If you’ve been involved in church marriage ministry, you know it’s not for the faint of heart. After all, the health, happiness, and general wellbeing of a family hang in the balance when a marriage is struggling. Your church can play an important role in helping strengthen marriages in your church and community, but it definitely takes some planning. So, how can you help couples in your church and community build stronger, Christ-centered relationships? Here are a few marriage ministry ideas to get you started:
1. Host a Parents’ Night Out
Time is precious, and once a couple has children, there often never seems to be enough of it to go around. Because of this, date nights tend to go by the wayside as couples struggle to balance prioritizing their relationship with raising kids.
That’s where you come in! Hosting a monthly “Parents’ Night Out” at your church can help give parents the window they need to focus on each other for a few hours. Have parents drop off their kids at church for an evening of fun activities like crafts, movies, and music. They can head out to enjoy an uninterrupted date night while their kids are safe and entertained.
This is a great opportunity for members of your church without young children to bless parents in that particular stage of life. Make sure you have enough adult volunteers to properly supervise everything, but recruit some teenagers from your youth group to help out, too.
Have a variety of craft supplies, games, movies, and snacks available for kids. If you manage to get those volunteers from the youth group, put them in charge of creating some fun, silly activities that will delight kids. After all, if the kids have fun, parents will be much more likely to participate in the event every month!
2. Create a Couples Library
Create a designated spot in your church where couples can find free resources that will help them cultivate a healthy marriage. This can be as simple as a few bookshelves filled with books, DVDs, workbooks, and any other marriage ministry tools your church wants to invest in. Choose a variety of resources that tackle a range of topics such as strengthening marriage, surviving infidelity, managing finances, and other common challenges.
You can even attach a business card inside the front cover of each resource that has the contact information for the person in your ministry who handles marriage counseling. This gives couples a person to call if they realize they need professional help. Establish a simple check out system (consider using the honor system to give people anonymity if they’re seeking resources to help with tough marital issues they may not be ready to disclose).
3.Host a Church Date Night
Offer couples a place to go for a date night that won’t break their budget by hosting a date night at your church. There are lots of options to choose from: screen a romantic movie, host an inspiring speaker, or bring in a Christian comedian. Whatever you choose, make it fun! The goal is to give couples a worry-free night where they can relax and enjoy themselves.
You can make the night even more special by providing a meal beforehand. Dress up your dining area with nice tablecloths, candles, flowers, and music. If possible, provide onsite childcare. Not only will this be a huge blessing to families on a tight budget, but it makes the whole evening streamlined. Couples can drop off their kids and know they’re taken care of, which frees them up to focus totally on each other.
Hosting date nights can be a big endeavor, so start with a manageable schedule – try aiming for once per quarter. This will give you time to recruit volunteers, choose the night’s entertainment, and get any other logistics sorted out.
4. Set up a Couples Mentoring Program
You probably have a great pre-marital counseling program, and options for couples to receive post-marital counseling, too. But, have you considered setting up a program where couples mentor other couples? Pairing engaged or newlywed couples with couples in your church that have strong, time-tested marriages is a fantastic way to help newer couples get advice from people who have been in their shoes.
Anything from casual coffee dates to dinners hosted in the home provide the chance for new couples to gain insight on what it really takes to make a marriage work. Older couples can offer wisdom on how to overcome challenges that would otherwise prove to be barriers to a lasting partnership.
Marriage is certainly a gift from God, but that doesn’t mean it’s without challenges. If you start developing a positive and supportive marriage ministry at your church, you’ll bless couples and strengthen families. As you implement these marriage ministry ideas and help couples seek God in their marriages, they’ll be able to nurture strong relationships that can endure for life.