Fellowship’s elders and pastors are passionate about starting, strengthening, and saving marriages. We believe God has a plan and purpose for each marriage, and while no marriage is perfect, all marriages are designed to exist for our good and God’s glory.
Commonly referred to as “premarital ministry”, Fellowship has a passion for shepherding couples through the premarital season of their lives. Whether a couple has been engaged for a few months or are blending families, we take the opportunity seriously to lay a biblically-based foundation for a lifetime of covenant commitment. The primary way we do this is through a three-fold premarital process.
The Premarital Meeting
This meeting takes place once a couple registers online for the premarital process – when they want to be married on one of Fellowship’s campuses or by a Fellowship pastor. In the Premarital Meeting, the engaged couple meets with two Care Pastors for approximately 60 minutes. The pastors cover the elders’ written statement on marriage for the purpose of establishing a relationship with Jesus, understanding covenant marriage, and committing to holistic purity. We invite the couple to attend the upcoming Weekender and also talk through the details of the premarital assessment tools which are used later by the premarital mentor couple. To begin the wedding process, please visit fellowshipar.com/weddings.
The Becoming ONE Weekender
The Weekender is a “mini conference” hosted four times a year. The event is all-inclusive on Friday and Saturday nights on our West Little Rock campus. The cost is $100 per couple to cover the expense of materials, meals, snacks, etc. The Weekender is comprised of six sessions and six breakout sessions. Couples in attendance hear from a variety of speakers and are led by Group Leaders. The Weekender notebook then serves as personalized material for each couple to utilize in their premarital mentoring experience. To learn more, visit fellowshipar.com/becomingone.
The Care Team trains and equips married couples to serve the church as premarital mentors. Modeled after the mentoring strategies of Family Life, the premarital mentors are typically only a chapter or two ahead in life of the engaged couple. Rather than teaching marriage concepts, the mentor couple is prepared to truly engage in the personal lives, questions, and concerns of the engaged couple. Mentoring typically occurs over the course of 4-6 sessions. In addition to the notes the couple writes down during the Weekender, the mentor couples also use the results of the Prepare Enrich assessment and the All About Me questionnaire completed by each couple.
Fellowship takes two primary approaches to marriage strengthening. The first is Discipleship Groups (D-Groups). These weekly gatherings are where couples can grow in their faith, be held accountable for sin, pray for one another, and enjoy the company of other like-minded married couples. These groups exist specifically for young married couples, median-aged couples, and even senior adult married couples. The groups frequently study marriage material and strive to strengthen their marriages. To learn more about D-Groups, please visit fellowshipar.com/groups.
The second is in intentionally chosen marriage classes. Specifically, we annually host a four-week class called, “Love & Marriage”. On occasion, our Wednesday Nights at Fellowship lineup will include a marriage class which covers a book or marriage-centered Bible study. Curriculum includes Re-engage, Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, and Marriage: 6 Gospel Commitments Every Couple Needs to Make by Paul Tripp. To read more about marriage classes and current small group classes at Fellowship, visit fellowshipar.com/events.
We have an active ministry partnership with Family Life which enables us to promote weekend retreats, special events, and other activities around the country. Fellowship also has a history of creating and hosting marriage events and conferences.
Rarely does a couple realize that when they say, “for better or worse” on their wedding day, their marriage will not always be sunshine and blue skies. For this reason, Fellowship has a dedicated Care Team which prioritizes marriage saving through biblical counseling and pastoral care. At any time, couples in our church family are encouraged to reach out to the Care Team to establish a rhythm of care through counseling. We provide conjoined counseling – when a male and female Care Pastor sit down with both the husband and wife – and also concurrent counseling – when each pastor meets one-on-one with the spouse. To learn more about pastoral counseling or to schedule a session, please email email@example.com.
Fellowship also has strong ministry partnerships with area Christian counseling centers. It is common for the Care Team to refer a couple to trained local Christian counseling professionals such as Napa Valley and Compass, to name a few.