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It was an answer to prayers.

The pastor at this one Montana church just wrapped up a six-week sermon series on marriage and healthy relationships. More than 100 people moved from those sermons into new small groups where they received more than 8 hours of skills-based ministry over 6 weeks to improve marriage health.

One of those 100 was a married couple at Chapel of Hope looking for a marriage boost:

“I had been specifically praying for ways to solidify my marriage – a path,” said a woman who joined a group with her husband. “Ask and you shall receive indeed! This series takes what we know to be right, what we want and need and hands us the foundational brick on which to build and maintain unshakable bonds of marriage. Blueprints even this simple woman can follow! The Lord is moving in my life! God is Good! All the time!” 

This strategy and skills content was part of Communio’s recommended plan of action at Chapel of Hope.

Pastors share little moments of transformation like this with us every day. Collectively, these little moments are changing family legacies. And, they are playing out in Communio-supported churches across the country that are adopting our Full-Circle Relationship Ministry® model.

That model really boils down to two main concepts: helping a church “Get Them Here” and “Getting Them to Grow”.

To make that happen, Communio equips a church to develop its own Ministry Engagement Ladder®. This is the church equivalent to a “customer acquisition” strategy in business. The ladder has four rungs – Invitation, Outreach, Ongoing Engagement, and the Growth Journey – all designed to help a church move a large group of people into greater relationship health and achieve measurable Ministry Outcomes (goals) they set for themselves.

Communio helps churches “get them here” through the invitation and outreach phases. This means providing multi-channel marketing services to help the church make targeted invitations into their community to fun Outreach Events and providing consultative support on event strategy and execution.

From here, churches can move attendees into Ongoing Engagements and Growth Journeys to “get them to grow”.

Back at Chapel of Hope in Billings, Pastor Rick and his team are rapidly moving their congregants into that Growth Journey phase.

More than 100 have already completed the RAM series in small groups – a multi-week skills-based program developed by Dr. John Van Epp and recommended by Communio for churches with an established small group infrastructure. Chapel of Hope was so impressed with the turnout, they have already scheduled two more rounds of small groups to launch in the first half of 2022 that will utilize this curriculum.

“I was unsure about the whole Communio process,” said Pastor Rick at Chapel of Hope. “Mainly because I wasn’t sure where my current congregants were at in their relationships. So, bringing in a ton of new and possibly unhealthy relationships into the congregation sounded like a workload I would have to primarily shoulder.

BUT then I invested some time looking into Dr. John Van Epp’s R.A.M. series [recommended by Communio]. In his curriculum I found an amazing source to get my people healthier in their relationships AND prepare them to then help those who come through the Communio outreach structure. We are diving in with both feet and looking forward to what God will do in us and then THROUGH us!”

Chapel of Hope is just one of 20 churches participating on our Montana Platform that will grow to support more than 50 churches statewide over the next two years.

Just in Billings, over the last few weeks…

  • Faith E is rolling attendees from its late summer “Church at the Zoo” outreach and subsequent fall Ongoing Engagements into their next round of Growth Journey content in 2022, the Marriage Course – a seven-week, plug-and-play video series that teaches couples skills around communication, conflict resolution, and intimacy. Faith E has already run four rounds of this course throughout 2021 through its small group network for more than 100 people. They are gearing up for 300 to participate in their 2022 launch.
  • Pastor Vern at Harvest Church – the second largest church in Montana – finished a six-week sermon series they called “Relational Rx” that moved 450 people to participate in one of 10 RAM series small groups. In November, the church also launched a pre-marital class focused on drawing in cohabitating couples and orienting them toward marriage. The church has seven couples currently participating in the program with a goal of officiating marriages for all of them at a “Grand Wedding Day” on New Year’s Eve. The church is organizing a wedding ceremony and reception.
  • Emmanuel Baptist is hosting its first couples Outreach Event in February 2022. They are planning to bring in a famous illusionist and magician for a fun date night out and will leverage the event to invite couples to monthly date nights at the church. Communio is still helping the Emmanuel team solidify these subsequent events with a goal of orienting them toward RAM series small groups for the Growth Journey in 2022.

This is just a quick sketch of progress in Yellowstone County, Montana.  Last week, multiple churches in Colorado and Texas registered more than a 1,000 people for their December relationship ministry outreach events. These are moving couples into ongoing engagements and skills-based growth journeys where relationship health is transformed.

Communio is advancing toward a tipping point in American churches where more and more pastors see their churches as hubs for relationship and marital health – both for their memberships and for their communities.  Achieving this vision will allow churches to save marriage and the family in our time.

And the stakes couldn’t be higher.

In 1960, just 28 percent of households were single-headed households.  Today, that number is nearly 50 percent, which means many children lack the presence of healthy marriage and good father in their life on a daily basis.

These churches are working to turn back that tide.

Communio is a nonprofit ministry that consults with churches to save marriage and the family. We equip churches with proven strategies and turn-key marketing services to strengthen relationships at each stage of romantic life – for singles, the engaged, married, and those with marriages in need. Learn more at www.communio.org or contact us at platform@communio.org or 703.347.7800.

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Two trends have long made it a challenge for couples to maintain a strong connection over the course of their marriage. Couples tend to get progressively more comfortable with each other over time. At the same time, the burdens they are asked to carry get heavier and heavier.

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