In 1990 we began writing the Marriage Plus course. We would write a lesson together and then we would teach it the same week, “hot off the press”, to two separate small groups of 6 young couples. When the course was completed it was over 40 lessons (7 Units/230 pages) which, combined, take at least a year to complete. People told us that we would never get couples to commit to a course that was that long. Meetings are 3 out of 4 weeks each month, but we take a couple of weeks off in the summer and a week or two off at Christmas. Couples have been so faithful and so excited about growing beyond themselves! It was and is amazing!!
When leading M+ meetings we teach a topic, they practice as a couple what they have learned and then they as a couple practice in front of the group (sometimes the entire group practices together). We believe that skills and convictions must be built over time. Shortcuts just don’t seem to take hold. We rarely agree to teach weekend retreats for this reason.
We are so happy to say that in 1992 we officially became Marriage Plus International (a 501C3). By God’s grace, hundreds of couples have now been loved, mentored and trained through the M+ course in the U.S. And, the same can be said for many couples in Poland, the Czech Republic and Albania. We praise God for the Kingdom fruit He has given.
Today, we find that M+, as a multi-church, international, discipleship ministry, continues to reach many eager young couples. A recent group was made up of seven couples from six different churches. Many couples have gone on to serve in their churches in various ministries, in missions, in full-time ministry, in fellowship evenings in their homes and so on……….
We have discovered in our years of experience that the first seven or eight years of marriage involves so many adjustments and decisions! Couples (ages 20 to early 30s) really benefit from being nurtured and coached during this time in their lives. And they want to feel a sense of community with others who are going through similar things.
We believe it is important that couples be able to enjoy and experience three different types of community if possible:
- larger church body
- mid-size group (35-40 couples) where they can develop lifelong friendships, serve each other, study God’s Word and grow together
- smaller discipleship or accountability group (4-6 couples)
With the rebirth of small groups as a major focus in churches today, there are fewer churches that provide a mid-size kind of community for young couples. We think this size group is so important that we are beginning a new branch of M+, led by us and others, that is called SPLITS (Spiritual Leaders in Training).
It is with deep gratitude that we thank all of the individuals and churches that continue to contribute to this ministry. God makes this work possible through your gracious gifts. What a blessing you are!
In 2014, at the encouragement of our Board, we wrote a book for young couples called “ONE.” That book can be ordered from our website. It is a great tool for small groups of young marrieds!