Newsletter #1;  January 15, 2015

Introductions are in Order

I am Dave Wilder, and I help couples connect on 5 distinct levels, so that their relationships thrive and they experience marriage as God designed it to be.

My biography and the story of why I do this work is on the website, so I invite you there for that information.  My God-directed calling and passion is to build Christ-centered relationships.  This is what I was born to do and it brings me tremendous fulfillment as I witness God at work in marriages and families.

Having been a Clinical Chaplain, Pastoral Counselor, Military Chaplain, Life Skills Trainer (and several other titles over the years); I can clearly see how God has led me to this work.  God's leading has been manifested step-by-step and one transition after another ever since I surrendered to His call into full-time Christian ministry way back in 1973.  Each step of the way, God has opened the right doors, and closed the wrong doors, to bring me to this point.  It was not always easy.  There were serious struggles at times, and times when it seemed that I was stuck in one place without direction for a while.  But here I am, right where God wants to use me.  And looking back at the journey, it all makes perfect sense.

I pioneered a ministry to strengthen marriages while on active duty, serving Sailors and Marines and their families.  Part of this work was writing curriculum and training other chaplains to carry the work to military families around the globe.  The work took me into 27 countries and eventually returned me to my home state of North Carolina.  About 15 years ago God began giving me the dream of taking my work to the civilian world and supporting the ministries of local churches.  At the time it seemed impossible, and it was impossible because it was not yet God's timing to move forward with that dream.

Around Thanksgiving of 2013 I saw that the time was finally approaching and I began making preparations.  Leaving my previous work in very capable hands, I "retired" in October of 2014 to begin this new work.  This is my final career move, and I plan to pass this work along to a couple of other ministers who will be assisting me part-time some this year and will eventually join the team full-time.  The ultimate dream is to pass what I have learned along to people who will enhance marriages in countless congregations.  There can be no better calling for my life or legacy to leave behind! 

My wife is Laura Lowe Wilder, not to be confused with Laura Ingles Wilder although she has gotten some interesting questions when writing checks!  She is my greatest supporter and this could not happen without her.  Laura is from Wilmington, and we are active members of College Acres Baptist Church.  Our youngest son is still in high school.  We have another son who is single and works in Wilmington.  And our oldest is a daughter who lives in Raleigh.  She has been married 6 years, and they will have their first child at the end of March.  We are more than a little excited about our granddaughter's upcoming arrival!  

Treasured Relationships Progress, Plans, and Schedule Update


The program has begun!  Our official launch date was January 5th, and I have completed the great majority of the work required to set up this business/ministry.  We have all the legal stuff done to establish an LLC, including meeting tax code regulations, banking, and even online bill payment for coaching clients.

There will soon be a non-profit side as well as a for-profit side of the program.  The goal is to make it as inexpensive as possible so that we can help as many people as possible, and yet have enough "cash flow" to continue the work.  This will be a self-sustaining program by the end of 2015.  Right now our funding comes from Laura and I.  Since God has clearly called us to this work, we know that He will bless it so that it can continue.  By establishing the nonprofit side, it will be possible for other individuals, churches, and organizations to support the work financially.  One of the realities we face is that the people who need what we can offer the most can also afford it the least.  The more support we can get, the more families can be impacted and the quicker this ministry can expand. 

In December I finally completed all the coursework through RCI (Relationship Coaching Institute) to become a certified relationship coach.  I didn't need this when working for the military, but it is important to have in the civilian sector.  In the process I learned a lot and sharpened my coaching skills, so it was certainly worth the effort and expense.

At the end of January I will finish my training in website design, which is one of the necessary steps to keeping the cost low, as well as making it possible to reach lots of people.  The Treasured Relationships website is the result of this training.  Instead of starting from scratch, I am using "Coaches Console" templates and many of their resources.  Coaches Console is already specifically set up for life coaches, so I have started there and have written what I need to address my specific "niche" in coaching: relationship coaching for Christian couples.  I am still tweaking it some, and am pleased with the progress.


