How does your church respond to a marriage in crisis?
How do you continue to strengthen
marriages in your church?
Marriages are struggling and dissolving at an alarming rate even in our churches. Many times church leadership feels as though there is very little they can do about it. Instead of standing by helplessly, the church can provide an environment for nurturing, enriching and restoring marriages.
Is your church prepared to help marriages when a couple in crisis calls? Some churches are able to respond to a couple in crisis. However, most churches do not have any type of marriage program in place.
If yours does, the question is: Is your church’s response effective? If your church has no program in place, it is missing an opportunity to impact a couple and their family for eternity.
Helping marriages in crisis provides the church with an opportunity to impact couples’ lives and their relationship with God that may not have occurred otherwise. A couple’s crisis can open the door for the church to develop a relationship with them, and minister to them, as well as getting them involved with others, such as in Bible studies and small groups. How the church is prepared to respond will determine if the couple will continue to stay connected with the church.
What is often missing in a church’s response to a couple in crisis is an effective process that addresses the specific needs of the couple and walks through the process of healing with them.
Bridge To Life Ministries has worked with marriages in crisis for 31 years. From our years of experience, BTL offers No Marriage Left Behind, a lay-led ministry model process to help churches offer an effective and systematic response to couples in crisis and how to continue to follow through with a couple’s healing. Bridge To Life offers resources for churches to come alongside a couple in crisis and to strengthen marriages.
No Marriage Left Behind offers churches the following resources to minister to marriages. For training dates and information check Events on our website.
1. First Response Kit – Provides steps in how the church can respond to a marriage in crisis within 24 hours of receiving a spouse’s call. The kit includes a DVD of other couples’ stories on how they found healing; along with a booklet with immediate steps couples can take to begin healing their marriage. (Will be available Summer of 2014).
2. Journey of Intimacy Series – Bridge To Life offers a series of marriage course materials that take couples on a journey of building intimate marriage relationships. The fist course, The Heart & Soul of a Real Marriage, is a 12-lesson study that takes a couple on a journey that examines the deeper wounds that each spouse carries into their relationship. This study offers practical, biblical based resources to help couples on their journey of intimacy.
3. Training – BTL offers training for:
- Church staff and lay couples on how to respond to marriages in crisis and how to set up a response team.
- Implementing The Heart & Soul of a Real Marriage program.
- Learning to use The Heart & Soul series in couple-to-couple mentoring, small groups, and classes. The Heart & Soul of a Real Marriage series is available on DVD.
- Click here for training class information.
4. Couple-to-Couple Marriage Mentoring – BTL helps lay couples set up a mentoring ministry where they walk along side a struggling couple providing hope, encouragement and healing.
A Word to Pastors/Church Staff
When a couple calls for help in the midst of a marriage crisis, it can demand a lot of your time. Using the No Marriage Left Behind program allows you to have a formal strategy for responding to marriages with the help of your trained lay-led volunteers.
A Word to Lay Leader Couples
So you have a passion to help marriages in your church and community? You want to be a part of your church’s marriage ministry or you want to help get one started. Your marriage can be used by God to bring healing to other couples that are struggling and to strengthen marriages that need someone to walk beside them.
Share with your pastor or church staff your desire to be a part of the church’s marriage ministry. Let them know that you are willing to be trained and your level of commitment. Visit Bridge To Life’s website for more information on how to get started and trained.
Advantages of using No Marriage Left Behind
• Frees up pastoral time by eliminating endless hours of hearing couple’s stories of hurt and anger. The program provides them with immediate resources designed to help each spouse examine their marriage and begin work on their individual issues.
• Gives you confidence to refer couples in crisis to your church’s trained lay leaders who have a passion to see marriages healed; with the assurance that the struggling couple will be helped by attending a program within their own church.
• Have a customized on-site marriage program to meet your church’s needs to assist marriages. The program can be used in a one-on-one couple setting; a small group, or in a large class setting. The key is that it is an ongoing program available to help a couple at any time.
• Enables your church to launch a marriage ministry and provide ongoing support and outreach to married couples in or from outside your church.
• Provides an opportunity for evangelism and helping individuals in their spiritual growth.
• Receive ongoing support and training from BTL on a quarterly
basis. Meetings with BTL include new teaching resources and discussion with other church marriage ministries as they share what they are doing.
What does Divorce costs your church?
• Dissolution of families
• Loss of opportunity to minister to the children
• Divisiveness in the church people taking sides
• Affects other families & marriages
• Encourages others to divorce
• If not handled well, some people may leave the church
• Sends the message that the church is no longer relevant
• Reputation of the church is hurt
• Loss of volunteers & leadership
• Confidentiality – loss of trust
• Consumes staff time – hinders ministry
• Loss of financial support
How To Get Started
Bridge To Life offers No Marriage Left Behind, two and one half day training course to help your church start a marriage ministry. Click here for training class information. The training includes, how to implement the First Response Program, how to use The Heart & Soul of a Real Marriage course and Couple-to-Couple Marriage Mentoring. Check our website, www.BridgeToLife.org, for training dates and locations. Special arrangements can be made for training to be conducted in your church or area. You may call us with your specific questions, 1-800-716-3677.