As a marriage ministry at Watermark Community Church, we try to do four main things with couples. We want to prepare nearlyweds, establish newlyweds, and enrich and restore all marriages. For the last 18 years, we’ve been working to help couples all over the relational spectrum. For the next two days at Watermark (October 16-17), we’ll host over 350 men and women from across the country who want to start or improve their marriage ministries within churches all over the country. Our team is excited to interact with these leaders the next few days!
I wrote this post for one more reason: I’d like for you to pray for us and for the churches we get to serve this week. We all know biblical marriage is under attack in our country. In addition, we keep screwing it up, both inside and outside the church. The stakes are way too high for the church to not respond and lead.
Thank you in advance! I’ll highlight each area of ministry, provide a quick update and fun fact, and ask for specific prayers.
Through a ministry at Watermark called Merge, we’ll get to serve over 1,000 couples this year. About 50% of them go to Watermark, 35% go to other churches, and 15% have no church affiliation whatsoever. We don’t sugar coat the message, so every week couples all over the spiritual spectrum are taught an discipled about God’s design for marriage. Through large group teaching, small group discussion, and homework, couples will learn about and discuss topics such as communication, conflict resolution, sexual intimacy, in-laws, and money.
We have no marketing budget for the class. Couples come through word of mouth. Our BHAG (Big, hairy, audacious goal) is to reach 10% of all couples who get married in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. There’s nothing magical about 10% but we believe we’ll start to see some great changes in our homes and communities if 10% of couples prepare intentionally for marriage.
My friend Lance leads this ministry and we run 8-week and weekend classes to help seriously dating and engaged couples take the best next step in their relationship.
One cool story from Merge. A few years ago, a couple went through Merge. His parents saw the incredible life change in their son so the parents decided to come to Watermark and become members. Through this process, the dad became a follower of Jesus Christ. Since then, they’ve grown in their walk with Jesus and in their marriage. The parents are now serving as mentors in our one of our classes!
Couples come to Merge to prepare for their wedding day. In the process they prepare for marriage. And as only God can do, they actually prepare for eternity!
Prepare for more than just your wedding day.
Bonus Premarried Resource:
I have one other resource to share for premarried ministry and couples. Many of you know I wrote a book called Ready or Knot: 12 Conversations Every Couple Needs to Have before Marriage that came out earlier this year. I am so excited to share that if you have access to RightNow Media that you can check out a 12-part video companion series. The videos (made by RightNow Media) are outstanding. Their team did an incredible job and I hope you enjoy them and learn from them.
At Watermark we take newly married couples and help them build their lives and marriages on the solid rock foundation of Jesus Christ. Through a small group called Foundation Groups, we place five newly married couples in community with a mentor couple for 15-18 months. The mentor couple disciples their newlyweds and helps them put into practice Matthew 7:24-27. This year around 500 couples will be in a Foundation Group. That means we’ll get to help about 1,000 newlyweds start their marriages the right way!
Our mentor couples disciple them and pour into them. The mentor couples are not perfect examples, but living examples of what it’s like to pursue Jesus and your spouse. We take them through a curriculum designed to help them grow in areas where couples typically struggles (i.e., money, sex, communication). They encourage and challenge each other and have a whole lot of fun.
We think we see at least one divorce spared per Foundation Group. The groups aren’t perfect, but we keep it real.
The best stories we see in Foundation Groups with our newlyweds are in the big picture boring stories!
- Couples will get up 30 minutes early every day to read their Bibles and pray together.
- Couples will buy a home based on one income instead of two so they’re not strapped financially and in massive debt.
- Men and women who come into marriage with all kinds of sexual baggage through pornography and abuse end up having healthy, exciting physical intimacy in marriage.
I love these boring stories. They don’t blow us away, but they’re the best kind of stories around!
Enrich and Restore All Marriages
Through events such as date nights, marriage conferences, and equipping classes, we hope to help couples grow and strengthen their marriages. We need to be reminded to do the basics, to do the things we did in the beginning of our marriages. Through enrichment we remind couples to do the things they did in the beginning – date nights, romance, communication, spontaneity, and much more. Marriage is to be enjoyed (Ecclesiastes 9:9a). We didn’t have to choose between enjoying life and being married. The two are not mutually exclusive!
We also strengthen and enrich marriages through a ministry called re|engage. Which leads me to restoration.
Through a powerful ministry we do called re|engage we help couples reignite, reconnect, and resurrect their marriages. re|engage is unique in that the Lord uses a combination of worship, teaching and testimonies, and small groups led by married mentor couples to change marriages. Like everything else we do, we hope to make disciples through re|engage. Currently over 300 churches across the country offer re|engage.
As mentioned above, re|engage is not just for restoration (i.e., couples about to divorce, infidelity, etc…). It’s also for enrichment of marriages! re|engage is a great place for community groups to grow their marriages together and for couples to grow in oneness.
re|engage meets every Wednesday night on our Dallas Campus.
Here’s a cool story about re|engage. A few weeks ago, a woman was asking for recommendations for a marriage counselor in Dallas. She got some recommendations, but the majority of women pointed the couple to re|engage. I don’t know the faith of this woman, but I love that many people online recommended re|engage to them to help grow their marriage.
As mentioned above, around 350 men and women will come to Watermark October 16-17 to join us at our training conference. Please pray for the conference, for the attendees, and for our team. They’ll get to learn how to start these ministries in their churches back home, and more than anything I pray we’ll be able to mutually encourage each other to serve couples all over the relational spectrum.
Pray that our team and our couples would grasp the depth and beauty of Ephesians 5:31-32. Paul writes:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Thank you for praying!
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