Over the years, the Toronto Church of Christ in Canada has hosted numerous Marriage Conferences. Each time, the Pastoral Leadership Team has put much thought and prayer into creating a program that would provide new and relevant information, godly counsel and practical wisdom to help couples improve different aspects of their marriages. This year was no different, but our continued commitment to meeting people at the point of their need resulted in what may well have been one of the best
marriage conferences we’ve held so far.
Disciples, family and friends came in from cities as far away as Detroit, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Florida! We met in familiar territory — in Niagara Falls, Ontario — which is on the Canada-U.S. border, and from February 1st to 3rd, we contemplated “FOREVER”, the chosen theme. What we experienced and heard was so impacting! For reasons too many to mention here, it was apparent that God was working powerfully to make this a weekend that would truly meet needs and help us have marriages that glorify Him.
Everything got off to an amazing start on Friday evening with a class on “The Laws of Forever Attraction” taught by Kevin Robbins, an evangelist and newly appointed elder in Toronto, and his wife, Lisa. Their delivery was engaging and the session itself, enlightening and informative. They talked about the interesting dynamics between adventure and security that we all experience at some point in our lives. They taught on the Psychology of Seduction before we explored the interconnectedness of sexual intimacy, touch, recreation and confidence against the backdrop of Song of Songs and Genesis. Their lesson was rich with foundational principles which, when applied, can enhance and help maintain attraction for your spouse for the long haul — for ever! And, as a bonus, Kevin and Lisa gave everyone in attendance access to a 14-day guide which they designed to help couples to take their relational intimacy to the next level. Find out more at their newly launched website, www.robbinsmotivation.com.
That was all just in the first two hours!
The next day, our keynote was delivered by John and Arlene Markowski, a dynamic young couple who lead the Big Apple Church in New York. They held the room’s attention as they delivered a lesson titled, “Forever Starts Today”. The manner in which they used pop culture to highlight their points which were anchored in scripture was creative and masterful. John and Arlene shared vulnerably from their experiences, and with deep convictions about being urgent and earnest in making intentional steps toward lasting change.
After that inspiring morning session, everyone was invited to attend one of the five Breakout Classes / Q&A sessions being offered for the afternoon portion. Various couples in senior leadership in the church spoke about issues that spanned the problems and the unknown that can challenge a marriage, how to deal with common issues in a new marriage, how to keep your marriage thriving past the first few years, and the beautiful possibilities for rediscovery in marriage.
Of course, no marriage conference would be an actual retreat if we didn’t have a few hours of free time. Following a full day of inspired teaching, guests went off to enjoy breath-taking views of one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, connect with friends old and new, do some shopping, or simply retire to their hotel rooms — their tastefully decorated, clean and spacious rooms, and most with a view of the Falls!
The evening was tops with delicious dinner options, lively conversations, prize giveaways, and a dance floor that stayed full until the very end of the night.
We closed out the conference with a Sunday message that brought all things back to our God by asking, “What’s Forever For”? To the Markowskis’ point, we all have different goals in life – within and beyond our marriages. But, to what end? Just for the personal benefits of fun, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment? No! We should strive to improve, learn and grow — to be our best — so that God will be glorified, and especially in marriage, one of our principal human relationships! Life is too short for us to make it about anything other than God! He is over all and in all and through all. We need only to have faith and wait for Him to work – powerfully. The Markowskis delivered a message that only God could have put on their hearts, and we are very grateful to them for being so real and gut-level honest in their sharing.
To all those whose contributions also helped to make our 2019 Marriage Conference such a memorable one, we say a huge thank you!
See you at the next one in 2021!!