Friday, April 26, 2013

The Missing Link: Marriage Ministry in the Local Church - Ted Lowe

Today I attended Ted Lowe's workshop
The Missing Link: Marriage Ministry in the Local Church

Here are my notes.

Why is Marriage the Church's Business?

Reasons Churches Want to Help Marriages
We want kids to grow up in "good" homes.
We want families to win.
Marriage reflects the relationship between Christ and the church.

Best Reason for Church's Involvement
Marriage is a spiritual issue; God designed marriage to make us more like Jesus. Marriage is the church's business because transformation is the church's business. (Ephesians 5)

Church Approaches to Marriage that Fall Short

The Hands Off Approach: Many churches do little or nothing to help marriages because of the pace of ministry or because they don't feel a need.

The Topical Approach: Some churches view marriage as a topic to be covered; so they address it through various "one-offs" - a sermon series, a study, an event, or a book.

The Reactionary Approach: Other churches spend time and resources on marriage, but they focus solely on couples in crisis - waiting until marriages are in trouble before offering help, rather than taking a proactive approach that could help couples avoid crisis in the first place.

A New Strategic Approach

A Proactive Approach: A proactive approach - a strategy - is more effective than a topical or reactionary approach.

Paradigm Shifts: Changing from one of these historical marriage ministry approaches to a proactive approach requires some paradigm shifts.

It requires moving:

- from an intervention mindset to one of empowerment
- from isolation to relationship
- from curriculum to experience
- from children's ministry to family ministry
- from secondary to signature
- from feminine to masculine and feminine
- from comprehensive to consistent
- from programs to processes

The Married People Core 4 Habits: From the precious few verses in the Bible on marriage come the Core 4 Habits we believe are necessary to all strong marriages.

Have serious fun (Proverbs 5)
Respect and Love (Ephesians 5)
Love God first (Matthew 22:37)
Practice your promise (Proverbs 5:18; Malachi 2:15)

The MarriedPeople Strategy: Because marriage is a process, the MarriedPeople Strategy is designed to encourage and empower couples on a consistent basis - no matter where they are in their marriages. This shift is what makes MarriedPeople a proactive approach, not a topical or reactionary one.

It leverages these environments to reach couples:
- Larger Group Experiences (vision casting, outreach, inspiration)
- Small Group Experiences (community, accountability, faith building)
- Individual Couple Experiences (dates designed to help couples spend time together)

Get Started: Practical Steps Leaders Can Implement Immediately

Step 1: Get 2-6 couples who are perfect but have found hope amidst their struggles. Get them to help you lead the charge in implementing a marriage strategy. (Titus 2:2-8)

Step 2: Meet with leaders (senior and middle leadership, key volunteer couples) to dream, and to establish what you hope to accomplish through a marriage strategy.

Step 3: Take 1-3 first steps to accomplishing your dream.

Taking a strategic approach toward marriages will greatly impact your church!

After serving as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, Ted Lowe recently started an organization called MarriedPeople. MarriedPeople is partnering with Reggie Joiner and Orange to create resources and training tools for leaders that work with married couples. Ted lives in Cumming, Georgia, with his four favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their three children. 
Twitter: @married_people

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