For Churches

Collaborative Marriage Ministry
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Our desire is to collaborate with you to equip couples for an effective and sustainable marriage coaching ministry to heal marriages and create healthy families.

This “documentary video” illustrates how marriage coaching celebrates the spiritual gifts God has provided in the church to overcome divorce and its devastating impact on our witness.  It encourages coach couples to share their gifts by serving other couples who need help.  We collaborate with pastors for an effective, biblical solution for helping and healing marriages in their church.

Of those couples considering divorcesome 89% decide not to divorce after completing the marriage coaching process.  Here are several testimonials of couples who were on the verge of divorce.

See our testimonials on growing closer and turning away from divorce.

Ministry Model

MarriageTeam is a Christian non-profit with a God-given mission of saving and strengthening marriages. Our coach couples are volunteers who want to be part of the good work of saving marriages. We have a small paid staff that administers the program, provides on-going support for coaches and raises awareness of our services. It is our privilege to elevate the importance of marriage as the reflection of Jesus’ relationship to his church and the building block for healthy families, churches and communities. Our founders have always been volunteers for the ministry.

  • About 85% of our budget comes from donations from those who believe in our mission.
  • We don’t turn anyone away for financial reasons. We offer scholarships for those struggling financially.
  • Couples do pay a modest fee because we find that they get more out of coaching when they invest in their relationship.
  • We work with couples to make affordable payment arrangements.
MarriageTeam Church Coaching

We understand the pressure on couples and the problems of broken marriages which often falls on pastors and church leaders.  Yet, broken marriages and families attend church every weekend.  While our collaborative model has proven its effectiveness, it may not be the right approach for your church.   Our desire is to be part of your solution for the marital issues you are seeing in your congregation.  If marriage coaching sounds interesting to you, we would welcome a conversation to explore possibilities.  To learn more how we might be able to help, Scroll down for FAQs.

Consider this from a fellow pastor:

“As a pastor, I have found MarriageTeam to be a great resource. 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 couples the opportunity to rescue hurting marriages and to have coaching couples available through MarriageTeam who give a hurting couple the best chance for marriage success that I know.”

Ed Wilgus, Family Church, Sutherlin, OR*

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Pastor’s FAQ

What do other pastors say about MarriageTeam?
Dr Gary Chapman, Pastor, Author of The Five Love Languages

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 you have someone that you can refer couples to who are struggling.  Over 89% 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.

Ed Wilgus, Lead Pastor, Family Church, Sutherlin, Oregon

Our church participated in MarriageTeam Coach Training in January 2012 and now has several coaching couples in our church. One new coaching couple experienced some major challenges with the couple they were coaching.  They contacted the Marriage Team office which was quick to respond to the need and were 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 Marriage Team Coaching, today they are days away from completing coaching and are back together under the same roof and experiencing renewed relationship.

As a pastor, I have found MarriageTeam to be a great resource. 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 couples the opportunity to rescue hurting marriages and to have coaching couples available through MarriageTeam who give a hurting couple the best chance for marriage success that I know.

Van Clements, Willamette Christian Center, Eugene, OR

I am now a proponent for the 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 parachurch organizations are parasitic to the local church and require the congregations and pastors to buy in so their ministry will work, MarriageTeam actually fulfills an incredible niche that I believe not only forwards the mission of the church but equips the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-12).

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

MarriageTeam is a participant in the Marketplace Coalition and I am familiar with their marriage-coaching ministry.  It is definitely worth checking out if you are considering creating a lay couple marriage ministry.

Dave Morris, Lead Pastor, Hillside Christian Fellowship, Portland, Oregon

Marriage Team trainings are excellent, with 24 hours of excellent material and an amazing equipping… and the fee is $0.00!!!  We have trained couples now at Hillside and they are doing great… They signed up for coaching, and since walking with their coaches to a healthier marriage, they have become coaches… Additionally, we’ve had several of our young engaged couples go through Marriage Team for their pre-marital counseling with their ‘trained’ lay people… these amazing coaches have spent time with these young peeps, and even shown up to their weddings… they have become amazing mentors through relationship… Imagine: “‘Saints’ equipped to ‘do’ the works”… amazing!!  I cannot overemphasize the amazing blessings being in relationship with Marriage Team… an amazing opportunity!

Don Hallworth, Community Groups/Discipleship Pastor, Journey Church, Bend, Oregon

I was first introduced to MarriageTeam by my sister and her husband as they shared how much it had enriched their marriage to coach couples who were struggling.   Having now gone through the training provided by MarriageTeam, my wife and I were very impressed with the structure and approach of this ministry. There are several components of MarriageTeam training that lean heavily on Biblical principles that I believe help create the success that this ministry has enjoyed.

