support of your pastor. Present your vision for the ministry to your pastor and discuss how it will support the overall vision and mission of your church. Pastors are delighted when members step forward in ministry leadership that supports the church’s overall vision and mission. Bring solutions to him, not more work.
2. Recruit a team to work with you. Find at least one other couple to partner with you in ministry. Pray for the couple(s) God will bring. At our church of 450, we were fortunate to partner with five other couples. This helped spread the workload of the ministry.
Share your vision with the couples and ask them to be a part of it. Request a one-year commitment. We also suggest that each couple on the team go through a Prepare/Enrich® assessment. We made it a requirement that our leaders’ Prepare/Enrich minimum assessment result was at least a “conventional couple.”
3. Set a vision and plan for the ministry. A team needs a purpose. A vision statement can be as simple as “We desire to strengthen Christian marriages.” Print it; review it often; share it frequently.
As a team, create a detailed plan for the ministry. For example, you may decide, “We will hold one annual marriage event, provide three marriage classes during Sunday school, and offer one home-based study during the next year.” (See FamilyLife’s Tips for Starting a Marriage Ministry for more planning help.)
4. Evaluate the results along the way. Enlist feedback from participants to identify what they enjoyed and what the impact was on
for future involvement.
Being part of a marriage ministry team has strengthened our marriage
It is a great privilege to serve with your spouse. What a blessing to be “as one” in your passion and calling to enrich marriages. Not only will you have the honor of enriching other marriages, your own marriage will be strengthened. We went from having a good marriage to having a great marriage. This is evidenced by a Prepare/Enrich assessment we took before we began a marriage ministry and then two years later. We progressed from a “conventional couple” to a “vitalized couple.”
We are closer and more transparent and committed to one another and to glorifying God in and through our marriage than ever before. It is because of this that it is easy for us to be passionate about helping to bring wholeness and God’s truth to marriages through the many resources and tools so readily available. Serving together has strengthened our marriage beyond anything we could have ever imagined, and it is our desire to share that with as many married couples as possible.
Do you have a passion for building into marriages? Have you prayed about this direction and discussed it with a Christian confidant? Are you and your spouse in agreement? If this is your passion, this may be your beginning. God will bless you as you step forward in faith and obedience, seek His wisdom, and seek counsel from other godly leaders.
Meet the Authors: Scott and Sue Allen
Scott and Sue Allen live in Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. As lay leaders, they speak at events and retreats and provide marriage enrichment through mentoring and coaching. Over the last seven years, they have directly applied their experiences through successfully launching a marriage ministry in a church of 450 people.
1. Read “7 Steps to Starting a Marriage Ministry.”
2. Download FamilyLife’s Tips for Starting a Marriage Ministry.
3. Find more information on FamilyLife’s marriage resources and events.