A newlywed says, “We are going to church and praying together, for the first time!” A young couple recently committed their lives to Christ and were baptized. A teenage son thanks God for bringing his family back together. A young woman shares how her parents remarried each other, five years after their divorce. All of them attribute their changed lives to MarriageTeam coaching.
How many times have you listened to someone in despair over their marriage relationship and wished you could help? The founders of MarriageTeam, Al and Autumn Ray, found themselves in this situation over and over again and were inspired to do something about it.
MarriageTeam equips Christian lay couples to serve the Lord as coaches by giving them the skills and materials they need to be effective.
“It really isn’t difficult,” Autumn explains. “Couples in good relationships can easily learn the necessary skills and material in the 24-hour training program. After completing the training, they report an immediate improvement in their own relationships. This is a powerful example that they can model for others.”
Coaching can be the perfect fit for many couples, but Al and Autumn realize that some couples will require counseling intervention prior to coaching. MarriageTeam is using their connections with His Heart Foundation to refer clients with addictions, abuse, on-going martial affairs (if one is not willing to stop the affair), or mental health disorders. Once these issues are being addressed by professionals, coaching can be an effective approach.
This ministry is also a powerful outreach. As the relationship develops between the coaches and their couples, coaches having the opportunity to share their faith. For those struggling in their relationships, this added benefit of community while gaining new skills, and hearing the gospel message is a powerful recipe for transformation.
“One new coaching couple experienced some major challenges with the couple they were coaching. They contacted the MarriageTeam office which was quick to respond to the need, and was able to direct the new coaches to successfully work through the challenges. The couple they were coaching were separated when they started, and today they are days away from completing the course, and are back together under the same roof—experiencing renewed relationship. As a pastor, I have found MarriageTeam to be a great resource not only in helping me direct our coaches, but in providing information as a marriage specialist. I have great hope today for the marriages in our church because of our relationship with Marriage Team.” –Pastor Ed Wilgus
If you’re interested in becoming a coach for MarriageTeam or would like to have couples equipped in your church, the next training begins on October 6, 2017 for the Portland/Vancouver area. Other locations are also available. Please visit their website at www.marriageteam.org, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call them at 360-450-6042.
Al Ray is retired from the U.S. Air Force and in his last assignment led the ROTC program at the University of Portland. He was the training and organizational development manager for Multnomah County until leaving in April 2007 to become the Executive Director of MarriageTeam. He has a BA in mechanical engineering and a MS in counseling and human development. Autumn is a graduate of Excelsior College with a degree in Social Work. She retired from Multnomah County where she was the program manager for the community justice volunteer program. The Rays are certified Marriage Enrichment leaders, Seminar Directors for PREPARE/ENRICH, and have led marriage enrichment weekends, as well as numerous marriage and parenting classes.