Marriage Mentors™ by Strong Marriages®
The purpose of Strong Marriages' Marriage Mentors program is to help fellow believers glorify God with their thoughts, words, and actions. This glorification is made possible by the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the instruction of God's Word. Additionally, Strong Marriages, through its mentors, aims to lead people to an understanding of what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ and how following Christ impacts marriage.
This Mentor Statement of Commitment details the components of the agreement that you are entering into as a mentor couple. The following is an outline of the agreement:
You understand that mentors are volunteers using Biblical instruction and life experiences along with training to guide you.
You understand that confidentiality must be practiced by you as mentors, Strong Marriages, and church staff unless there is (1) known or suspected child or elder abuse of any kind, (2) the intent to take criminal actions or violence against another person, (3) active suicidal thoughts or intentions, (4) other credible intent to harm any person, and (5) any disclosures required by applicable law.
You understand and commit to never suggest separation or divorce as outlined in the Doctrinal Statement on Divorce.
You agree to the Statement of Faith as outlined.
You agree to the Standards of Morals and Conduct as outlined.
You commit to the mentoring process for a minimum of one year, and to meet faithfully with your mentee couple and adhere to the mentoring process, spend time in God's Word, pray regularly, extend blessings to each other, and undertake fellowship with believers.
You agree to complete confidential online session reports after your mentoring sessions.
The undersigned ("we") hereby affirm our belief that the Bible has all the instruction necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). In our Biblically-based mentoring, the Scriptures are, in all cases, the final authority (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As mentors, we do not claim to know all there is about Biblical teaching and its application to life; nevertheless, we strive to guide mentees in the process of seeking and applying Biblical principles. While we believe the Bible speaks to all of life and its challenges, we also believe that careful thought and prayerful wisdom are essential to knowing how to approach any situation. As mentors, we are trained to help guide mentee couples in applying Biblical wisdom. We are not counselors and only provide Biblical instruction. We believe mentoring consists of offering and applying scriptural advice. Ultimately, mentee couples are held fully responsible for how the advice is implemented (James 1:23-25).
We agree not to render any medical, mental health or other professional advice or services, or to hold ourselves out as being a social worker or therapist, a licensed marriage or family therapist, a licensed counsel, licensed psychologist, licensed psychiatrist, state certified therapist, or any other type of professional mental health care provider.
We acknowledge and agree that confidentiality is a vital aspect of the mentoring process. We and our church staff agree to guard the information shared in mentoring sessions to the fullest extent possible. However, some exceptions may warrant sharing information outside of the mentoring context. Exceptions include, but are not limited to: (1) known or suspected child or elder abuse of any kind, (2) the intent to take criminal actions or violence against another person, (3) active suicidal thoughts or intentions, (4) other credible intent to harm any person, (5) confidential reporting to, and consultation with, the mentor's supervisor(s), and (6) any other disclosures required by law. As mentors, it is our responsibility to know and follow the appropriate reporting procedures. We have the right and obligation to contact the appropriate authorities when, as a result of the mentoring, it is clear that a crime has been, or may be, committed or the safety and welfare of any person (including the mentor or mentee) is in jeopardy. In the case of marriage, confidentiality is limited to the relationship and not the individual.
We acknowledge the importance of confidentiality and commit to refrain from disclosing the identity of any mentee when seeking wise counsel from others. Additionally, we commit to using the following confidentiality statement when others seek information: "We cannot confirm or deny that Marriage Mentors is involved with any couple. If it were you, we/I would extend the same courtesy to keep your name confidential."
