Pastor: New Marriage Outreach Has “Couples Talking to Each Other Again”

More than 65 percent of the 330 registered for this Texas church’s first in-person marriage outreach since the pandemic were not members of the congregation.

The pastor tells us the event, which ended Friday night with a simple marriage devotional, “had couples talking to each other again – some brought to tears.”  More on that in a moment with photos below.

  • This same weekend, a large Catholic parish participating on Communio’s Denver City Platform hosted an at-capacity couples’ comedy night where more than 30 percent were new to the parish.
  • Meanwhile, a major multi-site evangelical church on our Fort Worth City Platform is gearing up for its own full-capacity comedy night, which it will simulcast at live events across all five campuses later this month with food, drinks, games, and childcare.

But before going deeper into these details, check out this new 3-minute animated video on Communio’s model would provide some valuable context for how these outreach events fit into our larger strategy.  It summarizes the Data-Informed, Full-Circle Relationship Ministry™.

The outreach event is just the first programmatic rung of Communio’s Ministry Engagement Ladder™. This is a strategic framework that helps a church design, market, and run a series of experiences that attract couples and individuals from inside the church – and from their surrounding community – and puts them on a multi-step journey into skills-based relationship ministry that strengthens marriage.

Communio consults with churches on the planning and execution of these events and provides digital marketing and outreach services to help them reach those in their community they have not reached before. Our team also helps the church select the right skills-based relationship enrichment content for the final rung of their ladder – the Growth Journey.

So far, churches that run with this model are seeing incredible results:

  • North Richland Hills Baptist Church – On Friday, this large multisite church participating in Communio’s Fort Worth City Platform held its Spring Marriage Night – their first in-person outreach of 2021 (photos below). Scott Maze, North Richland’s Senior Pastor, tells us of the 330 registered, 214 people (65 percent) are not already part of the church!

Their team created an indoor “block party” (originally planned for outdoors but was moved inside due to unexpected rain and cold) in a large event space on their main campus. They had live music, yard games, and a cookout as well as provided low-cost childcare for more than 120 kids – a key best practice Communio recommended the church include to draw in young couples.

“We had many more guests for this event than we had on Easter,said Pastor Scott. “With the way that Communio ran the marketing for us – we were able to find families who perfectly fit the programs of our church. Due to the geo-locating of the advertisements, we were able to meet families who live right around our church but had never been inside the doors.

Toward the end of this fun event, the church incorporated a small dosage of relationship enrichment content in the form of a short devotional talk and questions for couples to work through together.

“With just a basic marriage devotional at the end of the night, we had couples talking to each other again, some brought to tears,” said Pastor Scott. “We found that most couples just wanted to have fun again, they wanted to laugh together and that was one of the best parts of the night.”

It all set up to encourage couples to enroll their kids in summer youth activities and join Re-Engage couples’ groups in the fall – a highly effective, 16-week marriage enrichment program created by leaders at Watermark Church in Dallas.

  • St. Thomas More Catholic Church – On Saturday night, this large Catholic parish participating in Communio’s City Platform project in Denver hosted a sold-out Couples’ Comedy Club as its first-ever, in-person outreach (photo below). More than 30 percent of those in attendance were new to the parish. The St. Thomas team transformed their gym space into a comedy club and brought in Catholic comedians Francis Dilorinzo and Scott Vinci for a clean stand-up routine that lifted up marriage and healthy relationships. They are also provided drinks, desserts, interactive games with fun prizes, and free childcare.

Couples were invited to join the parish’s ongoing engagement next month – the second rung of their engagement ladder – for live music and drinks at a local Denver brewery. It’s here where couples will be invited to join a half-day marriage retreat as a Growth Journey – the third and final rung of their engagement ladder – where practical relationship enrichment skills will be delivered, and marriages are transformed.

  • Fellowship of the Parks – This five-campus multisite on our Fort Worth City Platform is the midst of a major Communio-administered outreach campaign for its big couples comedy night on May 1 – a Rockin’ Date Night. They are bringing in best-selling author, pastor, and comedian Ted Cunningham for a live performance on their main campus, which will be live-streamed across all their other campuses – each of which is hosting in-person events with live music, food, drinks, games, and free childcare.

This major event is the kickoff to an innovative ongoing engagement series they are calling the “Summer Fling” where couples will be challenged to go on at least ten dates (alone together or on a double date without kids) for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid vacation prize.

Couples need to “prove their date night” by emailing or posting a picture on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook with a hashtag mentioning FOTP. The prize will be announced and awarded at a big marriage retreat they’re hosting in the fall – which FOTP is leveraging for the Growth Journey rung of its engagement ladder. Couples need to attend the retreat in order to claim the prize.

Some big things are happening. Communio-supported churches are getting really creative in how they outreach to couples in their communities to draw them into their new Full-Circle Relationship Ministries™.

It’s clear there’s a major pivot happening across our citywide initiatives in the Mile High City and Fort Worth toward marriage and relationship ministry. Similar activities are ramping up in Midland-Odessa, Billings, and through our Church Networks and individuals Church Platforms spanning from Pittsburgh to Spokane.

It’s been a challenging year for many, many families. But churches are answering our Lord’s call to “be light” in this dark time.

For more information or to explore bringing Communio’s model to your city or church, call us at (703) 347-7800 or email us at platform@communio.org. Or visit our website – www.communio.org – for more background on our work.