Jun 4, 2012 — When Doris Zhuang and her husband, Wilson Chen, attended a weekend marriage retreat hosted by Chinese Family for Christ (CFFC) in 2008, they never thought it would lead to a ministry in their own church.
Volunteers from Nelson Avenue Community CRC.
Four years later, their church, Nelson Avenue Community Christian Reformed Church in Burnaby, British Columbia, partnered with that organization to provide the 12-session marriage course in the Mandarin language.
The first six sessions were held in the fall of 2011 and another six in 2012. Organizers were delighted that 105 participants and more than 30 children turned out for the first class, far exceeding their expectations. More than 170 people participated over the course of the program.
Eleven volunteer couples hosted lectures and discussions on communication, solving conflict, God’s view of marriage, and how family of origin can impact adult relationships.
Church members acted as greeters, provided childcare, and served refreshments for the seminars. The marriage enrichment course was one of several new initiatives made possible by an outreach renewal grant the church received through Christian Reformed Home Missions.
While many of the participants were believers, the marriage seminars were organized with outreach in mind. “When a nonbeliever finds out that the Bible can provide practical help in building happy and healthy relationships, would he or she more readily accept the Christian faith?” Zhuang asked. “Facing the challenges in our couple relationships prepares us to face bigger challenges in other aspects of our lives and teaches us how to turn conflict into love and blessings. Both believers and nonbelievers can benefit from that.”
Zhuang said this type of large-group ministry was new for CFFC as well, but the format may be expanded to other churches, given its success at her church.
CFFC is an international, nondenominational ministry that has been serving Chinese families through smaller marriage retreats since 1990.