Statement of Faith
Based on Holy Scripture and the constant moral teaching of the universal Church:
We believe there is only one God. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit—one in three persons, yet uniquely distinct. God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present and eternal. (Matthew 28:19, Isaiah 40:12-26, Isaiah 46:8-11, John 14:9)
We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was born of the virgin Mary, walked among men as a man, yet without sin. Jesus fulfilled His mission by suffering death on a cross as atonement for the sins of all mankind. Jesus was buried in a tomb and then rose from the grave to return to heaven. Jesus will return again to earth in all His glory to receive God's children and judge the world. (Matthew 1:18-24, John 3:16, Hebrews 4:15, Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Ephesians 1:20)
We believe the Holy Spirit dwells in all believers. He convicts men of sin and righteousness. He comforts believers, strengthens them, guides them to understand the Truth, calls all men unto Himself, and by grace through faith in God, He sanctifies every believer. (Ephesians 1:13, Acts 1:8, John 16:8, John 15:26, Romans 8:9)
We believe the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God, acting as the source of authority over our morality, our beliefs, our lifestyle and our conduct. (Romans 15:4, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21)
We believe God created mankind in His image: male (man) and female (woman), sexually different but with equal personal dignity. Consequently, we affirm our respective biological sex and refrain from any and all attempts to physically change, alter, or disagree with our respective predominant biological sex — including but not limited to elective sex-reassignment, transvestite, transgender, or non-binary "genderqueer" acts or conduct. (Genesis 1:26-28, Romans 1:26-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
We believe, through the temptation of Satan, man fell from innocence into sin. Because of sin, all men are separated from God and are in need of a Savior. No person can save himself. It is only by the grace of God, through faith in Him and receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, that man can be brought back into the proper relationship with Him. Consequently, we welcome and treat with respect, compassion, and sensitivity all who experience same-sex attractions or confess sexually immoral acts but are committed to resisting sexual temptation, refraining from sexual immorality, and conforming their behavior to our Statement of Faith. (Matthew 11:28-30, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 10:9, Romans 10:9-13, Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 4:14-16)
We believe God created marriage as part of His original plan for mankind (Genesis 2:18). Marriage is the permanent, exclusive, comprehensive, and conjugal "one flesh" union of one man and one woman, intrinsically ordered to procreation and biological family, and in furtherance of the moral, spiritual, and public good of binding father, mother, and child. Consequently, we affirm the sexual complementarity of man and woman and resist any and all same-sex sexual attractions and refrain from any and all same-sex sexual acts or conduct, which are intrinsically disordered. (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:5-9, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:25- 27, Revelation 19:7-9, Revelation 21:2)
We affirm the sanctity of human life established by God the creator. The Holy Scriptures teach that every person is known by God before the foundation of the world (Jeremiah 1:4-5). Every male and female alike is formed by God in their mother's womb (Psalm 139:13-16). Each of them possesses dignity by virtue of being created in God's image (Genesis 1:27), and are therefore, to be nurtured, provided for and protected from the moment of conception.
We believe the Holy Scriptures grant two life-enhancing options for human sexual behavior: (1) the conjugal "one flesh" marital union of one man and one woman, and (2) celibacy. Either is a gift from God, given as He wills for His glory and the good of those who receive and rejoice in His gift to them. Celibacy and faithful singleness is to be celebrated and affirmed. (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18, 21-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-8; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:1-8; Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Romans 12:10; 1 Timothy 5:1-2)
Standards of Morals and Conduct
We acknowledge and agree that certain rules and regulations regarding behavior are necessary for the efficient operation of Strong Marriages and for the benefit and safety of all involved. As a religious organization, the conduct of individuals associated with the ministry, both on and off the job, directly impacts Strong Marriages' mission. We understand Strong Marriages requires faithful practice from all those involved with the ministry. Conduct that interferes with operations, discredits Strong Marriages and its witness, or is offensive to members, constituents or volunteers will not be tolerated.
Members, constituents or volunteers are expected at all times and locations to conduct themselves in a manner so as to promote the best interests of Strong Marriages and adhere to its principles. Such conduct includes:
Treating all members, constituents, visitors, and volunteers in a courteous manner;
Refraining from offensive or undesirable behavior or conduct contrary to Strong Marriages' written Statement of Faith and Purpose Statement (see Appendix), as well as the standards outlined below.
The following conduct is prohibited:
Inappropriate behavior or attitude towards any person associated with theministry.
The use, sale, dispensing, or possession of alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs and narcotics on the ministry's premises or at ministry-sanctioned events away from the home office.
The use of profanity or abusive language.
Involvement in gossip, defined as discussing anything negative with someone who has not been given the option to participate in solving the problem.
The possession of firearms or other weapons on Strong Marriages property.
Physical altercations or verbal assaults of employees, volunteers, constituents, vendors, or visitors of the ministry.
Theft, destruction, defacement, or misuse of the ministry's property.
Improper attire or inappropriate personal appearance.
Improper investigation of or disclosure of information deemed as "confidential."
Counter-witnessing or support of activities which espouse beliefs contradictory to Strong Marriages' teaching, Statement of Faith, and Purpose Statement.
Engaging in any form of sexual misconduct, including but not limited to, co-habitation, fornication, homosexuality, pornography.
The examples above are illustrative of the type of behavior that will not be permitted, but they are not intended to be an exhaustive listing. Any questions in connection with this policy should be directed to executive staff members of Strong Marriages.
Personal Sexual Purity
In an age where secular society is increasingly confused regarding individual sexual identity and sexual purity, Strong Marriages desires most vehemently to be clear with all individuals directly associated with this ministry regarding the expectation that they uphold the highest standards of Biblical purity in every interpersonal relationship. Standards for biblical sexuality are laid out in Strong Marriages' Statement of Faith.
