Starting a Marriage Ministry Part 2: Determine the Needs

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In the last blog post I talked about some things to consider if you are looking at starting a marriage ministry in your church. One of those things included surveying your people to get an idea of what they need and the best ways to deliver those things. At Saddleback Church I did a survey of all of the married couples of our church and it helped me to shape what we are doing today in the marriage ministry.
When it comes to surveying the couples in your church one of the best tools I have found for doing this is Survey Monkey. Survey Monkey is a survey website that lets you put together surveys, email the link to people you want to survey, and once they respond (their responses are anonymous) aggregates the results so you can see the trends in people's responses. The tool is very easy to customize and use and highly recommend it for any surveying you may be doing.
So I put together a survey to get a handle on where people where at and how best to proceed with the ministry. Below is a sample of the questions I asked. You could ask any questions you feel you need to ask but I really wanted to know their struggles and the best days/times to run events so I wasn't scheduling things when they weren't available. I am so glad I did this as I found that Friday was the best day to do something which is one of the last days I would have chosen had I not asked. Here are the questions I asked:
  1. What types of things have you used in the past to improve your marriage? (Options: Time away, Date nights, Counseling, Small Groups, Retreats, Seminars, Books, Time Alone, Prayer, Working on Self, Other)
  2. Which of the above have you found most effective?
  3. If the church holds classes/seminars dealing with the topic of marriage, which time slots would work best for you (check all that apply).
  4. What would be the biggest obstacle to you attending a marriage event?
  5. If we were to offer other classes or seminars dealing with marital issues, what types of topics would you like us to cover?
  6. What other events and/or resources would you like to see made available to couples?
From the results we received we used these to shape our marriage ministry. It is always valuable to get a handle on where people are at as you seek to shape a ministry. If you shape it in the way they will best receive it, you can help and reach more people. As you will see, I continued to survey after each event to continually refine what we were doing. In the next article we will talk about setting up your model for marital health.

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