The week before last we attended and presented at the AMFM (Association of Marriage and Family Ministries) conference in Dallas, Texas. The hosting church was Watermark Community Church. During the week they gave us an opportunity to visit their marriage ministry, Reengage. http://www.watermark.org/adults/marriage-ministry/reengage/
I really thought the design of the ministry was great. It was targeted for all types of marriages -ones that were healthy, struggling ones and marriages of any length, other than maybe just newly married which had a different program. They meet once a week year round. Couples can start attending at anytime. The evening starts off in a big group with worship and then a marriage testimony or a short teaching about marriage. After that the couples break into small groups.
Those who are attending for the first time stay in the main room and are given an introduction to Reengage. After that they can attend a group that is open to more people. They attend the “open” group for a couple of weeks or so. Once they have been consistently attending the open group and are ready to make a more serious commitment, they are assigned to a newly formed small group.
Once the new small group is formed it lasts for 24 weeks with the same people and is considered a “closed” group. Each small group has a lead couple that teaches the curriculum. Couples are able to share authentically in these smaller groups. After 24 weeks couples are integrated back into the overall ministry of the church. Some go on to become leaders of Reengage small groups.
The marriage team leadership takes a pretty hands-off attitude towards the small groups. If an individual group wants to lengthen their 24 weeks, or doesn’t get totally through a lesson in a given week because of ministering to a situation, that is no problem. If a situation arises in the small group that the leader is not comfortable handling, then the more senior leadership gets involved.
Things that impressed me about what they laid out was that the lessons were very scriptural, worship was included, leaders were trusted, and attendees could progress into the groups at their own pace. Also, it was an outreach to the community. Many of the couples there did not attend Watermark Church and quite a few were not Christians. It is just encouraging to see a church so proactively supporting marriage in a real thought-out way.