In this Issue

- Feature Article: How To Take Couple's Marriages in Your Congregation from "Good to Great"

- Suzanne Recommends:

  • The Complete Marriage Mentoring Manual by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott
  • Please add "suzanne@" to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so you won't miss future issues.

    How to take Couples' Marriages in your Congregation from "Good to Great"

    In December’s issue, you were reminded of the high U.S. divorce rates, which no doubt you experience regularly with troubled couples visiting your office for pastoral counseling.  I remember experiencing that while serving as a minister at McLean Bible Church.  These frequent visits indicated the level of struggles couples were experiencing in their marriages. 

    To meet the needs of these couples, our staff team decided to establish a marriage mentoring program.  The idea was not just to help hurting marriages, but also to incorporate ongoing work in the “Preparing for Marriage” program and to help couples at any season or stage of their marriages to make their relationships healthier.  Also, as pastors, you want to equip your people for ministry, rather than doing all the work of ministry yourselves. 

    The Marriage Mentoring ministry is a perfect way to achieve both goals. Let’s go over the steps you’ll need to take to establish a Marriage Mentoring ministry in your church.

    1. Preach a Marriage Sermon Series

      Preach a sermon series to focus people on their marriages. February is a great time to do this as Valentine’s Day is approaching!  It is a timely season to remind people to focus attention on the health of their key primary relationship – their marriages.  For any ministry to succeed, it needs to have the sponsorship and support of the senior pastor, and preaching a sermon series on marriage demonstrates that support.

    2. Hold Interest Meetings

      Hold “Interest Meetings” after the worship services to meet interested couples.  You’ll find that two types of couples come to your interest meetings:  1) couples that want to mentor others 2) couples that want to be mentored.  At the interest meetings, you’ll need to provide short applications for people to complete and send back to you.  Set up a system, even if it is something simple, like an Excel spreadsheet, to keep track of these couples and their submitted leadership applications.

    3. Hold Couple Interviews

      Review couple applications and set up interviews to screen couples for service.  Interview interested couples to determine which are an appropriate fit for your leadership team. There will be couples who are interested that may not be ready to mentor at this time. If so, hold a private meeting with them to explain the reasons why. Make arrangements to help obtain the additional help they'll need to be mentors in the future.

    4. Organize the Team

      Align your new leaders into teams.  Set up a Prepare, Repair and Enrich (or Maximize) Team.  It is helpful to have team leader couples serve as senior mentor couples to oversee other couples as your team grows.

    5. Hold Orientation / Training Session

      Hold an initial training orientation session for your leader couples and then provide ongoing training afterward on a quarterly basis for your leader couples.

    6. Establish Pastoral Staff Support Team

      Establish a pastoral staff contact or team of contacts with counseling experience and training available to meet regularly with team leader couples.  The purpose of the meetings is to debrief on how couples are doing and to help handle especially problematic situations.

    7. Segment Leader Couples by Passion

      Divide couple leaders into areas they are gifted and for which they have a passion.  For example, some couples have overcome affairs and re-built their marriages, while others have struggled and overcome pornographic or gambling addictions.  These couples could lead a “911” team for couples whose marriages are especially in crisis.  As a pastor, ensure these couples have recovered well and have a long track record of success in these areas before placing them into a leadership and mentoring role of other couples.

    8. Continue to Build the Team

      Continue to attract and promote couples into leadership as they are ready. As your teams grow, set goals to have no more than 2-3 couples mentored by a mentor couple at a time, particularly if the mentee couples are dealing with very difficult issues and are deeply into the "repair" stage of their marriage.

      At the beginning, you may need to ask mentor couples to handle more mentee couples. However, in the long run, this will exhaust them. Make it your goal to have that ratio of one mentor couple to two or three mentee couples as soon as you can. Continue to build your leadership team to help others take their marriages to a place of greater joy, health and fulfillment!

    Recommended Resource To Maximize Tomorrow's Leaders Today

    The Parrotts' manual is an excellent resource for any pastor or church leader that desires to establish a marriage mentoring ministry in their church. It contains leadership applications (which you may modify to include specifics for your church), marriage mentoring report forms, positions descriptions and other helpful information. For more information or to order your copy, go to:

    February Special

    With enrollment this month in an upcoming teleseminar or the purchase of an information product, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at I'd love to serve you.

    Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter, such as hiring or managing staff, inspiring volunteers, or preventing burnout, for examples. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

    Many prayers and blessings to you all,

    Leadership Tips is a monthly e-zine written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize individual and organizational performance.

    You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

    Suzanne Martinez
    SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
    P.O. Box 9172
    Reston, VA 20195-9172

    Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2007.

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    Leadership Tips
    February 2007
    Vol. I, Issue 3

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    Did you miss our Feb 12 TeleSeminar on "Healing the Heart of Your Church?

    You may still obtain the book and CD recording of the call. Simply go to shop to check it out.

    Upcoming Teleseminar March 5

    Is your Church's Leadership Culture Healthy?

    Would you like to learn more about a dynamic mega-church's 46-year journey from an unhealthy leadership culture to one that is thriving today? A team of three ministers recently studied a dynamic Texas church to uncover its secret keys to health and growth.

    The team evaluated the church's leadership culture, its ministry philosophy, and its 46-year church history.

    They'll share their findings with you on an upcoming teleseminar on Monday, March 5, 7 pm - 8 pm EST, 6 p.m. CST / 5 PST.

    All pastors, elder boards, and church leadership teams will be able to glean valuable insights they can apply to their own churches to lead to greater church health and effectiveness.

    As a bonus, you'll receive a 35-page academic case study, providing unique perceptions into the overall spiritual health and subsequent growth of the church.

    Click here to register

    The Story of a Texas Mega-Church

    Upcoming Spring and Summer Teleseminars
    Keep watch for upcoming teleseminars on the topics we're discussing in Leadership Tips.

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    April 2007- How to Build a Marriage Mentoring Ministry at Your Church

    May 2007- How to use user-friendly and learner-centered Bible studies for those at all spiritual levels

    June 2007 - How to Lead Those of Other Faiths and Belief Systems to Christ

    July 2007 - How to Become a Missional Church Plant to Impact Your Community for Christ

    More Details to Come....

    Preview of March Issue:
    In March's issue of Leadership Tips, we'll address some of the common challenges that churches face as they work to grow their congregations. Perhaps some of these same issues are plaguing your church's growth.

    Stay tuned for the next issue of Leadership Tips!

    Pastor's Corner

    Worship leader or band wanted for a new church in a fast growing area in metro Maryland. It's a great opportunity for someone (or a band) to create a worship experience that's beyond the status quo. Contact Dan at or call (301) 787-8480. Stop by for more about the church.

    Would you like to advertise your needs in this e-zine? Pastors contact my office on occasion to make other church leaders aware of position openings in their churches or needed resources. For more information, contact suzanne@

    About Suzanne

    Suzanne France Martinez Founder & Principal

    During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting. Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize both individual and organizational performance. Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.

    Copyright © 2006-2007 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.