Dr Gary Chapman Shares

Over the years, MarriageTeam has worked hard to be a valued resource for the church and pastors by providing a positive experience for the church and referred couples.  It has served countless couples in numerous churches and established a strong reputation in the process. Dr Gary Chapman, Pastor, and author of The Five Love Languages says:

If you are a pastor, I know that you feel the pain when you see couples in your congregation divorce, and all of us have experienced that.  A few years ago, I met Alan and Autumn Ray; they started a ministry called MarriageTeam in which they train lay couples to be marriages coaches.  MarriageTeam will take couples in your church and it will train them so that they come back and you have someone that you can refer couples to who are struggling.  Over 85% of those couples who go to their coaches find real help and turn away from divorce.  I want to challenge you to check it out.  I think you will find this to be a great partner for you and your ministry.

More Pastor Experience

More recently, Pastor Van Clements, Willamette Christian Center, in Eugene, OR shared about his pastor experience with MarriageTeam and coach training.  I am now a proponent for the coach training because of my first-hand experience.  I believe MarriageTeam is an excellent resource and partner for the local church. While it feels so often that many para-church organizations are parasitic to the local church and require the congregations and pastors to buy in so their ministry will work, MarriageTeam actually is different.

I have done professional training for 16 hours at $4,000. I have also attended 2-day seminars with only 8 hours of training for more than $600. And those were in mass settings without hands-on personal training.  In my opinion, this 24 hours of training is worth at least $1000 a couple.  This is “Class A” equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. I believe the impact of 10 trained coaches would be greater than hiring a marriage pastor and would be a small fraction of the cost.

Kevin Palau, President, Luis Palau Association, Portland, Oregon is familiar with the MarriageTeam coaching ministry.  Kevin says, “It is definitely worth checking out if you are considering creating a lay couple marriage ministry.”

pastor experience

Pastor Steve Hill, Grace Fellowship, in Eugene, Oregon shares that since referring couples to Marriage Team, my counseling load has been greatly reduced. Partnering with MarriageTeam has freed up my time to vision cast and teach. Couples from our church have been trained to be coaches and use their passion and gifts to help others. I’m committed to the coaching process of MarriageTeam and highly recommend it.  Dave Morris, another senior pastor in Portland, Oregon, explains that MarriageTeam trainings are excellent and create an amazing equipping!  Dave goes on to say: We have trained couples that signed up for coaching, and since walking with their coaches to a healthier marriage, have become coaches themselves.  Additionally, we’ve had several of our young engaged couples go through MarriageTeam for their pre-marital counseling.  These wonderful coaches have spent time with their couples, and even shown up to their weddings becoming significant influencers through their relationship.  Imagine “‘Saints’ equipped to ‘do’ the works” with remarkable results.  I cannot overemphasize the tremendous blessings of being in relationship with MarriageTeam… an amazing opportunity!

Senior pastor Ed Wilgus at Family Church in Sutherlin, Oregon initially came to coach training at the invitation of another pastor.  He says, our church participated in Marriage Team Coaches Training in January 2012 and now has several experienced coaching couples. One new coaching couple experienced some major challenges with the couple they were coaching.  They contacted the MarriageTeam office, which was quick to respond to the need and was able to direct the new coaches to successfully work through the challenges.  By the way, the couple they were coaching were separated when they began coaching.  Today they are days away from completing coaching and are back together under the same roof experiencing renewed relationship.

As a pastor, I have found MarriageTeam to be a great resource not only in helping me direct our coaches but in providing information as a marriage specialist.  I have great hope today for the marriages in our church because of our relationship with MarriageTeam. I am excited to finally have a coaching system that allows lay people the opportunity to rescue hurting marriages and to have coaching couples who I can, with confidence, hand off hurting marriages to knowing that this process gives this couple the best chance for marriage success that I am aware of.

Key Elements

Don Hallworth, the Discipleship Pastor at Journey Church in Bend, Oregon was first introduced to MarriageTeam by his sister and her husband as they shared how much it had enriched their marriage to coach couples who were struggling.  He and his wife completed the training and he now shares four key elements that he believes help create the success that this ministry has enjoyed.

  1. Sanctity of Marriage – Rather than the coaching couple giving advice, the emphasis of coaching is to build within the marriage that is in trouble. There is a real emphasis upon the mystery of what God has joined together.  The process is structured to g et the troubled couple working through things together – communication, bitterness and forgiveness.  There is something deeply God honoring by holding up the sanctity of this marriage working together no matter how broken it may be.
  2. Paul’s “One another’s” and Hebrews 10 – “Spurring one another on” – The Apostle Paul uses the phrase “one another” over and over again. We are to encourage one another, admonish one another, confess to one another and bear one another’s burdens. When a marriage in trouble begins to experience another couple pouring their time and genuine care into the hurting couple, I believe they deeply experience the power of “one another” ministry and they are genuinely “spurred on.”
  3. The Power of the Holy Spirit – I think the part of MarriageTeam that has been most profound to me is the emphasis on what we do and what God does. I deeply appreciate that there is recognition that the exercises and discussions are merely tools for God to do something enduring in this broken marriage.
  4. Equipping – Ultimately as Pastors we are the equippers that Ephesians 4:11 speaks of. The MarriageTeam ministry is the best tool I’ve seen to release couples in our churches to help facilitate stronger marriages.  Through significant training weekends, ongoing support and well written communication tools, you can have great confidence that hurting marriages in your church will receive Biblically rooted help.

I have never experienced such a practical resource to strengthen marriages as the program that MarriageTeam offers.   I encourage you to find out more about how this ministry can help you build marriage strength in your local church.

Steve Fish, a retired pastor, shares a cynical view of nonprofits and then explains how he sees MarriageTeam.  In his own words:

. . . In my 37 years pastoring I got a bit jaded and cynical about para-church organizations. I avoided their pitches like the plague. It seemed to me that they always wanted my church to add something that we weren’t planning on doing and frankly it seemed like they wanted to fish in my pond for financial support and my precious volunteers.  But I have found MarriageTeam to be different. I honestly believe this ministry would be a valuable asset for all churches.

While there are other pastoral testimonials about MarriageTeam and how it supports the church, this sampling gives a good perspective of how MarriageTeam comes alongside a church not to replace anything but to equip couples to serve the body and provide an effective resource for the pastor.  If you would like to learn more about how MarriageTeam can support your church or congregation, just give us a call (360 450-6042).