While the country is roiling over the issue of gay marriage, has anyone stopped to think about the state of marriage itself? Has all the talk, turmoil, anger, and divisiveness been simply a distraction from addressing the real problems of marriage? Have we only pointed out the speck of dust in another’s eyes, that we neglected the log in our own? Have we forgotten:
- Most marriages are unhappy marriages!
- The divorce rate is 50% or more!
- Remarriages divorce rates are even higher!
- Your marriage is no better off if you go to church!
Well, what if I told you that all of the above “facts” are lies? That’s right. Not one of these so-called truths is substantiated in any credible research. They are simply…cultural myths!
NEXT STEP. This fall, I invite you to join me in taking the “next step” in your faith in marriage. I am designing a small group that involves a wide-variety of couples to explore the book, “The Good News about Marriage” by Shaunti Feldahn. The research in the book debunks the above myths, and actually proposes that most marriages are happy and fulfilling, the divorce rate is nowhere near 50%, remarriages survive just fine, and couples who attend church together are much less likely to divorce than those who do not. The research in this book is contrary to what our culture believes, but the hope it offers is exactly what this world needs to hear.
GOOD NEWS. While it is tempting to use this book for marriage counseling, instead this group is designed to equip participants to articulate to a hurting world the message of hope in marriage. In a culture where marriage is getting nothing but bad news, God has a message of Good News!
EXPERIMENT. What will make this group truly special is its diversity. Would you join me in an experimental small group made up of a broad demographic of couples? Specifically, I am looking for couples who:
- who have been married a long time as well as newly married
- who are planning to get married, as well as those who are not
- who have remarried, and who are dating
WHY. In a world where people are hearing nothing but bad news about marriage, it is no wonder that they start to believe it. As a result, before people even get married, there is a sense that ‘we are against the odds.’ Also, when a couple faces a terrible time, often a futile feeling will come over them that ‘we aren’t going to make it.’ Therefore, one of the biggest reasons marriages don’t make it is that they believe they aren’t going to make it. As Feldahn writes, “There is one common denominator among marriages that survived verse those that failed: hope.”
JOIN ME IN “NEXT STEPS.”
Be looking for the fall Next Steps booklet in the mail. Twice each year, Christ church publishes, “Next Steps,” which outlines purposeful short-term small groups designed to help you take the next step in your faith. These small group experiences are meant to increase your ability to recognize how God is at work in your life and in our community. Designed to help you nurture God’s love within your life, these groups will help shape you to become living proof of God’s love in every facet of your life. And, these groups will strengthen your ability to articulate God’s love in a world crying out for a word of hope.
Small groups was the method Jesus chose to use to develop faith in his disciples, and being held accountable in a small group is at the core of what we want for each member at Christ Church. Simply put, you can have faith without a small group, but you cannot grow without a small group.
Next Steps groups have increased by 70% over the past two years, with one-fourth being individuals who participated for the very first time. We are expecting the growth to continue so Jennie Weeks, Christ Church Director of Adult Discipleship, and the Adult Discipleship Team has put together an even more amazing slate of groups for you to try this fall and spring.
So, if you are looking for a way to start in a small group, or you need something to get you invigorated again in your faith, give one of our fall Next Steps group a try!