As president of the ministry my dad, Jimmy Evans, founded, I’ve been serving him for almost a decade. This year, we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of MarriageToday, so I’ve been along for a good portion of the ride. From day one, MarriageToday has always focused on equipping the local church to succeed in the area of marriage. My dad, who has been a pastor for 30 years, frequently says, “The local church is the hope of the world.”
We sincerely believe that. We see our broadcast ministry as the “Air Force” in the battle to save marriage and the local church as the “Army,” with its massive supply of ground troops. We absolutely know that we can’t win this war without strategizing with each other.
For the last few years, one of our greatest tools for empowering churches to reach and teach couples in their churches and communities have been the simulcasts of our live marriage conferences. If you’ve used simulcasts, you know how easy they are to host. Tech-wise, all you need is an Internet connection and a viewing device. Simply put, you set up a “watching environment,” invite a bunch of people to come to a certain place at a certain time, and then sit back and relax while real-time, quality content is streamed to everyone sitting in the room.
Each year, we facilitate two marriage simulcasts. The most recent was broadcast live during Valentine’s Day weekend and drew 300 host churches nationwide plus people and churches from multiple countries around the world. We also gave couples the option to stream the event from the comfort of their homes. We had an estimated 60,000-plus people participate in this one event, both live and via simulcast.
Over the years of producing simulcasts, we’ve seen churches leverage our events in unique and effective ways. If you’re considering hosting a simulcast or just learning about them, consider these specific strategies to make the most of your event:
1) Launch spring and fall small groups. Simulcasts are often thought of as “one-and-done” types of events—it’s a great weekend experience, but what’s next? Churches that have used our simulcasts as kickoffs for their seasonal small groups have told us it makes a huge difference in couples’ participation and ministry follow-through. To extend the impact, MarriageToday provides curriculum kits as part of its simulcast package. A simulcast event that leads into a six-week, marriage-focused small group can be a powerful thing.
2) Think community outreach. We want the local church to be thought of as a place to find hope and healing for any marriage issue. A marriage enrichment event can get unchurched couples who want to fix their relationship not only in the door, but possibly in a future new members class. We promote all our events through our marketing channels, including our TV show and website, in the hope of driving couples to simulcast locations.
3) Address vital but “uncomfortable” subjects. Talk about sex? In church? The truth is that pastors don’t always want to (or even know how to) approach difficult and important subjects like sex, divorce, cohabitation or blended families from the pulpit. My dad is a gifted communicator and is excellent when it comes to delivering biblically based, sensitive information in a way that doesn’t alienate spouses or couples.
Our simulcasts are seen by groups as small as two couples all the way to audiences with multiple thousands in attendance. No matter your church size or budget, you can leverage simulcasts to minister to couples in your church and community. All you need is an Internet connection and a desire to help those who desperately need a stronger marriage foundation. We can win by working together.
Brent Evans is the president of MarriageToday. He lives in Southlake, Texas, with his wife, Stephanie, and their two children, Kate and Reed.