Confused sexuality and unrepentant sexual sin can inflict devastating consequences to the mission of Strong Marriages. Therefore, any members, constituents, and volunteers who disagree with or currently live contrary to this policy will be expected to resign from all duties and/or responsibilities associated with Strong Marriages.
Doctrinal Statement Concerning Divorce
We believe marriage is a covenant made with God. It is His design and intended to last a lifetime; therefore, this lasting relationship between man and woman should never be broken by human action. In Malachi 2:16, the Bible states that God hates divorce. Jesus also stated in Matthew 19:4- 6, "Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?' So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (NIV)
Though the Bible does not condone divorce, the New Testament explicitly identifies two situations in which divorce is permissible.
In the instance of a Christian's mate committing adultery, Matthew 5:32 states: "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery." See also Matthew 19:9: "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (NIV)
In the instance of a believer who is deserted by an unbeliever because of faith in Christ, see 1 Corinthians 7:15: "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." (NIV)
"Constructive desertion" is defined as separation due to abuse, brutality, or harassment rendering it impossible and unsafe to live together. Constructive desertion is considered the equivalent of desertion.
As mentors, we commit to never recommending separation or divorce. Instead, should the decision to divorce be expressed by the mentees, we will refer mentees to pastoral staff.
Commitment to the Mentoring Process
We acknowledge the we each have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and we are willing to share what God has done in and for our marriage. In addition, we affirm that we are legally married, realizing the importance of our commitment to the institution of marriage.
Furthermore, we acknowledge that communication with Marriage Mentors leadership is vital to the strength of our Marriage Mentors Ministry. We agree to meet with our ministry leadership as our schedule allows. Additionally, we agree to submit confidential online session reports after our mentoring sessions.
We vow to stay faithful to God and each other and trust in Him throughout this process—though there may be times when our emotions, circumstances, or our culture try to convince us otherwise. We commit as mentors and look to the future with anticipation for God to use us to walk alongside another couple.
We are motivated in all facets by our faith in Jesus Christ, attempting to serve as a reflection of God's unconditional love for all people. We seek to honor the Lord in all that we do by operating Strong Marriages in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. Every activity and speech that Strong Marriages, its employees and volunteers engage in shall be consistent with, and in furtherance of Strong Marriages' religious purposes, both publicly and privately. All activities in which Strong Marriages engages are for the religious purpose of furthering its Christian mission, message, and viewpoint. Whether the activity has an overt liturgical religious purpose or a related non-liturgical religious purpose (e.g. social service activities, training, meetings, mentoring sessions, etc.), all activities of the organization are carried out with the sole objective to glorify God (Colossians 3:17). Strong Marriages conducts all activities in a holistic manner in order to foster, repeat, advertise or express its Christian mission, message and viewpoint. In this way, every organization activity itself is infused with a religious purpose, as an act of worship, intending to further Strong Marriages' religious beliefs and commitment to the faith as outlined in our Statement of Faith and other governing documents (the "Written Statements of Faith"), which are incorporated herein by reference, as if fully set forth herein.
Conveying Strong Marriages' Christian message is at the heart of all that we do, in life, deed, word and expression. Strong Marriages is dedicated to serving and providing for its community in ways other than simply engaging in organized worship. Provision of charity and community services, including but not limited to helping engaged couples prepare for marriage, help married couples enrich and restore their marriages, evangelism, care for children, widows, and those in need, strengthening Christian leadership, discipleship and Biblical education, primary and secondary education, are means of fulfilling Christian duty and providing an example of the Christ-like way of life that Strong Marriages seeks to foster. (James 1:27; Mark 16:15; Titus 1:7-9; Matthew 28:19-20) Therefore, all behavior of members, representatives, and volunteers of the organization is communicative in nature, exemplifying the faith. Associating with likeminded Christians reinforces Strong Marriages' Christian purpose and is vital to the faith's perpetuation. (Hebrews 10:24-25) Finally, the primary, exclusive, and only purposes for which Strong Marriages is organized are religious in nature, including biblical marriage mentoring. Likewise, Strong Marriages intends to disseminate, teach, and preach the Gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ, to encourage and aid the growth, nurture and spread of Christianity and to render Christian service. The recital of these purposes is intended to be exclusive of any and all other purposes, this organization being formed for religious and charitable purposes only.
