By Michael C. Mack
“Marriage should be honored by all” (Hebrews 13:4).
May is National Date Your Mate Month. Use this month strategically to promote and support strong marriages. The possibilities for your plans are as bountiful as your imagination and an Internet search on Christian marriage ministry ideas! For example, offer a special marriage workshop, providing a meal, music, and child care. Or provide free child care at the church building so couples can plan their own romantic date night.
North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, offers quarterly date nights called MarriedLife. The purpose is to “help people experience the individual (spiritual) growth necessary for a healthy marriage.” According to www.marriedlifeonline.com, MarriedLife carries out this mission by creating relevant environments designed to:
• prepare engaged couples to get off to a great start
• empower couples and their friends with a fun, yet powerful, quarterly environment
• encourage people to be a part of a small group to experience friendship and support
• help people when they need hope and direction.
A church can use events like these to jump-start a series of marriage classes such as the ones held at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas, and more than 100 other churches around the country. Watermark’s marriage enrichment program, called re|engage, is a 16-week experience that helps couples examine God’s design for marriage and apply biblical principles to guide them toward growth in their relationship with each other. Each week includes music, prayer, teaching or a testimony, and small groups that follow a set study curriculum.
“At the end of the day,” says director John McGee, “re|engage is not about marriage, it’s about discipleship. To be a good disciple, you must have a good marriage.”
The small groups help couples share their truths, and by the end of the 16 weeks, true friendships have developed. An indicator for health is when couples continue meeting together after the end of the official program. “When people really know you,” says, McGee, “they can challenge you, encourage you, root for you, and pray for you.”
To learn how you can host re|engage at your church or find a host church nearby, go to www.marriagehelp.org.