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It’s no secret that today’s church members are not free from problems. When it comes to divorce, Clay Stevens, pastor of Springfield Presbyterian Church, said the problem is probably as great in the church as it is outside.
“We live in a throw-away culture. Everything gets thrown away, but the family is not a throw-away item,” said Stevens. “Stats show that in the church, we don’t have any less divorce rate than there is outside the church. The church needs to be strengthened in its commitment to marriage.”
Stevens, along with John McDaniel, pastor of Springfield’s Temple Baptist Church, is looking to strengthen marriages in the community by helping bring a marriage seminar provided by a couple that has been ministering for more than 20 years.
“Our county and state really need this,” McDaniel said. “I’ve been sharing with Clay, and in all of our churches, we’re having a lot of divorce and marital problems. About 50 percent of the people I’ve performed wedding ceremonies for wind up in divorce, and that’s nationwide, too. We need to start building stronger family values. Our society is built on strong families, and if not, we will have a weak society.”
To help strengthen those values, Terry and Barbi Franklin will bring their “Inspiring Love in the Home and Revival in the Church” seminar to Washington County Sept. 12-14. The seminar is non-denominational, and is not an evangelistic event, according to Stevens. The event is being funded by area churches, and all parts of the Franklins’ visit to Springfield are free of charge and open to anyone who wants to attend.
The Franklins live in Nashville, Tenn., and have been married for 25 years. For more than 22 of those years, they have been working in the ministry, providing music as well as marriage seminars.
“We began doing marriage seminars extensively about eight years ago,” Barbi said. “The Lord just led us to more and more of the marriage seminars, and we actually do as many marriage seminars as we do concerts. We also do a lot of music that ministers to families and marriages, focused on strengthening the marriage.”
Barbi said the couple’s message is power-packed, and features music, as well as multi-media presentations, and is filled with practical, true-life stories.
“We went to a conference in Elizabethtown, and Clay and I felt inspired by what they were doing. We felt we needed this in our city and county,” McDaniel said of the seminar.
“On a musical level, they’re good enough to come out just for the music, but then you add their heart and vision for strengthening marriages, and it’s an extensive model for ministry,” Stevens added. “They share stories, and they’ve traveled the world. This is a worldwide phenomenon focused on honoring commitments and keeping your word. They inspire you.”
Barbi said the seminars are as much of a blessing for her and her husband as they are for those who attend.
“We just see a lot of laughter, tears, and a lot of encouragement. We’re not there to be condemning at all. We just want to help couples get to the next step and really experience what God intended for their marriage to be,” Barbi said. “We see a lot of hope brought back and good strengthening and encouragement. Marriage is the most important and intimate relationship we can have. We love to do the seminars and cover real, practical topics, including ways to build good habits in communication, things to do and not to do, and how to build a loving relationship, as well as pointing out things that can hurt a relationship.”
She said the seminar features work sheets, as well as surveys to educate those attending. Her favorite is a survey that helps couples discover additional interests they have in common and allow them to find more ways to spend quality time together, as well as with their children.
“We give things for couples to do with kids, regarding their future marriages,” she said. “Your marriage can affect your kids and it can affect your kids’ marriages down the road, too.”
The Franklins’ weekend in Washington County gets started on Friday, Sept. 12, with a seminar at the Opera House on Main Street in Springfield starting at 6:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 13, the Franklins will offer their seminar at 9 a.m. at The Opera House. That evening, they will perform a concert at 7 p.m. at Springfield Presbyterian Church. On Sunday, Sept. 14, they will visit Temple Baptist Church at 10:30 a.m., then later that evening they will do a concert at 7 p.m. at Willisburg Christian Church. All events are free.