  1. Sanctity of Marriage – Rather than the coaching couple sharing 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.  MarriageTeam is structured to get 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.

Charlie Granade, Senior Pastor, Ridgeview Bible Church, Chadron, Nebraska

As the senior pastor of a church with many young couples, the amount of premarital counseling and crises counseling is daunting.  Marriage Team has allowed me to rise up and develop a team of lay people to come along side me in this process.  As a result, I can spend my time on other important things such as vision, leadership development, etc., while empowering the body to do what it has been called to do.  Because of what the Lord has done through our marriage coaching ministry, our church has already seen two couples go from being separated to having wonderful marriages and one couple transform from being freshly divorced to being remarried.  Just three weeks ago, I did a marriage vow renewal ceremony for a couple whose lives were transformed from God using the coaching process developed by Marriage Team.

Bob Carlson, Senior Pastor, Brush Prairie Baptist Church, Vancouver, Washington

We have greatly appreciated the ministry of MarriageTeam.  We recently had three couples complete coach couple training.  Almost immediately MarriageTeam was able to facilitate good matches with couples seeking help so that the coaches have had a very positive coaching experience.  This effective linking of new coaches to couples seeking help, also helps to ensure that the MarriageTeam training they had received is reinforced in praxis and does not just atrophy after the training.  MarriageTeam has helped us as a church to better serve our community with a very genuine marriage outreach.  Their marriage coaching model also helps us link older and younger couples together so that we can open up opportunities for intergenerational connection and blessing within our church family.   I heartily recommend MarriageTeam’s coaches training and ministry model to other pastors and churches.  The effectiveness of MarriageTeam has opened up new ministry opportunities to members of our church and freed our pastors to devote more of our time to other ministry needs. 

Dr Mike Wilde, Senior Pastor, Laurelwood Baptist Church, Vancouver, Washington

I recommend, in the strongest way possible, the Marriage Team ministry that was “birthed” out of our church.  The founders had a vision of helping couples have healthy marriages and I can tell you that Marriage Team is the “real deal.”  In the many years that we have worked together, I have seen real miracles.  I think of the testimony of one of our youth who thanked God and the congregation for saving his family and I know it was due to the work MarriageTeam did with his parents.  Finally, I have seen MarriageTeam equip several couples in our congregation for active ministries in serving families as a witness for Christ.  I have heard from them how they have not only been a blessing to others but how their marriages have improved as well.  MarriageTeam is really an expression of what every church should be doing, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ,” Ephesians 4:12.

What resources do you use to work with couples?

MarriageTeam uses the internationally acclaimed PREPARE/ENRICH Inventory as a resource to supplement the coaching process. The inventory has been given to more than 3 million couples. It was  revised in 2008 to include a personality profile that is very helpful.  MarriageTeam also uses a workbook that address communications, anger, bitterness, forgiveness, conflict resolution, problem solving, appreciating personality differences, intimacy, goal setting and creating mutual accountability for change all with a biblical perspective.

What makes coaching more effective than mentoring?

MarriageTeam uses the coaching process to facilitate lasting change.  Change comes when new knowledge is applied. The coaching process teaches new skills and helps couples apply them to achieve better outcomes.  It also ensures complete understanding of the issues, explores options for change, facilitates agreements on what changes will be implemented, and creates accountability for following through on the agreements.  Coaches also do everything that marriage mentors do except they do not give advice. They meet and pray with a couple, go over materials together and appropriately share their experiences.  Typically mentor couples meet, often over a meal, discuss material they have agreed to review together, and pray for one another.  While this is great for relationship building, it is not as effective in helping the mentee couple change their behaviors.

Does coaching use a biblical perspective?

Yes, the materials are biblically based and scriptural references are available in the materials. Family Life evaluated the MarriageTeam materials for biblical content and practicality and approved MarriageTeam for strategic collaboration.  While the coaching is biblically based, it is not a bible study. Coaches work with couples to help them gain new relationship skills and understanding.  Couples then apply the new skills and understanding to get different results. Coaches help the couple create mutual accountability for implementing the desired changes. Coaching is all about changing behaviors to create the results the couple wants.  All coach couples are Christians.

What makes coaching different from a Bible Study or pastoral counseling?

Coaches are trained to use the coaching process to help couples discover what will work specifically for them. Coaches also help the couple create agreements around specific behavior changes. The process creates accountability for achieving common objectives. A PREPARE ENRICH study found that couples who completed coaching had a 196% improvement in Communication and a 145% improvement in Conflict Resolution.

How will I find qualified couples to be coaches?

