Steve Loy, minister from Wood Dale and former pastor at Elmhurst, suggests offering a marriage seminar for your community, not just your local church. He says it's a great way to reach high rises and condos in urban areas, but will also work for a smaller community.
"I believe couples (both young marrieds and 'seasoned' veteran couples) would respond to a Marriage Seminar as a cummunity rather than simply a 'church" event. For a nominal fee (say $10/couple) you can give out a copy of Chapman's 5 Love Languages to each couple registered, followed by a 6-week session that centered on finances, relationships, roles and duties, and Oneness -actually the 1st session....Intimacy and Spiritual Life."
For every 3-4 couples, a host couple from the sponsoring church would serve as their mentors. This couple should have demonstrated some stability in their own marriage and home. If couples from the local church were pre-registered, it would also form a basis to integrate seminar couples with the couples from the sponsoring church.
Rev. Loy and his wife Dorothy have been holding marriage seminars for the past five years, with sessions running from September-May each year. Adds Rev. Loy, "As the sessions on 'Oneness' and 'Spiritual Life' are presented, obviously there would be given opporunity (in a 'soft' way) for couples to commit their marriage to the Lord. After the 6 week session, small groups for Christian Growth could be the weekly result. "Most young couples would be open to working on their marriages, especially if it were local and didn't cost too much money or time. If even 10 couples came to the seminar, there might be a possibility of adding 3-4 to the church as a result of friendships/interest generated over the 6-week program."
Rev. Loy's suggestion received honorable mention for the best August 2012 ministry resource.