Married in 1986, Maggie and Warren Russell got started in marriage ministry in 1990. In the beginning it was informal because that’s all we knew. Our intention has never wavered from helping to strengthen marriages and families, but what has changed is our approach and methodology.
In 2000 we helped launch the beginning of a marriage ministry at our previous home church in Spring, TX. We trained 5 couples and that was the beginning of a vibrant marriage ministry that morphed into 20 trained mentor couples and ministry to many families! Listen to Sr. Pastor David Garison share his experience with the marriage mentoring program.
In 2005, Maggie applied for a $50,000 Capital Compassion Grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services. Beyond all obstacles, including a trip to DC to turn it in on time, the grant was awarded! We trained 25 mentor couples from 5 churches. The lessons learned proved beneficial in expanding to help other churches.
In 2007, Maggie went to Austin to influence legislation around marriage. Working with The Honorable Arlene Wolgemuth and Chairman Warren Chisum, we passed two bills in the 80th Legislature. The first bill (HB2685) doubled the marriage license fee from $30 to $60, but waived the $60 if you take an 8-hr premarital class, and the program became known as Twogether in Texas! The second bill, (HB2683) provided funding for two years. This funding was later reduced in 2009 and ended altogether in 2011. However the Twogether in Texas network continues today as a volunteer network and providers extend premarital services to approximately 10% of couples getting married in Texas!
Maggie worked in the Houston area to expand the Twogether in Texas program from 2008-2011. She was a founding member of the National Association for Relationship and Marriage Education (NARME) and served as Vice-Chair (2010-2013) and Executive Director (2013- 2014) while hosting 4 national marriage education conferences. She most recently served 3 years (2014-2017) at her local church in Conroe, TX, building a marriage mentoring ministry with 35 mentor couples. Now returning to focus at the state level, we are launching Esteem Marriage to extend the vision in 2017 to see 50% of the premarital couples in Texas receive premarital education in the next decade through the local churches.
With over a decade of active participation in equipping churches, we are excited to help you in your ministry. But the question you are probably asking is “what does my church need?” Contact us to help you answer that question!