Earlier this year Phil and Nancy had the opportunity to teach ICM’s marriage seminar in Ukraine. In previous years they have had the opportunity to do this together in Russia but it is not always possible for her to join the team and so it was a special time for them to serve together again in this part of the world.
Maxym and Anya (ministry coaches in the MC Network in Ukraine) had organized a fun romantic Friday night for the couples with a dessert and coffee. Phil shared regarding the challenges of marriage and ministry in particular. Then the seminar continued all day on Saturday covering issues such as God’s design for male/female relationships and how this affects every area of the marriage and family. Topics such as communication, boundaries, personality, and intimacy were discussed.
While the expression of marriage can be somewhat culturally defined, the basic principles are remarkably similar regardless of our different cultures. Learning to communicate in healthy ways, dealing with intimacy issues, establishing boundaries and determining roles, are all impacted by our culture, but as Christian couples there are biblical principles that are trans-cultural or above culture.
Christian leadership is also expressed within the context of a particular culture, yet each of our cultures have been influenced by sin which necessitates our minds being renewed by the Word so that we can follow Jesus’ model of leadership, rather than what we are influenced by in the society in which we live. This dynamic also occurs within our marriage relationships. Instead of following the fallen model of our culture, we need to look to the Scripture to see how we are to function as husband and wife. Regardless of the culture, the goal of the seminar is to help husbands and wives reconnect and implement biblical principles in their marriages so that they may have healthy marriages as God intended.
Often what occurs is that leaders want help in developing healthy teams in their church so that by extension the church and ministry is healthy. However, if the most basic team – the marriage team – is not healthy it is very difficult to build healthy teams when marriages are in jeopardy. “The First Team” (as the seminar is called) needs continual attention if it is going to last and be a strength for others. Thank you for your prayers for the marriages of the many leaders touched by this ministry within the various countries we work.