June 1st, 2012 at 6:00 am
If you want to give a gift to married people in your community, what do you do? Whether they are confessing Christians or not, you know that they need engaging, biblical instruction in key areas of married life such as communication, conflict resolution, finances, intimacy and spiritual life. You know that they want an escape from over-scheduled, stressful lives filled with managing their marriage but careers, children, relatives and financial shortfalls. What gift will best match their needs and wants?
Our answer is MARRIAGE in 3D: Dinner, Dessert and Devotion. We encourage couples to go to dinner together (I used to tell the men to take their wives wherever they think she’s worth…until I took my wife through the Sonic Drive-In line!). Then we meet on our church campus for an excellent dessert (cheesecake and chocolate fountains have been favorites of ours!). Finally, we deepen our devotion to our spouse by watching one session of a video teaching from a marriage enrichment seminar (such as Mark Gungor’s Laugh Your Way To a Better Marriage).
Dinner, dessert and devotion comprise the three “D’s” of Marriage in 3D. While we do not pay for the couple’s dinner together, we give the rest of the evening to them as a gift and encourage them to share that gift with their friends.
The response from couples in our church and community has been overwhelmingly positive. Over and over again, I hear from church and non-churched couples alike how grateful they are for an opportunity to strengthen their marriage. While we don’t give the gift of Marriage in 3D expecting anything in return, we have seen Marriage in 3D attenders on Saturday become regular attenders in our worship and Sunday schools on Sunday.
Thinking about hosting your own Marriage in 3D in your city? Here are a few lessons we’ve learned along the way.
1. If using a video teaching, always get permission and/or pay for a viewing license from the presenter before committing to the series.
2. If you’re not an interior decorator, get a team of people to create a beautiful setting. “Context is king” in executing an event as well as exegeting Scripture!
3. Provide low cost childcare with engaging learning and play opportunities. Every moment counts!
4. Choose teaching segments that can stand on their own, so people who miss an evening won’t feel like they’re behind.
5. Schedule your sessions five to seven weeks apart so that couples don’t feel like they’re making a once a month commitment. This will also give plenty of time to promote the next session.
6. Have fun!!! Married life can be hard work. Let these moments be full of joy.
7. Pray that as marriages are strengthened your community would be strengthened and that the good news of Jesus will have strong impact for the glory of God and the good of others.
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