We are called, by Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit, to challenge all people to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Our calling includes both introduction to and encouragement to remain in a life of full devotion to Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17) We are charged with encouraging, equipping, serving and sustaining Christians. We do this by directly instilling our Christian philosophies, values, missions and goals in those whom our ministry serves. Liturgical religious activities (e.g. preaching, worship services, Bible instruction, communion, baptism), as well as non-liturgical religious activities (e.g. mentorship, marriage preparation, service opportunities, events, community involvement), all serve as methods that Strong Marriages utilize to instill our religious values and beliefs, both expressly and by example. Guided by Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit, non-liturgical ministries are grounded in our written organizational policies, governing documents, handbooks, procedures, Standards of Morals and Conduct, Statements of Faith, religious beliefs, and internal dispute resolution policy (the "Written Statements of Faith"), of Strong Marriages and are therefore subject to all of its ministerial, membership, discipline, and excision policies.
We believe that our religious activity and religious worship derives meaning in large measure from participation in a larger religious community. For this reason, individual members of our body play a large role in furthering our mission and viewpoint as an organization. We exist to instill and foster a Christ-like environment of persons subscribing to our religious beliefs and faith. Strong Marriages is dedicated to serving and providing for its community, in ways other than simply engaging in organized worship. (Galatians 6:10) Associating with like-minded Christians reinforces Strong Marriages' Christian purpose and is vital to our faith's perpetuation. (2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 John 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:33) We are committed to being and making disciples who understand what it means to follow Jesus Christ into a life of worship, fellowship, sacrifice, service and being led by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; John 15:16; Mark 16:15) Therefore, we are also called to enable and equip the uncommitted and opposed to be fully devoted followers of Christ. (Colossians 4:5-6; Psalm 96:3) Our mission as the body of Christ is to participate, share, and encourage each other toward spiritual growth. (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:23-25; Colossians 3:16) Membership in our organization requires a tangible commitment to our beliefs, purposes, and mission as outlined in Strong Marriages' Membership Policies, teachings, doctrines, Bylaws, Certificate of Formation, Purpose Statement, and Statements of Faith and therefore subject to all of its ministerial, membership, discipline, and excision policies, which are incorporated herein by reference, as if fully set forth herein.
Expression of Faith
Strong Marriages intends to transmit our system of religious beliefs, tradition, Christian morals, reverence, and values. We do so by engaging in the community and individuals' lives, acts of worship, and through all activities in which we participate. Likewise, we believe that all behavior of members and representatives of the organization is communicative in nature, exemplifying and expressing our faith, both publicly and privately. (1 Peter 2:12) Any member or representative who propounds a point of view contrary to our beliefs as stated in our Purpose Statement, Bylaws, Certificate of Formation, and Statements of Faith, which are incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth herein, will impair Strong Marriages' integrity and ability to disseminate its religious views and message. (James 4:4; 1 Corinthians 5:11-12)
Outreach of Ministries
We take very seriously the Biblical charge to be a Christian presence in a secular world. (Matthew 5:14-16) Therefore, all activities engaged in by Strong Marriages are intended to further its religious purpose, as stated above. As such, all sub-ministries of Strong Marriages are considered an outgrowth of the mission of Strong Marriages to preach, teach, evangelize and instill the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
We affirm that we are a ministry of the Christian church, and as such strive to present our doctrine in its fullness. We further affirm that we hold, believe and practice all that the Christian church teaches, believes and proclaims to be true, as set forth in our Written Statements of Faith, whether from the natural moral law or revelation from God through Scripture and traditional teachings of the Christian church. When our directors, officers, employees, volunteers endorse views contrary to these teachings, such counter witnessing creates a toxic confusion about our fundamental values among both employees and volunteers, those we serve, and society at large. Strong Marriages requires all employees and volunteers to conduct themselves in a manner that is compatible with the statements of faith and mission of Strong Marriages. We acknowledge that some of our employees and volunteers may struggle to achieve fidelity to some of our teachings, but we are all nevertheless called and required to stand as effective and visible professional participants and proponents of Strong Marriages. As effective professionals in our ministry setting, all employees and volunteers are required and expected to avoid fostering confusion among the faithful and any dilution of our Christian mission and statements of faith. Therefore, they are expected to arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine, or deny these truths. To that end, further, we all must refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which Strong Marriages holds to be true, as set forth in Strong Marriages' Statement of Faith. Those employees and volunteers who consider themselves to be Christians but who are not in a state of full assent to the beliefs of Strong Marriages, moreover, must refrain from participation in activities that support or advocate issues or causes contrary to the beliefs of Strong Marriages. We acknowledge that all employees and volunteers who engage in this ministry have a higher calling, according to which they must not only avoid public contradiction of their status as professional agents in the mission of Strong Marriages but are also called to conform their hearts, minds and consciences, as well as their public and private behavior, ever more closely to the truths taught by Strong Marriages. Recognizing as we do that no person can give perfect witness to these truths, Strong Marriages' professionals are nevertheless called to strive for assent and fidelity.