From the moment Mission Year began, married couples expressed their desire to impact poor, urban neighborhoods through meaningful relationships, church involvement, and community service as well. Mission Year Married has become an important part of our ministry as young couples choose to serve God and the poor each year. While the program shares the same basic model as the single program, Mission Year Married definitely has a few key differences. Therefore, we’ve tried to outline some of the basics, so that the details are clear.
How Mission Year Married Works
As with our general program, we have formed several partnerships where our married couples can serve. These sites offer a higher level of responsibility and are with organizations that we feel are great places to work.
In order to provide a sense of community, while also maintaining a relative amount of privacy, Mission Year will place two to three couples in a house or apartment together. Each couple will have their own bedroom, but will share common living space, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and general household responsibilities.
Each household of two to three couples will attend the same neighborhood church and become involved as active members.
Weekends are some of the best times to connect with neighbors. Whether this is playing with kids or working alongside a friend in the community garden, it’s important to be present during this time. Therefore, weekends are reserved for community outreach, but another day during the week will be free for your Sabbath.
Couples arrive in their city at the same time as other team members and attend orientation with them as well. Occasionally, one couple is asked to serve as team leaders. This couple would arrive a week earlier. In addition, the Married City Director leads an orientation experience specifically for the couples. Throughout the year, couples will participate in the Trainings and City Wide gatherings.
Couples will meet with Mission Year Married City Director, and couples are also given marriage-focused curriculum to read and discuss. In addition, Mission Year hosts a marriage retreat during their year of service to promote support and growth.
Each couple also has the option to meet with an urban ministry couple outside of Mission Year. Such connections will be provided on an “as needed” basis and should not be seen as a requirement.
Couples can expect the same type of discipleship resources and support offered to our single team members. MY Married team members will follow the regular Mission Year curriculum and meet weekly as a household for curriculum discussions. Each Individual will also meet monthly with their city director to check-in. There will be opportunity to discuss their community service, neighborhood outreach, church involvement, personal issues, and ministry issues.
How much does Mission Year cost?
Mission Year truly has no price tag, because how much someone can or can’t raise has absolutely no bearing on our selection of Team Members. Still, if you must know it costs us approximately $24,000 a year to recruit, train, house, feed, manage and insure a Married Couple.
What if I can’t raise that much?
While we expect you to raise as much of that amount as possible and we expect your newsletters to friends and family to go out each month, we recognize that how much you can raise largely depends on the resources of your church, family, and friends. Because we want anyone willing and able to serve, we are always fundraising to subsidize Team Members with limited resources. We turn no one away because of money. We trust God to meet our needs. Our only requirement is that you put forth your best effort to help sustain the program. Let us make one thing perfectly clear. You absolutely should not let worries about raising financial support keep you from applying to Mission Year.
The reasons may seem obvious to you, but we want to emphasize that birth control is extremely important during your Mission Year. Our insurance would only cover about 80% of prenatal and hospital costs which would make for a deductible that neither you nor we can afford. (However, oral contraceptives are now fully covered under the new Federal Healthcare Law.) Also, there is the possibility that some couples may find pregnancy and childbirth distracting. Go figure.
What about when Mission Year ends?
MY Married will have their closing retreat at the end of July.
We understand the challenges that face our married couples when they are leaving Mission Year. Therefore, we are very open to creative ways of helping our couples transition out of the program. At times, this has meant someone has started a job before Mission Year is over to help with transition costs (anytime after July 1st is generally acceptable, but we would prefer for you to wait until your year is over if feasible). Your city director will work with you to figure out the best plan for you, your service site, team, and city.
Please note that if you and your City Director determined it is okay for you to work before your year is over, and you have not raised all of your support, you may be asked to help offset some of your living costs while you work.
Can we stay on after Mission Year?
Some couples enter Mission Year with the intention of staying in their communities longer than a year. We love to see this kind of commitment to our neighborhoods and a lifestyle of service. While we cannot provide programmatic support beyond the period of a year, we will be as helpful as possible in assisting couples with this transition.