We walked down the steps into the basement of the church, which now functioned as a multi-purpose room. Round tables with linen cloths and center-pieces with candles drew our attention. We had been invited to attend and observe the semi-annual date night at Arbor Road Church in Lakewood, California.
What could a date night ministry do for the marriages at your church? In a society in which marriages are often strained, where do you go for support and for guidance? Arbor Road was the first of several date nights we attended. Let us give you some ideas in case you would like to host a date night at your own church.
Arbor Road charged a per couple admission and provided a gourmet dinner cooked up by ace chefs at the church. After dinner, couples at each table answered questions about funny experiences in their marriage and each table shared their best marriage story with the group. A mentor couple gave their marriage testimony. Each couple received a party favor and a long-stemmed rose for each husband to present to his wife. On the way out, the couple got their picture taken. The emphasis was supporting couples within the ministry and attracting new couples from the church to join the ministry.
Friends Church in Corona, California has a quarterly date night with a different emphasis. Couples from all over the region attend their date night. Five dollars per person includes a simple buffet dinner. Child care is provided at the church. They follow dinner with a fun video clip, praise and worship, an outside marriage speaker, and a time of prayer. The event is a big draw for couples seeking such input as well as an uplifting evening with The Littles taken care of. We loved that they made sure it was affordable.
Crosswinds Church in Moreno Valley, California has a weekly marriage class so their emphasis was on fun and fellowship. Their marriage fellowships feature such activities as a themed potluck and murder mystery dinner. Participants came in costume and played a part in the murder mystery.
We had the privilege of being the guest speakers at The View in Menifee, California where the Keep Holding Hands ministry sponsored a post-Valentine’s banquet. The room was dressy with table cloths and chocolate-filled centerpieces. Gift baskets to be raffled later in the evening lined the front of the stage. Two members of the church catered an elegant finger-food dinner. After our presentation, gift baskets were given to the longest and most recent marriages. Then the laughter and fun began with the remainder of the raffled baskets.
We hope this encourages you to start a date night at your own church. Each group included unique elements that met the needs of their group. You will best know the needs at your church. May we encourage you to support the marriages around you and seek support and community for your own marriage as we face an increasingly-hostile culture.