Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Grace Marriage is bringing CHERISH, a one-time event, to Owensboro. The event is perfect for couples and singles of all ages. Owensboro Living sat down with Jo Barron, the volunteer Event Coordinator for CHERISH, to get more information on the event scheduled on February 10, 2018.
OL: Can you tell me about CHERISH? How did this come about for Grace Marriage?
JB: In addition to helping churches protect and improve marriages through the transforming power and grace of Jesus, Grace Marriage also seeks to promote and provide other opportunities for couples to enrich and invest in their marriages. Thus, the idea of CHERISH was birthed. It is a one-day marriage experience that will be strategically held on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, at the RiverPark Center from 2-8:30pm. It offers a tremendous line-up of local, national and international speakers/performers that will draw attendees closer to Jesus, and thus to each other.
OL: Why is this exciting for Owensboro?
JB: Marriages are in great need of help nationwide. Statistics show that very little quality time is spent between married couples, and that the busyness of each day can slowly drain the life out of a marriage if couples are not intentional about spending meaningful time with each other. This one-day marriage experience will cause those attending to focus on Christ and also on each other. Whether from Owensboro or from out of town, we hope that registrants will consider spending the night in one of the hotels downtown, which are discounted for CHERISH; a Valentine’s weekend, so to speak. Bottom line, Grace Marriage wants to play a big part in turning the trajectory of marriages around so that Christian marriages will look so good that others will be drawn to Christ, and that the children from these solid Christian marriages will represent a new generation of strong marriages.
OL: Who is this event for? Just couples? Singles? Church groups?
JB: CHERISH was designed to enhance marriages, including those planning to marry or those would like to marry, so singles are definitely welcome. We also designed it with pastors/wives in mind. The keynote will be having a private dinner with pastors/wives; a time of encouragement for them. And their ticket prices are discounted by half. Most pastors are overworked and desperately need time with their spouses. Grace Marriage hopes that churches will gift these tickets and a hotel night for their respective pastor and wife.
OL: What can someone expect when they attend Cherish?
JB: CHERISH offers a tremendous value for the price. These tickets range from:
- $25 (per pastor, per wife) to
- $40 each for Grace Marriage Coaching Participants (these are the 40+ churches that are throughout KY and now in IN, TN, AL, IL and OH that are now launching Grace Marriage coaching model/curriculum in their respective churches) to
- $50 for all others
Including dinner for the first 550 registrants, CHERISH’s lineup includes:
- Pastor Brad Rhoads, founder of Grace Marriage ministry (gracemarriage.com)
- Keynote best-selling Christian author and international speaker, Gary Thomas (garythomas.com)
- Local and very popular Christian comedian Ben Cecil
- An all-community worship band
- Pastor Jamus Edwards, pastor of Pleasant Valley Community Church, the first church (5 years ago) to incorporate Grace Marriage as its in-house marriage ministry
- and the longest-running internationally famous Christian ballet company, Ballet Magnificat!
Furthermore, CHERISH is over at 8:30pm so that it is not a long evening for anyone. Now you tell me, where can one go to receive such a great value for an event like this?
OL: What does Grace Marriage mean for Owensboro?
JB: Grace Marriage fills a huge gap that most churches have by providing an ongoing marriage curriculum that couples from each of these churches can benefit from on a quarterly basis, setting aside six hours a day, four times a year. Having been a part of a Grace Marriage coaching group for three years now, I can say that the curriculum is rich in God’s Word and extremely practical. Even though my husband and I have been married for 44 years, our marriage is always in need of spiritual sharpening, and this curriculum provides that for us, as does being around the eight other couples in our group.
To those attending Grace Marriage coaching in their respective churches, Grace Marriage simplifies our lives by giving us space to think, to work with our spouse, to focus on what is really important so that real pruning of commitments that can keep us from each other can take place. It’s a time to take a break from the demands of life to have fun dreaming, thinking, praying and working with our spouse on marriage, including planning fun activities together for the next quarter. It provides real hope for positive change in the home. As Pastor Brad has said, “Marriage coaching is akin to physical wellness. You work on your marriage to make it more and more healthy.” And with this change comes motivation for others to change their marriages, thus starting a movement that can strengthen and stabilize the family in our culture.
But the local church typically has no line item in their budgets for marriages. And many pastors may not have the time or giftedness to write a marriage curriculum for their own church. They find themselves troubleshooting the marital problems their members are having.
For the churches, Grace Marriage places a focus on wellness, instead of waiting for a crisis for the church to intervene. It engages church members to be refreshed in the grace of Christ and to work on their marriages. It establishes a broad-reaching marriage ministry that does not become a large budget item for the church, nor a drain on pastoral time or resources.There are so many more benefits and they are found on the gracemarriage.com website.