Where to start? What do we do?
Step 1: Decide who will lead the sessions.
It could be the Pastor, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are the Pastor, don’t think implementing these sessions will fall solely on your shoulders. You could save yourself a lot of ministry hours if there is a gifted person who could facilitate these programs. As the Pastor, you certainly may be the one to lead because you want to be hands on, but don’t feel like you have to be.
Step 2: Decide when to start each program.
We recommend doing three programs a year. To determine when to do them, look at your calendar and determine what makes the most sense for your church. You could do one program each in the Fall, Winter and Spring, and then take the summer off, when most families are busiest.
Think in terms of a strategic calendar for outreach. When is your biggest outreach event? Those events will give you a great opportunity to recruit new people to attend these marriage enrichment programs.
Step 3: Decide which program to begin with.
Below you will see the three current courses that are available for viewing. Your group should start with one course, and complete it before moving on to the next. If you’re unsure of which course to start with, we recommend completing them in the order below.
Step 4: Decide on the schedule for each program.
Each course has between 5 and 6 sessions, with each session ranging from about 55-90 minutes. We suggest that whenever you begin the first program, you do one session per week for 5 weeks. What you’ll find is that the group comes together better and there’s more continuity that way.
The time you do this will depend on the drive pattern of your church. We recommend sometime in the early evening, around 6:00 p.m., so that couples can go out on a date afterwards. One good option is Wednesday evenings; it’s in the middle of the week and can serve as a good recharge time for couples.
After you finish each program, encourage each couple to spend one month focusing on what they learned in each weekly session, and how they can put it into practice.
Step 5: Promote the program
When promoting the program, just keep it simple. Put the five dates you will host the program on a poster and put those same dates in your newsletters. Make sure to tell people what your plan is to help them get ready before each session. Make sure to also share any babysitter possibilities, or a baby-sitter routine. And finally, share the date-night idea for couples to do after each session.
Bonus Step: Use this for Outreach and Small Group Ministry
If your church has small group ministry, then out of these marriage events, members that participated in each of these 5 week programs can continue another 5 week program as a small group of couples.Their agenda each week is going back to what they learned, the workbook and the same content (this time without the video) and telling each other:
- How they’ve grown.
- What they’re struggling with.
- Ideas they found that are practical that they’ve practiced.
- It becomes a small group resource.