06 Nov, 2023 Family relationships – an under-utilised gateway

Family, marriage and parenting – an under-utilised gateway

(An article by Dave from the ‘Outreach Today’ 2024 publication presenting a vision for the united Church)

The relational needs of families have never been greater in our nation. Meanwhile, God’s Word and people are loaded of wisdom for marriages and parenting. This is also a gateway for the gospel. What if our churches became more intentional in this area?


To consider the under-utilised resource that is in our hands – there are people within churches right across New Zealand who have wisdom regarding marriage and parenting, and for whom this topic is a primary passion. What if we were to release more of these people to serve in this specific area, bringing training and support to marriage and parenting – with both our church members and the wider communities in view?


To consider the scope of this ‘gateway’:

  • Marriage: Half of all adults are married in NZ – who might be interested in a marriage course.
  • Pre-marriage: Over 18,000 couples get married each year – who are potentially interested in pre-marriage courses. This is statistically proven to help marriages last!
  • Parenting: 58,000 children were born last year. That’s 58,000 sets of parents who might be interested in parenting courses related to babies, then toddlers, then children and eventually teenagers.
  • Divorce recovery: About 7,500 couples divorced last year. That’s 15,000 adults suffering pain who might benefit from a divorce recovery course.
  • Grief recovery: About 38,500 people died last year. That’s a lot of people who could benefit from a course on dealing with grief!

We live in an age of broken families, struggling parents – and unavoidable pain.

When we serve communities in these areas, we’re helping in areas that are relevant to maybe 3/4 or more of the population!

This is an underutilised connection point in our Christian witness and service!



Regarding other possible courses – specialist help could also be offered to solo mums or even teens growing up in solo-parent homes… There are weblink to various courses churches could run below.

  • Given that half of all NZ children grow up without their biological father in the home, there is no question these are real needs – and could endear attendance if promotions connect with these felt needs, with a positive, non-judgemental / welcoming tone.
    • To be clear – courses would not be a promotion of Christianity. They are about helping in areas in which we ALL could benefit from a helping hand or some encouragement.
    • The ‘lesson’ for churches together here is this: We are sometimes wise to know how to work with both the left hand and right.
    • Bridges can be built and a positivity toward our churches generated within a community. In our times this has real value.


In application – to consider as churches in each city and town:

  • What help could local churches offer to meet needs in the above areas?
    • (Who within your congregations has a natural passion for that area – who might relish the opportunity if invited and supported?)
  • How could churches collaborate together, to potentially offer a wider range of options to their communities each year together?


As an idea for churches together

A full compliment of various courses could be promoted via letterboxes annually – maybe with the idea of running courses in the following two school terms.

  • A note to ‘register interest – and we’ll remind you 1 month prior’ could be included – enabling a timely contact for a course starting 3 months later.
  • Each course could then be promoted via social media, utilising paid boosting, with your locality specified for those.
  • This would reflect a Church that is present
  • …and a Church that is engaged with real needs.

Both of these are powerful – even without someone attending a course!


In summary: This area is a gateway for connections and reputation – gained through engaging together to provide valuable help and encouragement in a genuinely important area. And there are likely people in nearly every church for whom this will be a primary passion!


Resources: Research courses available via the following ministries:

  • FamilyLife (Tandem Ministries)
  • Alpha
  • Focus on the Family
  • The Parenting Place

 These include pre-marriage, marriage and various parenting courses.

Other courses of value


For other articles by Dave on the same topic of – CHURCH UNITY

2024 – The LID of our unity is in what we can SEE

2024 – To further unity there is a needed context

2024 – SLT Leadership statement – Nest areas we intend to innovate within

2024 – Attitudes that sustain unity

2024 – How is the strength of unity to be measured?

2024 – Application from the Bible Society’s new data

2023 – A unity reflection: What if we were more strategic in our PRAYER

2023 – Roy Crowne – A voice for unity – Unity finding its voice in the CITY

2023 – Fresh vision for local Church unity

2023 – Invercargill’s Community Service Day – a unity story

2023 – Family relationships – an under-utilised gateway

2023 – The election is over – so WHAT NOW? (A specific strategic proposal)

2023 – For a united Church – there are leaders we cannot see

2023 – “Mistaken” – An offensive comical parable? Why?

2023 – “Mistaken” – A comical parable about unity

2023 – Four characteristics of leaders who take city-wide unity from talk to action

2023 – The quiet before the storm (Perspectives that shape how we lead)

2023 – STORY: How Gisborne churches united to serve their flood-affected region

2023 – STORY: NZ churches can shine when it counts (Napier flood report)

2023 – To think differently in times of crisis – like during the floods (How to ‘let our light shine’)

2022 – One Church? FIVE factors that enable pastors’ groups to turn theory into practice

2022 – A SWOT Analysis of the NZ Church in relation to its outreach

2022 – Four national goals that can be easy ‘wins’ together

2022 – A vocabulary we can agree on (This one is a particularly important FOUNDATION if coherent national discussions on unity are to one day take place)

2022 – Principles for managing necessary agenda in pastors’ groups

2022 – Introducing ‘HeLP Project’ (for pastors’ groups) – the what and the why

2022 – Key pulpit themes in view of the global reset (Finding direction in changing times)

2020 – It’s time to take responsibility to educate our own children and youth again (On united direction and strategy – for city change)

2020 – Kingdom minded  – It’s more radical than many think

2020 – STORY – The Auckland delivery

2020 – STORY – Miracle delivery where pastors declined (raises an intriguing question about boundaries)

2020 – A need for new media platforms – not more voices (How do we address the increasingly left-leaning and also anti-faith bias of public media?)

2020 – A vision for national Church unity (What might REALISTICALLY be within our reach to achiEve – if we merely thought differently?)

2019 – ‘In One Spirit’ – The purpose of the book (Written at the time of the book launch and press release)

2019 ‘In One Spirit’ – full book FREE online

2019 – United we stand (A blog just prior to the release of the above book, ‘In One Spirit’)

2017 – Pastors’ groups – a home visitation idea (best suiting smaller towns)

2017 – The call to influence culture (It’s about the way we think)


DAVE MANN. Dave is a networker and creative communicator with a vision to see an understanding of the Christian faith continuing and also being valued in the public square in Aotearoa-New Zealand. He has innovated numerous conversational resources for churches, and has coordinated various national nationwide multimedia Easter efforts purposed to open up conversations between church and non-church people about the Christian faith and its significance to our nation’s history and values. Dave is the Producer of the ‘Chronicles of Paki’ illustrated NZ history series created for educational purposes, and the author of various other books and booklets including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last” and “The Elephant in the Room”. Married to Heather, they have four boys and reside in Tauranga, New Zealand.

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