February 2020 Messianic Marriage Conference Report!
By Marianela Leekley
“I wish I would have taken this course 30 years ago!!!” remarked one of the participants at the end of Word of Messiah Ministries’ (WMM) Messianic Marriage Matters Conference on January 19-20 in Charlotte, NC. Our host congregation was Hope of Israel Congregation, and nearly 50 attendees came from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. While most were married couples, we also had singles who were either dating, or were coming with the intent of learning what the Bible says about marriage to both help them be prepared for their potential future spouse, as well as to be able to counsel those who God puts in their path regarding marriage. Three couples were Messianic congregational leaders from three different states, and one of the leaders brought five couples from his congregation. They understood to develop a stronger congregation, they needed stronger marriages; a strong witness to the greater Jewish community is the love that reveals the new life in Messiah!
Each day held five hour-long sessions paired with a 30-minute breakout session where couples could go off together to discuss questions relating to the hour’s topic. Because of the structure of the lessons and the questions provided, the opportunity for getting to the heart of the matter at hand was quick. As one attendee stated in the feedback form, “The breakout sessions were very helpful! We were able to immediately practice and discuss the issues.” Another participant remarked, “The questions and time for discussion and prayer with your spouse, and the encouragement to only focus on a couple of the questions asked [were most useful]. These opportunities are always a blessing, but we rarely make the time for them in our own lives, and having specific questions was helpful for discussion.”
The Lord greatly blessed our time together. The first day, Sam covered the foundations of rightly relating to God and to one’s spouse using the Creation account found in the book of Genesis. Using only the Bible as the source of instruction regarding the principles, process, and priorities of marriage, we learned that our spouse is God’s gift to us, to be appreciated, loved, respected, and communicated with. If we are losing our appreciation of His gift to us, our problem is not actually with the gift, but with the Giver of the gift. In light of this great and transformative truth, the breakout sessions became a time for spouses to privately edify and encourage each other. This, in turn, opened the door to talk about any issues in the marriage in a loving and hopeful manner.
On the second day, we looked at the New Covenant’s take on marriage, using passages out of Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 10, 1 Peter 3, and several other portions. We learned what it means to be Spirit-filled individuals, and therefore, have Spirit-filled marriages. If we are the Lord’s ambassadors, then our home should be an embassy that represents Him. We also had a breakout session for men and women separately. The men studied servant leadership as husbands and fathers in the home according to the book of 1 Timothy, while the women studied their Divine calling in the book of Titus.
At the end of the conference, we had a time of sharing with each other the personal lessons learned from this conference. We were delighted to see nearly each couple speak out as to what the Lord accomplished in their lives over these two days. Ranging from newlyweds to decades-long marriages; couples who had good marriages, and couples who were having trouble or recently on the brink of divorce; all left being greatly encouraged for what God did and will continue to do in their marriage. For those with good marriages, they stated how they are now armed with truths to help them grow even stronger. For those with prior issues, they rejoiced publicly that through repentance and trusting God, they are seeing how He can restore the lost years. For the singles who attended, they were appreciative of learning how to have a marriage God’s way, according to His Word.
In review of all that the Lord did in the lives of those who attended this conference, we have come to see that this Messianic Marriage Matters Conference is a necessity as it is truly a precursor to our Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations Conference. Without strong healthy marriages, we cannot have strong and healthy congregations. Healthy marriages are not just ones that are working out their issues well, but ones that are serving the Lord together! If a couple is not serving the Lord together in the home, how can they become leaders in their congregation or a testimony to the unsaved around them? They will neither be in agreement, nor will they be committed to implement all that is necessary to develop their congregation, and therefore be a grace testimony to the community around them!
We are thrilled to announce that the Lord has already opened the door for two more marriage conferences in the future: one in Columbus, OH in May, and one in Tampa, FL in February of 2021! We hope you can join us for one of these locations. Please pray for these upcoming conferences, but also, please pray for those who attended this one in Charlotte. As Yeshua said in John 13:17, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” The blessing is not in the knowing, but in the doing. Pray that all that was learned over this marriage conference weekend will be practiced by those who learned them!