Get to know re|engage
Check out these answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
- Who is re|engage for?
Re|engage is for marriages, between one man and one woman, in any and all conditions. Every marriage will benefit, whether couples are struggling to get along, the marriage seems broken, or they simply want to grow closer together relationally. Attendance without both spouses present is allowed; however, Closed Groups are reserved for couples who are both committed to the process. Previously married couples who are separated or divorced, but might consider reconciling, are also welcome to attend re|engage. Re|engage is not intended for seriously dating, engaged, or cohabitating un-married couples.
- When did re|engage start?
re|engage is a ministry developed by Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. The basic re|engage structure was created in 2008 out of Watermark’s desire to serve all marriages in our community well. As stories of improved marriages spread, other churches began inquiring about re|engage which led churches outside Watermark to offer re|engage starting in February 2012.
- Is re|engage the same at all churches?
All re|engage churches cover the same curriculum in a Closed Group format, sharing stories of grace and healing through Christ. Because of size or location, some churches may only offer re|engage at particular times of the year. There may be other local nuances, but the key elements of re|engage are consistent between all churches.
- How is re|engage different from other marriage programs?
The goal of re|engage is not primarily to save couples from divorce, or even to make healthier marriages. The goal of re|engage is to fashion couples into better disciples of Jesus Christ. We believe as our hearts better align with God's plan and desire for our lives, all relationships (including our marriages) will improve. Through the felt need for better (or more tolerable) marriages, couples will come looking for help. Ultimately, what we offer them is Christ.
Another difference is that re|engage is a small-groups based ministry. Unlike traditional counseling or mentoring where couples meet with an individual or one other couple, we believe life (and marriage) transformation best occurs in the context of relationships with others.
- What do researchers say about the effectiveness of re|engage?
In October of 2016, researchers from Hope for the Hurting Home published a study about re|engage.
- What training is offered?
There are two kinds of training aimed at different groups:
- Small Group Leaders: Online training videos will provide leaders the basics they need to lead a group. After that, on-going training is provided using video content for each lesson and weekly leader meetings.
- Leaders Overseeing re|engage: We recommend attending the Marriage Ministry or re|engage Training Conference so you can understand the vision, strategy, and mechanics of re|engage. You will also get to participate in a working ministry.
- What does it cost to run re|engage at my church?
The only cost to participating churches is the workbooks. Each re|engage participant needs their own workbook. There are no additional sign-up fees or hidden costs. All other program content, such as video testimonies, training guides, marketing materials, graphics, and teaching outlines are available for free download.
- Can I start re|engage at my non-profit organization?
Re|engage is a discipleship program. It is not a marriage ministry. When couples realize something is not right with their relationship and they look for help, we want to be there to help them. We don't, however, try to fix their marriage – we point them to Jesus, the one who fixes ALL relationships. Then, by being part of a re|engage small group, couples see what true community looks like. We believe the best long-term plan for healthy marriage is authentic, biblical community with other Christ-followers in the local church. When re|engage groups finish, we want a clear path for couples to further involvement in church. As a result, we are only offering re|engage through churches. If a ministry is operating (or could operate) under the authority of a church, then other options may be explored.
- Can we run re|engage in pre-existing small groups?
In our experience we've seen several reasons why running re|engage in small groups does not work well:
- Without a large group time and the sharing of testimonies, couples lack an example of ideal authenticity.
- Without a child care option, small groups might have kids running around, changing the potential for depth.
- It is vital for groups to meet weekly. Many small groups meet on some other frequency. If groups push meeting to a bi-monthly schedule, it can take as long as 32 weeks to complete the curriculum. Many groups struggle to stay that focused.
- There is an energy present when everyone gets together for a large group.
- Small group format limits the opportunity for evangelism; non-church members might never come to a small group.
- Without a trained facilitator couple, unhealthy group dynamics may continue; an outside point-of-view typically helps groups have a healthier group dynamic.
- If individual small groups depart from the re|engage curriculum and problems arise, it can create confusion when communicating program effectiveness to future groups.
- Will re|engage work in all church sizes?
Re|engage works in churches with 150 people and 15,000 people. The program is adaptable to your church environment. However, there are three program elements required for every church and these may be affected by size:
- A large group time must be offered where everyone going through the program comes together and hears a testimony or teaching. The size of this gathering can vary, but the principles remain the same.
- Couples must be placed in small groups of 4-6 couples that go through the curriculum together.
- The curriculum must be used in its entirety, without modification. It has been honed over time, builds on itself, and the topics complement one another.
Whether couples rate their marriages as 2s or 10s, re|engage is a safe place to reconnect. Couples are never alone in their struggles, and they see this as they engage with one another in this ministry through:
Large Group | An opportunity for all couples in all phases of the ministry to worship, pray, and learn together. During this time, you will hear couples publicly share their marriage story and leaders teach principles for marriage growth.
Small Group | Couples will then move into a Small Group setting. Different destinations are offered for each stage of the re|engage process. These stages include:
- Newcomers | Offered for first-time attendees, this setting includes leaders sharing their marriage story, explaining the re|engage process, and discussing next steps. This is a safe environment for couples to come and hear what this ministry is all about with no expectation to share.
- Open Group | As couples await being placed into a Closed Group, they will attend Open Group, which offers couples the opportunity to begin working on their marriage. This environment fosters group discussion on different marriage topics while also creating the space to begin sharing each other’s stories. Participants learn the value and ground rules of Small Group.
- Closed Group | When enough couples are ready to join, and a facilitator couple is ready, a Closed Group is formed with 4-5 participating couples to walk through the 16-lesson curriculum together. Once formed, no new couples are added to the Closed Group.
"As we began to align ourselves with Christ, our marriage began to heal."
Raeul and Susan Cox share how the Lord not only redeemed their own marriage through re|engage, but also how family, friends, and neighbors came to faith in the aftermath of their experience.
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