The first Building Block is the work of BUILDING leaders and establishing a Team. BUILDING a Team involves the formation of a Parish (or Cluster of Parishes) Marriage Ministry that will work to address the various Building Blocks. It is the first of the building blocks for a reason.
Like any other building project, if you do not have a strong foundation, the building crumbles. And, if these leaders do not have a strong underpinning, a strong vision for marriage, and the support of their Pastor, the work of strengthening marriages will not last.
The Team should be made up of married couples from different stages of married life, any Pastoral staff and clergy, as well as several single young adults, divorced persons and widows and widowers.
This Team will serve to guide, facilitate and oversee the implementation of the Pastoral Initiative for Marriage and all efforts towards becoming a Marriage-Building Parish. Identifying and forming good leaders from the start will allow the parish to grow the various aspects of marriage ministry. Trainings and support will be available through the Diocesan Office of Family Life, MarriageBuilding USA, Inc., and Live the Life, Inc.
The charge for the Marriage Ministry Team is to implement more extensive and effective marriage ministries to marriages, to youth and to singles, especially opportunities for skill based learning.
- Healthy Marriage is a stated priority in my Parish/Church.
- We have an active Marriage Ministry Team or similar Church committee.
- We have a clear, strategic plan for promoting marriage education and enrichment on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
- Our Church allocates money and other Resources to the best of its ability to promote healthy marriage and provide needed ministries.
- Our Church encourages married couples to participate in structured marriage education annually.
- Trainings are provided for the ongoing formation of our leadership team.
- Clergy and Staff by-in. Have staff consider how a vital Marriage Ministry can impact the mission of your parish? Work through each Assessment provided for the Eight Building Blocks of a Marriage-Building Church. Discuss how you might best implement them.
- Maximize the use of volunteers. Recruit them the way Christ recruited his disciples,that is, one by one. “Peter, come follow me.” Notice, he didn’t put up a flyer on a tree…or in the church bulletin. Make it personal. Take the time to think about what couples can do this. Then, a personal, person-to-person invitation works best.
- This is a great place to use deacons and a great reason to get them trained in marriage education.
- Offer a “We C.A.R.E. about Marriage” Rally (Christ-centered Awareness and Responding with Enthusiasm). These evenings are designed to help raise up potential Parish Leaders by having a conversation on the state of marriage today, their concerns and how the Church might best respond. Discuss what they can bring to this ministry. Briefly explain the Eight Building Blocks of a MarriageBuilding Parish. Schedule with MarriageBuilding USA to have someone from the team lead this.
- Schedule a THIS OLD SPOUSE Retreat Day of Reflection in the parish. This is a 6-hour Retreat for couples who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and are now wondering what they will do with the rest of their marriage. Encourages small group participation as follow-up. Extends invitation to become a part of Marriage Ministry Team. These can become our best leaders, coaches and ministry volunteers in this effort. Schedule through MarriageBuilding USA.
- Have Team participate in all Trainings and receive Marriage Angels Certificate. MarriageBuilding Parish Tool Kit available to assist in implementation.
- Advanced Marriage Ministry Training (AMMT) Days and additional opportunities for Marriage Angels Training and other specific trainings when needed for a particular program.
- Complete a Parish Marriage Survey and Parish Profile found in Parish Kit. This can be obtained from parish records and/or with a form at Sunday Masses by those attending. Begin organizing efforts based on the information provided on the following pages.