‘Marriage Works’ workshop end of October at East Side church

I enjoy being married. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, and we’ve been married 32 years.

I believe you should never stop working to improve your marriage. The pitfalls to destroying a successful marriage are abundant, so my wife and I try to take advantage of workshops to help strengthen our marriage when we can.

A few years ago, I shared in this space about a marriage retreat in Aurora sponsored by Rising Star Baptist Church’s marriage ministry hosted by facilitators and counselors Mike and Linda McNair of Youngstown. Their practical information about marriage was on point, practical and easy to understand.

The marriage-failure rate is 50 percent for those who attend church and consider themselves Christians as well as for those who profess no religious affiliation, according to research by the McNairs, who have created the Show Your Love Marriage and Relationship Ministry.

There is another two-day marriage workshop at the end of this month at Rising Star on Youngstown’s East Side you may want to attend to learn ways to bolster your marriage. It is called “Marriage Works,” and the facilitators are Dexter and Kim Hardy, former Youngstown natives who now live in Georgia.

The Hardys believe the Bible is relevant to today’s marriages and should be relentlessly shared. Their engaging personalities come through as they equip and encourage people to live passionately and purposefully through the power of God.

Dexter, who is pastor of Lifepoint Church in Marietta, Ga., has served as an instructor at the Detroit Bible Institute and vice president for the Black Student Fellowship of Dallas Theological Seminary, where he earned his master’s degree in theology. He served 11 years as the African American Ministries Leader for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, where he worked with pastors and church planters throughout the state.

Kim is a renowned national speaker. She has spoken to thousands of attendees at conferences, churches, schools and businesses. In addition to speaking, she is a life and leadership coach and author of nine books.

Her latest book, “Relaunch: 5 Keys to Getting Past Stuck and Stress at Work and Life,” was a No. 1 Amazon best-seller. She has been featured in “Focus on the Family,” “Good Morning America” and a host of syndicated radio talk shows.

The Hardys have been married and in shared ministry for more than 32 years. A portion of their marriage story has been in the Wall Street Journal and Woman’s Day magazine. Together, they use their complementary talents, gifts and skills to equip and empower audiences globally. They have four adult children and one granddaughter.

So, as you can see by their biographies, this couple has a wealth of information to share in the workshop for married couples from Oct. 26-28.

The workshop cost is $50 a couple that covers registration, pizza, chips and beverage, a continental breakfast and a boxed lunch. The first session is from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 26. The second session is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 27. On Oct. 28, after the Sunday morning worship service at Rising Star, there will be a vow-renewal ceremony.

The Rising Star marriage ministry, coordinated by David and Gloria Blackmon, has sent out save-the-date cards for the workshop. The registration deadline is Oct. 14.

Seating is limited, so I encourage you to register as soon as you finish reading this column. Checks should be made out to Rising Star Baptist Church, 2943 Wardle Ave., Youngstown OH 44505. Put “marriage workshop” in the memo line on your check. The Oct. 26 session will begin promptly at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 8 a.m. Oct. 27 for the continental breakfast that will precede the workshop.

Fliers and registration forms can be requested by email at sylkybeeh@gmail.com. You also can call the church at 330-746-5890 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for information. The Rev. Kenneth M. Donaldson is pastor of the host church.

One of the questions the Hardys ask on the registration form is, “What is the one main thing that most makes your marriage work?” Husband and wife are to answer that question together.

This workshop will be well worth your time. If you are having problems in your marriage, or the union has lost some of the steam with which it began, come out Oct. 26-28 to benefit from the Hardys’ expertise. You also get to fellowship with other area married couples. You might find out you’re not alone in seeking tips and suggestions to enhance your marriage.

Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly minority-affairs column. Contact him at ebrown@vindy.com