Couples grow Seekers find Faith in their New Church Home!
The Journey into Love was designed to fulfill two major missions of the church:
1. Support the spiritual health of families in the Body by helping couples grow strong and rich marriages, and...
2. Reach out to the community by teaching couples how God's love and spiritual wisdom can help to shape and transform our relationships.
The Journey into Love is firmly founded on a biblical understanding of life, love, and marriage, and as narrator of the program I openly testify to my personal faith as the source of my work as a therapist. Yet, the content and style of the Journey was carefully designed to be welcoming even to skeptics of faith. I want them to be able to feel comfortable joining with Christian people as they learn to strengthen their marriages, and as they begin their discovery of how God changes our lives and our relationships. Contextual evangelism at its best flows from the very kind of genuine loving, caring, and authentic relationship that couples in the Journey will experience as they dig in together. Natural opportunities arise to share the full gospel as couples develop friendships.
But something else can also happen naturally in the Journey into Love Couples Groups. As a marriage therapist and elder for many years, I know as you do: church couples whose marriages are "on the rocks" often lose their way spiritually resulting in tragedies of faith spilling into their children's lives. As the Journey begins, couples enter into relationship with these at-risk couples and mentoring begins. This support can lead struggling partners to seek additional help from pastoral and clinical helpers. These couples can then be guided to seek more intensive mentoring help if your church has such a ministry in place.
So, imagine this...
You've picked a few healthy and mature Christian couples with leadership skills who have a deep concern for marriage. You ask them simply to take home and enjoy a copy of the Journey into Love, and to pray about the possibility of teaming up to bring a low profile 8 week Mission to Marriages to the church. A couple weeks later these Lead Couples would join you, or your project leader to explore test-piloting one flight of the Journey into Love Small Group Experience. If agreed, each couple would then identify four other couples: two couples who are "seekers" of faith and desire to grow their marriages, and two from among the most hurting Christian couples they know. (This would create three groups of five couples each.) The Leader-couples would read the leader training article (see below), ask for any help needed, then set a date and launch their first Journey into a Love couples' small group meeting.
The Small Group Evenings are relaxed and easy to lead: your lead couple simply opens their downloaded copy of the Journey, plays the mini lessons, and follows each with two simple but potent discussion questions that lead to vibrant, productive dialog within and between couples in the group. The group process and this format are spelled out completely in the brief PDF article linked here, Getting Started on the Journey Together.
I welcome you to call our office at MasterCare Institute (231.622.1600) to learn more about the Journey and how it can become an energizing part of your church's outreach to hurting couples and those who are still searching for God's love.
To learn more about the Journey into Love, click here. Or if you are ready to order, click here.