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Pornography crept into their marriage.

His wife found out about it. And a feeling of betrayal set in.

After months of unmet expectations on both sides, their marriage was pushed to a breaking point.

But, over the last few weeks, this marriage has made a big move toward health and vitality as a result of Communio’s work.  More about that in just a moment.

We’re mere days into this “fall semester” and partnering churches have launched a wave of relationship and marital health ministry across the country.

Fifteen large-scale outreach events, the first rung of Communio’s Ministry Engagement Ladder®, are planned in just the next few weeks.  Most of Communio’s roughly 70 parent churches across 100 or so church sites have laid out plans to launch the second and third rungs of their engagement ladders with ongoing engagement and growth journey experiences.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s happening in each of our four city platforms:

Fort Worth

Four large churches are moving forward with major outreach events for couples in their community.

  • Lighthouse Fellowship, a Methodist church in the community, has worked with Communio’s City Director to design a Couples’ Backyard Bash with child care, live music, and food trucks.
  • North Richland Hills Baptist and its satellite campus, Cross Church, are targeting men with their Tailgate Sunday.  The church is incorporating creative relationship education components into this big event.
  • The Hills Church, the largest Church of Christ congregation in the nation, is leveraging Communio’s marketing services to target the engaged and seriously dating with their Nearly Wed Seminar.

Denver

Twenty-one Catholic and Protestant churches are launching a series of outreach, ongoing engagement and growth journey events across the metro area.

With the support of Jo Holt, Communio’s director of parish engagement, Our Lady of Lourdes made relationship health the central focus of their popular summer young adult series: Gathering at the Grotto.

  • With roughly 400 in attendance for each gathering, Lourdes held a talk in June for singles on healthy dating. In July, the talk was on marriage with the hosts of the popular podcast – the Messy Family Project. In August, they had Scott and Anne Powell speak to married couples on how to be on mission, and in September they are hosting best-selling author Dr. Leonard Saks on the collapse of the family.

With Jo’s help, the pastor and their core team are launching this fall CoupleTalk and Alpha’s Marriage Course as the two primary skills-based programs for the parish.  She is also working with them to get the effective marriage prep program Witness to Love rolling at the popular wedding location.

Meanwhile, Jo’s evangelical counterpart in Denver, Trevor Lee, is consulting with churches and equipping them with Communio’s marketing services to run their own fall outreach.

  • New Denver Church and Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church are collaborating to bring in an out-of-town Christian comedian to host Couples Comedy Date Nights on consecutive dates.
  • Wellspring Anglican, Restoration Church and Elevation Church have outreaches planned for the fall.

Midland

Golf Course Road Church held a major Outreach event this past Saturday for the community, a Comedy Date Night for couples with the Christian comedian Jason Earls.  Leveraging Communio’s marketing support through the Permian City Platform, more than 130 showed up for the event with more than half of the participants coming from outside of their church’s membership.

“Sometimes couples just need some time to sit together and laugh,” said Ryan Rampton, a pastor at GCR. “We were so glad to provide that for a diverse group of couples in Midland. More than half the audience were not members of our church and to connect with members of our community was probably one of the best parts of the evening.” 

With the help of their Communio consultant, GCR has scheduled their next ongoing engagement event and promoted three growth journey experiences, which are skills-based relationship education programs, for the fall semester.

Billings

Leveraging Communio’s marketing support, Faith E held a successful outreach event at the nearby zoo for couples and families with 1,100 or so folks who came out.

Harvest Church, the second largest church in the city and one of the five largest in the state, is launching a six-week sermon series and small group skills-curriculum leveraging Dr. John Van Epp’s RAM Series on relationship health on October 10.  Prior to the launch of the series, Communio will run a three-week marketing campaign to drive online and in-person attendance.  They will bring in former Denver Bronco wide receiver Vance Johnson who will speak on healthy relationships on October 3.

The flurry of churches deploying Communio’s Ministry Engagement Ladder is both increasing church and relationship ministry participation and also leading to lives changed.

And, ultimately, that is the end goal of every Full-Circle Relationship Ministry® that a church launches.  This brings me back to the couple mentioned at the beginning of this article.

According to the wife, they had been at each other’s throats in recent months.  She had begun to despair that their marriage would never improve.  Because of Communio’s marriage crisis guidance, the couple was referred to the Marriage Team, which facilitates live, video coaching through mentor couples in other states.

On intake, the wife rated her marriage as a 3 out of 10.  But, after attending a series of live video sessions together with a trained coach, the pair is on a road to recovery.

“I was given the tools to overcome differences, strong emotions, conflicts, and stagnation in our relationship and the relationship turned more into a teamwork experience,” the wife recorded on her evaluation sheet. “Dealing with anger and resentment, we felt helpless to change and stuck in toxic behaviors.

“Now, we see each other as a team and put more time and effort into each other and use the tools we’ve learned to solve problems.”

The marriage isn’t a 10 out of 10, but she did move the marriage to a passing grade of 7 out of 10 after completing the program and applying learned skills together in the home.

In this time where churches and families are learning to live with the coronavirus as part of our day-to-day reality, Communio is placing a new priority on equipping churches with a marriage-in-crisis game plan.

Ultimately, the crisis our nation faces lies in the home. Fundamentally, America faces a family crisis.

And, Communio is equipping the church to solve it.

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