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Mark, I appreciate the quick reply. I logged out right after posting my questions, and just got back to the computer after working outside all day, clearing brush on the first nice day we have had in a month.

I was looking for something less bold than your suggestions.

First, I couldn't teach the class, because I have quit trying to get my wife to even read the materials. That is how I came to be posting here.

I know that you don't have to have a perfect marriage to know what one is, and how to have a better one than you have, but people expect the teacher or even the discussion leader to be a model of success. It's sort of like a course on improving your financial situation: people want to listen to a self-made millionaire who tells them how to do it without much effort yet can relate to all their insecurities, failures, problems, etc.

For the same reason, I could not even suggest the MB courses to my pastors. The first question is going to be, "How is it working for you and ____?" Also, I doubt they are familiar with Dr. Harley, and think they are too occupied with all the other programs on their plates.

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So does your church require that you perfectly implement the bible in your own life before being allowed to teach about it or to tell others what you have learned about it?

My wife wasn't fully on board with MB until after she agreed to help me teach the class.

My pastor had marginal knowledge of MB, but his explanation when counseling me left a bit to be desired, IME.

The was I have my class laid out it is more about accountability to the group regarding reading the material, filling out the questionnaires etc than about sitting and listening to some boring lecture.

Can you explain POJA?

Do you have a working knowledge of the ENs and ENQ?

Can you explain Love Bustes in such a way that people will understand what a SD is, or what a DJ looks like? We can all identify the old AO when we see it, but why is IB so bad for a marriage?

You see, all the answers are really in the book. By asking the right questions you can get people to think about this stuff at a level that causes them to grasp the importance of living it rather than just knowing about it.

Without meaning to sound like I am in any way equating FILSIL to the bible, it is very much like reading the bible in some very important ways. The obvious lessons are just that, obvious and right out front where almost anyone can get their meaning.

But as you read the materials again, and discuss them with someone else who might have thought about them at a deeper level, you find that MB is like the old pealing an onion thing. We look at a layer, study it, grasp its significance, understand it and then discover that there is another layer underneath the one we just figured out and now we have to start all over again.

As far as proving the validity of MB to someone who knows nothing about it, you can't really do that very well anyway. In fact the process proves itself if you follow the steps.

My wife was far from into MB when our class started, but having read the book more fully than the first time she "glance at it" she was confident in the methods taught in the book to give a testimony in week #2 of the first class telling about how our marriage was nearly over, she was ready to walk away and it was my learning and applying MB to our situation that saved our marriage and made it better than it ever was at any time in our life together.

If you can get your wife to go through the material with you while the group is doing it too, it is really all you can do. The material makes the difference, as long as the facilitator can explain the nuances that some will miss the first time through.

Maybe our church is different because we have spent many years doing group bible studies where one person in the group might get one thing and someone else will see something else that was missed. A couple of us have been able to throw the Greek or Hebrew things into the mix and before long our DIY bible study is producing folks who understand subtle things that even some seminary graduates tend to miss.

Have you applied MB to your marriage? I didn't ask if your wife had, simply if you had done it?

Would you say that applying MB to your marriage has made your marriage better?

Would your wife agree that your marriage is better now? (Why she thinks so is not the key to understanding where this is going.)

If you understand MB, can explain it to others and have applied it to your own marriage and it has proven effective in improving your relationship with your wife, what else do you think you need in order to teach other people how it works so that they can benefit from the stuff you learned on your own or by having other less than perfect, sometimes inadequate and always amateur anonymous posters on the forums explain it?

Mark

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Oh, I agree with you, Mark.

I just don't think my clergy would go for any member of the laity teaching anything. They are having enough struggle with having two stock brokers, an economist, a management consultant and a real estate developer lead weekly meeting on personal financial improvement.

I think my wife would scoff at the very I idea of the less-than-perfect husband like myself daring to teach others about marriage. Of course, that is not what it would be. As you say, it is leading a discussion from the teachings of someone who is an expert on marriage. Nevertheless, at this point, I don't feel qualified to or justified to consider taking such a lead, precisely because my wife doesn't see me as a great husband, and doesn't see Dr. Harley or Marriage Builders as being any different than John Gray, Dr. Phil, or those other popular authors.

So for now, I am going to just try to plant the seed by donating the books and CDs to the church library, where they will be highly visible on the New Books stand in the meeting room near the kitchen. Keep the support and ideas coming, and update us on what your group is covering each week. I am taking notes for when we do get an MB class going.

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Retread,

I would love to give a play by play of our weekly meeting here, but I don't think it would be appropriate as sometimes we actually discuss things that some people probably don't want made public. Part of the dynamic of a small group setting is in the way each member of the group feels safe to share what is really going on in his or her life and sometimes that means sharing things that might be embarrassing or less than something one might want to be public knowledge.

As a small group leader, it is a fine line that while not carrying the responsibility of being a professional counselor does carry some of the same ethical and moral obligations. Unlike this forum where we are as anonymous as we want to be, in a small group setting we see people face to face and when they share things with us that have directly touched their lives it is a trust that we simply can't betray if we really want to be able to help people.

As far as your church leadership and the dynamics there, I could probably write a book on what we have experienced at our church.



I don't think that ordination is the criteria for understanding the bible of the things of God. Even attending bible school is not something that is required as far as I am concerned in order to be able to teach others. I never went to school to learn the bible but I have studied it for about 40 years. I know enough (I took a class for two years) koine Greek to get by and know where to find the Hebrew that I need to figure out if something is missing in a passage that I don't understand.

Like I said, I could probably write a book about church leadership and have read probably over a hundred of them written by others. I think we might be on the right track since our numbers are growing in a town where church attendance is down almost everywhere. We are not "seeker sensitive" in that we don't dilute things or provide entertainment for people on Sunday morning. But people who find us seem to come back and our budget has doubled in the last three years almost all of the increase going to support things outside the church or at least things that touch those outside the walls.

I need to get back to work but drop me a line and we can talk about this off line if you'd like.

Mark

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No, I wasn't expecting you to share anything about the actual discussions of the group members. I was thinking more about the syllabus or a synopsis of what you discuss each week, in order to see the game plan or the progression of topics and how fast the group moved.

Every denomination has its doctrine about the priesthood of believers, and every church and set of clergy have their own views on how much they want any lay person leading anything.

Because some of the discussions here move at such a good pace and delve into a lot of aspects from personal experience, I sort of hate to move any discussions out of sight from others. But I may e-mail you because I want my posts here to encourage you to keep everyone informed about your class, rather than diverting them into my personal questions.

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Drop me an email and I'll send you my syllabus. I've already sent it to quite a few folks around here. What I really have laid out is simply a list of the chapters we will be studying each week with a pre-class reading assignment for folks as well as appropriate questionnaires and such.

My wife and I have developed a handful of visual things related to the Love Bank using a larger icecream container and the ENs printed on various sized pieces of paper.

There is no magic to the nine weeks we take for our class. Nine weeks was what we had available the first time so that is how I organized the class. I wanted to spend more time on each chapter and to be honest I might actually flip flop some chapters and do them out of order the next time I do the class.

The pastor of another church is visiting us this week to evaluate what we are doing and take it back to his church to see if they would like me to come teach a class there.

Mark

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New class about to start.

I will need final class roster by the weekend and still have a couple of openings.

using HNHN and LBs along with other materials

Email me for more information ASAP so I can get the roster set in time to order stuff.

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Still have some openings for the class...

Email me!

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Originally Posted By: Mark1952

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