Some of our plans are covered above, but there are a few things to add here.  Leading people to make transformational changes in their relationships effectively involves two key elements.  They need to learn how to "do marriage" God's way and they need assistance as they implement new ways of relating with each other.  Therefore, Treasured Relationships focuses on the educational approach and on coaching.  There is a clear distinction between coaching and counseling, and we will not be providing counseling services at all. We will make referrals to Christian counselors as needed.

(A)   In order to address the educational aspect, I have been working on a curriculum to offer in person through local churches and virtually through an online course to be delivered on the website.  The course will cover 12 subjects in 13 one-hour segments. The subjects are:
1.    Marriage Foundation: the Biblical model for Christian Marriage
2.    Danger Signs in relationships, and how to overcome them
3.    Communication: Using the "Communication Map" and "Reflective Listening" to handle conflict well (Note: This subject will be covered in two separate sessions.)
4.    Perception is Important: Hearing each other deeply, understanding the meaning behind the words
5.    Beliefs and Expectations
6.    Events that take place and overcoming the issues they trigger
7.    Deepening marital commitment
8.    Setting and sticking to relationship priorities
9.    Forgiveness of self and others as a key to oneness
10.   The importance and role of sex in the Biblical marriage
11.   Theology of marriage
12.   Establishing your intentional marriage model

When offering live training for churches, we may not always be able to cover all of the subjects of the full course; or we may not go deeply into each subject in the allotted time.  Participants in live training events will receive access to the online course at no charge.  This way they can catch up on a missed session, review portions they need to go over again, or get the sessions not covered at their church training event.

The course will be for sale to the general public through the website at a very reasonable rate, and will eventually be packaged in such a way that lay leaders in churches can teach others.  It will have a workbook for participants and supporting video segments. 

(B)    In addition to the main course above, there are several courses that are available for pastors to choose from to help support their ministries.  These courses are all Biblically based and relationship-centered.  They are specifically designed for different groups, such as singles, engaged couples, newlyweds, divorced individuals, single parents, etc.  There is no charge to the churches for us to lead these training/ministry events, though in some cases participants may be asked to pay for their take-home materials.  By leading these courses for the local churches, we can support their ministries and multiply our effectiveness.

This is where people get help implementing the skills and strategies they learn about in the educational process, and it is highly focused on their particular challenges, needs, desires, goals, struggles, etc.

(A)    Group coaching is for small groups of 5-10 couples who meet together for 8 sessions over two months.  Groups meet in the facilities of host churches or other such locations, and will involve about an hour and a half for each session.  Participants will pay a small fee, which will include access to the online training program for 6 months.

(B)    Individual couple coaching is for one couple meeting with their coach on a weekly basis over a period of time.  For those recently having completed group coaching, this could be a 3-month coaching program.  Others will "sign on" for either a 4 or a 6 month coaching program.  These services are our highest cost offerings, and also our most effective at bringing life-changing shifts to marriages and families.  Coaching comes with a monetary cost, but it is priceless for those who receive coaching because they (a) put into practice what they learn in the educational part of the program, and (b) clarify and accomplish their dreams, goals, and visions for their marriage as they "partner up" with God and each other.

Schedule Update:

We are pleased that our home church has embraced our new ministry by being the first local church to schedule us.  There will certainly be others as they become aware of this new ministry program.  We are spreading the word and making our services available, so the calendar will fill up.

February 26 - April 8: Wednesdays at 6:30 at College Acres Baptist Church, Wilmington, NC
        Equip Class for Youth (High School): "How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (or Jerkette)"

April 15 - May 27: Wednesdays at 6:30 at College Acres Baptist Church, Wilmington, NC
        Equip Class for Adults:  7 sessions of the Treasured Relationships Training Course
        (Participants will be given online access to the entire course for 6 months.)

Date and time not yet certain: At College Acres Baptist Church, Wilmington, NC
        Students from UNCW: "How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (or Jerkette)" 

Future Articles and News

I will wrap up this first edition of the Treasured Relationships newsletter by letting you know that in the future this spot will contain articles and newsworthy information.  Because of the length of today's newsletter, I am not including an article.  We will be sending out a new newsletter twice each month.  I hope you will stick with us, but you can unsubscribe at any time and we will honor your request.  

Dave Wilder