We have found that there are couples in every congregation that would love to help struggling couples if they just knew how. We suggest a two-pronged approach. First, ask couples you believe would be good coaches if they would attend training to learn more and become coaches. Second, open it up to the congregation and take volunteers. MarriageTeam will help with the screening via the ENRICH Inventory and the training process. Couples who successfully complete the training not only are qualified to coach another couple, but also they feel qualified to coach another couple.

What are the liability issues?

MarriageTeam has taken all reasonable steps to eliminate liability issues and carries liability insurance.  Couples are volunteers coaching with MarriageTeam even though they may be coaching couples in the church that you have identified for them.  Referring couples to MarriageTeam helps protect the church from liability.  It is similar to referring a couple to a professional counseling service. In addition, coaches do not tell couples what to do.  Couples who enter coaching sign an agreement recognizing that they are solely responsible for the decisions they make and coaches do not provide any legal advice and are not licensed counselors or therapists although we often see some amazing results.

How do coach couples get support when they run into a problem?

We recommend that their first source of help be MarriageTeam. We are quick to identify situations that require professional help and make the appropriate referrals. In most cases, the coaches just need to talk through the situation. Together we brainstorm alternative approaches for the coaches.  If necessary, we have access to licensed professionals who can provide additional support.  We suggest that you ask couples you refer how their coaching is going.  If you get any indications that the coaching is not meeting your expectations, please give us a call and we will work the issue with you.

What will it do to the couple who is trying to help but can’t?

We have found that coach couples are very resilient. They are taught in training that the coaches cannot care more about the couple’s marriage than the couple does. Coaches are acting in good faith doing their part trusting that the Lord will soften hearts and do His part. It is no different than any other helping profession. The most common comment we hear is each coaching experience strengthens the coaches’ own marriage.  Ultimately, the couple’s success rests with them being open to the Holy Spirit, to making agreements on using new behaviors and following through on their agreements.

How do I know that MarriageTeam is capable of strengthening and saving marriages?
  • Contact the pastors who work closely with MarriageTeam and ask them .  A list of pastors is available upon request.
  • Send a couple to training to see how the program works.
  • Read the testimonials from couples, coaches, and pastors.
  • Look at our program outcomes:
    • A PREPARE/ENRICH study found that couples who completed MarriageTeam coaching almost tripled their Communication scores and increased by one and a half times the Conflict Resolution scores.
    • Couples who complete coaching rate their experience an average 9.1 with 10 being the best.
    • Distressed couples who complete coaching report an average improvement in their relationship from 3.8 to 7.6 on a ten point scale (100% improvement).
    • We track results and have found that roughly 30% of couples who enter coaching have talked about divorce.  Over 85% of those who complete coaching decide against divorce.
How does MarriageTeam work with pastors and their staff?
MarriageTeam was started to serve the church.  It understands that as a pastor you have the primary responsibility for strengthening and saving marriages in your congregation.  We are here to collaborate with you to help troubled marriages in your congregation. If you make a referral to MarriageTeam, we will do the intake, administer the inventory, make the placement with a coach couple, and do all the follow-up. If you would like to place the couple with a specific coach couple, we will make all that happen or get back with you. Upon request, we will update you on progress. We go out of our way to provide value and service to you and your church team.  You can always ask the couple how it is going for them. These on-going services are part of the value you receive when you refer a couple to MarriageTeam.
How much does it cost a couple for coaching?
MarriageTeam never denies services for financial reasons and has limited scholarships for those who simply cannot afford the help.  Cost for up to 12 coaching sessions that are 2 to 3 hours is $399.  For premarital, not previously married, non-cohabitating couples the 6 coaching sessions cost $239.  Terms are available and MarriageTeam works closely with couples to insure no one is denied coaching for financial reasons.  Having said this, there are a couple of reasons why we ask that couples pay for these coaching services:

  • Couples who pay for services do much better in coaching than couples who do not pay.
  • The ministry is able to offer these services at significantly reduced prices because of its many donors.  Nevertheless, donations do not cover the entire cost of providing the services.  The cost for 25-30 hours of coaching is about $16 per hour.  This is significantly less than a counselor or pastor would be paid to provide comparable services.

Furthermore, there is a money back guarantee. “If you believe you did not get your money’s worth from your coaching experience, put it in writing and we will refund your money less the inventory and materials ($85).”

How are the coaching fees used?
Coaching fees represent less than 15% of the total budget and coaching services are subsidized by our very generous donors. The founders serve as unpaid volunteers and the paid staff represents about 66% of the budget.  The paid staff leverages over 300 volunteer coaches who provide services to couples across the country. As any other nonprofit, we incur similar administrative costs needed to support a national program.