Writing you from a sunrise flight in seat 31B on United 424 en route to San Francisco.
It’s a big week for Communio starting in California to speak to one of the nation’s most influential Catholic bishops and all of his priests followed by a Wednesday run to the DFW and Midland to meet with a group of pastors from some of the largest evangelical churches in Texas.
Meanwhile, Communio-supported churches in Denver, Kansas City, and Billings leveraged our turn-key marketing services to launch a post-Labor Day blitz of outreach campaigns that drew in more than 3,900 people from their surrounding communities not already connected to their churches. Many churches layered in door-to-door outreach using Communio’s new mobile block-walking software to reach a target audience of families with young children with personal invitations to their Outreach Events.
It’s a gospel-centered “ground game” that rivals the sophistication of many political campaigns.
More on that in a moment …
Did you see Pew’s latest research that showed Christians could be on course to make up just 35 percent of the entire US population in a few decades? My message to pastors and priests in San Francisco and around the nation hits this directly.
I’ll join our team later today and present to every priest in the Archdiocese of San Francisco about the social science data that shows the collapse of marriage and family structure is playing the causal-role in this cultural revolution.
Right now, we’re compiling a new national report built from our church surveys of active Sunday attendees – we’ll publish this report before the end of the year.
Since June of this year, we passed the 10,000 completed survey mark of those sitting in the pews. Among Communio’s church partners, the reality is, regardless of age, the overwhelming majority of people who regularly attend church today grew up in homes with continuously married parents.
When we publish the findings, I’ll share the exact percent with you – it will shock you.
If you want to know why Christianity is on the decline – and much of American culture – the source resides in the collapse of marriage.
Period. Full stop.
This coming report, which Communio will leverage to shift mindsets among church leaders, further validates the central thesis of my recent book Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America.
While almost all church leaders say that marriage is of central importance – 85 percent of all churches do not actually put any of their money there.
You and I place money behind what we value. And, to borrow from Maury Povich, the survey shows church leaders just don’t value marriage.
Oof. Sound tough?
Well, we just don’t have time for bubble-wrapped messages.
In a few hours I’ll land at SFO to share this message and I’ll lead workshops with priests on what they can do about it. We’ll introduce our proven model to equip churches to become evangelizing hubs that foster healthy marriages and relationships.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is one of the nation’s most influential Catholic bishops. His team invited us to participate in their first “convocation” of priests since 2019. Our great friends at the Catholic Leadership Institute have done a phenomenal job of organizing and leading it – Tim Flanagan and Dan Cellucci are first-class leaders of a first-class organization.
Now, today’s journey to the land of cashless bail and tasty wine follows several great days in Austin last week where I joined two members of our team for meetings with the senior leadership of eight of the capital city’s largest evangelical churches.
These eight churches combine for more than 30,000 weekly attendees.
The goal in all of this is to catalyze a movement through churches in the Texas capital, the Bay area of California, and in our nation’s largest cities to become evangelizing hubs of healthy marriages and relationships.
Come Holy Spirit.
All of this is part of Communio’s National Strategy to Save the Family where our team will work with high-influence churches in the largest cities ultimately to reach Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point by the end of the decade where churches become culturally transformative hubs for healthy relationship and marriages.
There’s a lot rolling right now as this strategy plays out.
Consider that Q3, which ends this week, is our slowest quarter of the year. And still, churches will have executed 31 skills-based Growth Journeys and 23 Outreach events during these summer months.
In just this slow summer quarter, Communio enabled churches to deploy …
Last week, we even helped our first church integrate Communio Insight’s® newly upgraded door-to-door mobile block walking software. That was out at Parkhill Baptist Church – our phenomenal partner in Billings, Montana.
Their team of 14 volunteers and staff hit more than 300 doors over four hours armed with door hangers and a warm invitation to last weekend’s block party. They visited all the married and cohabiting couples with children under age 10 who were within one mile of the church.
This was all part of Parkhill running Communio’s multi-channel marketing campaign focused on couples.
Now, this is a small church – before we launched our partnership with them, they were at 120 weekly attendees. They are now up to 145 attendees. They have been deploying the RAM Series as a church-wide skills curriculum for everyone – young, old, single and married – and moved nearly every adult in the church through it. They’re sending a team to get certified on a training Communio is organizing in Billings of the nation’s single most effective marriage skills resource.
Sounds like a bold claim – Will have more on that resource in a moment.
On Saturday, Parkhill Church, as part of continuing with our Full-Circle Relationship Ministry® model, had 473 registrations from people outside the church for their Outreach Event.
Think about that.
This is a church that had more than three times the number of folks register for this outreach than attend the church. No wonder this church is seeing 20 percent growth over 24 months.
Now, back to what I said about the nation’s most effective marriage resource. To do this, let’s fly over to the Mile High City of Denver …
Communio is working closely with 23 churches – nearly half Protestant and half Catholic – to build a movement among churches. We feel the time is right to upgrade the skills-based resources these partners are using over the long term.
So, our team recently coordinated with these churches to hold a retreat and training October 7-9 to get church teams certified on Adventures in Marriage.
This was the cornerstone program for our work in Jacksonville, Florida. Recent research from the Air Force found that this was the most effective marriage skills curriculum in existence. Its “dosage effect” was more powerful 12 months after completing it than every other program they studied.
Wellspring Church, a growing Anglican church, is hosting this training for our coalition of partners.
They are one of our best partners in Denver. Their leadership has internalized the importance of evangelizing through healthy relationships and marriages.
This has included the church recently hiring a couple to run their Full-Circle Relationship Ministry®. They filled to capacity their next iteration of the Marriage Course by Alpha.
Now, a key objective in our church-based model is to cause people to run to relationship and marriage ministry rather than run from it.
And, let’s face it – most people run from it. It’s why our model and approach is so critical.
We equip churches with playbooks, training, and resources to mix-in the right dosage of fun and practical resources that a church begins to see relationship ministry as their most popular ministry.
Wellspring’s executive pastor has had some great feedback to share with us:
“You’ve helped us develop a plan to create a culture of marital and relational health and to bring the surrounding community into this as well …It has been amazing to meet so many people from the surrounding neighborhoods through events, through invitations to our services, through marriage classes, etc. who have come to our church because of the support of Communio.”
Since our partnership began, this church has already seen 12 percent growth in average Sunday attendance.
This is a very small slice of what our generous donors are helping Communio accomplish.