As we both sat chatting and finishing our soup, I could see wheels turning in his mind. He was committed to the importance of making marriage and family ministry a priority but was wrestling with how their church could add one other thing to the already packed church schedule. I saw a faint smile cross his face. His eyebrows shot up and he exclaimed, “I really like that! You are saying the Central Arkansas Marriage Initiative can come alongside our church and help us integrate marriage and family ministry into our existing ministry structures and it will actually strengthen every ministry.” Yes, that’s it. The Central Arkansas Marriage Initiative is not a call to add more to a church’s schedule, its goal is to encourage and serve churches as they strengthen marriage and relationship ministry in their unique setting.
In that spirit, we have two recommendations that could give your marriage ministries a boost as we begin the new year.
First, February 7th marks the start of National Marriage Week, an annual campaign that brings together churches, organizations, and individuals to build stronger marriages. The research is clear: marriage leads to greater wealth, health, longevity, and happiness, and provides the best outcomes for raising children and reducing poverty. As you consider marriage ministry in your church, would you explore the resources offered at their website https://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org and discover ways you use Valentine’s Day as a way to emphasize the importance of marriage.
Second, we encourage you to read John Van Epp’s and J.P. De Gance’s book Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America. It is the inspirational story of how churches working together in Jacksonville, Florida lowered the divorce rate in their city by 24% in three years and the lessons learned. Backed by strong research and powerful testimony we believe this resource is both important and timely for the churches in our community.