Partnering to Transform - Issue #116
This is an excerpt from a PDF download. To download the full text of this document click: Partnering to Transform.
Grace United Methodist Church in Cape Coral, Florida is known for its recovery ministries. A lay member of the congregation describes the congregation in these words, "We are blessed to have our pews filled with a wonderfully diverse group of people. Each week, people bring their hurts, habits and hang-ups to Grace Church and give them to Jesus in exchange for healing and eternal life. It’s a beautiful thing to witness."
The church’s vision statement, "To partner with God in transforming people from unbelievers to fully devoted disciples of Jesus to the glory of God," is illustrated through their commitment to healthy marriages.
Grace UMC requires that engaged couples planning to be married at the church participate in premarital counseling that includes the use of a relationship inventory and assessment tool. The officiating pastor also meets with each engaged couple for spiritual counseling, to review the wedding vows, and to discuss the spiritual dynamics of marriage.
The church provides a variety of classes and groups designed to strengthen marriages. A basic marriage enrichment course is offered regularly as well as periodic seminars and workshops that bring couples closer together and help them understand the dynamics of a healthy marriage.
Trained volunteers who have been through difficulties in their own marriages are available to mentor couples in crisis, and a Kairos Prison Ministry serves people who are incarcerated and their families.
When marriages end in divorce or death, the church facilitates support and healing through regularly offered divorce recovery and grief support groups.
By targeting specific needs and relationship issues for people in their congregation and community, Grace UMC does indeed "partner with God to transform lives."
Some Questions for Discussion
- What are the deep issues and difficult challenges that people in your congregation and community are dealing with? How is the congregation helping people address these issues in a Christian context?
- Healthy relationships require ongoing attention. What ministries in your congregation help people to maintain and strengthen healthy relationships? Do you need a more multi-pronged approach than you currently have?