Some big updates on Beyond the Pew!

The first big update: we rebranded! Beyond the Pew is now the online community under the larger umbrella of Ablaze Families. With Ablaze Families, we are able to expand our vision beyond social media to impact real families in real homes. 

In December, we launched our first ever small group series, and we have been running small groups for moms and dads every month since. Dozens of men and women have been through our small groups, and we are even starting to see our participants turn into leaders of these groups. As life begins to feel a little bit more normal, we are planning on launching widespread small groups in person. We have already launched one in-person small group in Bryan, TX!

In April, we released our much-awaited digital marriage retreat called, “Marriage on Mission”. Marriage on Mission is a marriage retreat designed for the couple to go at their own pace, from the comfort of their own home. No babysitter required. And because of your support and partnership with us, we were able to offer it for free. We were totally blown away by the response to this retreat! We had almost 350 couples participate from all over the world, including Australia, India, Brazil, Ireland, Kenya, Cuba, and all over the United States, Canada and Europe. Marriage on Mission reached every continent in the world, with the exception of Antarctica! There’s got to be some Catholics in Antarctica, right? We’ll get ‘em next time. Strong marriages make strong families, and strong families are better equipped to form their kids in the faith and prepare them to be saints. 

Currently, we are in the process of finding ways to better minister to dads. Research shows that when fathers are the driving force behind the faith of the family, the children are 80% more likely to stay in the Church! That is huge! We are currently on the lookout to hire a dude to help us reach dads, so pray that we find the right person.

There are so many other things in the works, such as a family fun day in partnership with local Catholic radio, development of discipleship groups, the creation of a parent membership site, and we can’t wait to see where God takes it all. None of this would be possible without your support. Pray for us as we continue to grow this ministry!

Testimonies from Small Group participants

I definitely saw what we talked about in small group and what my prayer was about in it manifest in my every day life. God definitely used it to speak to me and change me this Advent!

 I felt a sense of community and acceptance from other moms in a way that I sadly haven’t really before. They didn’t compare themselves to me or vice versa and it was so refreshing! Thank you so much for including me! I wasn’t sure I would be able to manage it; even 1 hour with a new baby feels like an overwhelming commitment, but I’m glad I took the plunge! 

If you’re wondering if you have the time for this, our small group was all over the place; some were in the midst of moving, of work trips, of adjusting to life with a new first baby… but for at least that one hour out of our crazy weeks, we allowed ourselves permission to have some “spiritual self care” and be open to community… and I know these group leaders would love to invite you into that as well!