Tazwell and Bonita Thornton knew they needed help in their new marriage. So they attended one of our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. They knew they needed to understand God’s blueprints for marriage quickly, because they’re both strong-willed people.
That weekend proved to be a turning point for the Thorntons, but not in the way they expected. The getaway did more than help them in their marriage. It also revealed a ministry they could share—helping other couples learn how they could build a strong, godly marriage.
The Thorntons began by starting a small-group study for couples in their church in Baltimore using the HomeBuilders Couples Series®. Then they began using our Preparing for Marriage curriculum to teach premarried couples about the basics of marriage.
Recently I interviewed Tazwell and Bonita in front of our FamilyLife staff team. After 17 years of ministry, this couple said they had taken more than 5,000 people through HomeBuilders studies, and more than 1,600 people through Preparing for Marriage.
And that’s the impact of just one couple.
You might think there must be something special about Tazwell and Bonita that has enabled them to have such an impact on marriages in the Baltimore area. Perhaps they were trained in seminary, or they have some special leadership skills. But you would be wrong.
What sets Tazwell and Bonita apart is that they are gripped by a passion to help families in their community. They said, “We can help.” And they trusted God to work through them.
I call them HomeBuilders.
The time has come
Recently I was looking at a photo of my family—with our six children and their spouses and all their kids—and I thought, What kind of world are we passing on to our grandchildren? I believe what is happening in the family today in western civilization is nothing short of an all-out crisis. The calamity of broken families is so huge and urgent that we can no longer afford to do ministry as usual. We need a fresh, revolutionary approach.
I have been in ministry now for 40 years, and more than ever I believe the solution to the marriage and family crisis is not found in asking pastors to work harder. I think the solution is found in equipping and unleashing a movement of lay men and women who can do marriage and family ministry. A movement of HomeBuilders.
The time has come for individual Christians to step up where they live and make a difference. And I believe there are hundreds of thousands of believers out there right now who are ready to join the HomeBuilders movement. But many are idle because of three factors:
- Followers of Christ need a clear challenge that they can be used by God to see people’s lives transformed;
- They need some very simple, yet compelling training on how they can be effective;
- They need tools and resources that work—tools that are not world-class but “heaven-class.”
New tools and resources
For many years FamilyLife has provided some of these tools. One is the the Art of Marriage Connect Series. This resource is designed to make it easy for anyone to lead—all they need is a willingness to step up and allow God to use them.
And over the last three years we’ve been developing some exciting new tools that can help people like you make a difference in your community like you’ve never seen before. These tools are powerful, relevant, and easy to use.
We have a little saying that we’ve adopted here at FamilyLife: “Grab a tool. Change a home. Change the world.”
That’s the essence of becoming a HomeBuilder.
God can use anyone
Many of you may feel the desire to help other families, but you hesitate because you wonder if God can really use you. You may feel inadequate to lead a Bible study or to organize a video event. You may wonder if your marriage is strong enough—how you can reach out to others when you need to improve your own relationship.
Let me assure you that I’m not asking you to rebuild every family in town. I am just asking you to pick up a tool and reach out to a person. The tools we’ve created are designed for people like you.
My question for you is: What does God want to get done through you? Who do you know who needs help and hope for their marriage and family?
Let me give you a clue. It’s everybody!
Our world needs people like you who are willing to trust God. Will you become a HomeBuilder?
*Note – The HomeBuilders Couples Series is now The Art of Marriage Connect Series.
Copyright © 2011 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.