Written by Mike Manhart. Originally published in Family Foundations in 2022.
One of the most important reasons for CCL’s 50+ years of service is our volunteers. Few organizations that depend on volunteers can match the strength and commitment of CCL volunteers. Our average length of service for Teaching Couples is 16.8 years and for Promoters is 19.8 years. When most organizations consider a volunteer staying for 3 years is a big deal, the commitment of CCL Volunteers is literally off the charts. Those who have joined CCL as volunteers since January 2000 average just over 14 years of service; almost 6 in 10 who joined CCL as volunteers since 2000 are still active in 2022!
To all of you who volunteer, either as teachers, promotors, or “off the books” volunteers, the Board of Directors thanks you and is truly humbled by your commitment to our mission.
The CCL staff recently completed a diocesan survey- personally contacting the Marriage and Family Life offices in 177 dioceses across the US. What they learned is fascinating. About half of the dioceses are characterized as well run with respect to NFP; there is an up-to date website and office staff who can be reached. Another 16% are in transition- reorganizing the NFP staff and/or updating the diocesan website. Twenty three percent had information on a website only. The remaining 8% had neither a website with NFP information nor could a person be contacted.
Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, fully 78% of the dioceses promote CCL, in 8% no NFP method was promoted, and 14% promoted a method other than CCL’s. As part of this effort, the staff created a Parish/Diocesan NFP promotional box containing all kinds of useful materials and information on how to promote NFP. Initial uptake was good with 45% of diocese requesting a kit. But that means more than half of Dioceses do not have this kit, and at the parish level distribution has not yet begun so there is much more to be done.
Our current promotors can step in and make a personal contact with their home parish and perhaps some nearby. All you need to do is get the person responsible for marriage prep in the parish (often a deacon) to go to www.myparishnpf.org and request a sample kit. Letting them know a CCL volunteer is nearby, can often help them feel empowered to do more to promote NFP.
I also want to encourage all Teaching Couples to seriously consider offering a live online class series (or two or three). The teaching platform is easy to use, and the staff has an easy to follow start up guide that works with those of us who are less than tech savvy. You will find demand for your valuable knowledge online. Karen and I have been teaching online since COVID and we’ve had all our classes fill within 24-72 hours (We limit class to 10 couples so our internet doesn’t slow).
Prior to COVID in-person classes outnumbered live-online classes 4 to 1. That all changed during the COVID shutdowns. Since re-opening however, the shift to online learning is looking permanent. In 2022, 40% more couples are learning via live-online than in-person. Todays engaged and newly married couples enjoy the intimacy of learning NFP from their homes with a live teaching couple who can help with questions and model how good NFP is for married life overall.