CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University Discipleship Ministries initiated a new ministry this year for married student couples called Tied and True. This ministry is an outgrowth of Fit to Be Tied, a program that prepares dating or engaged student couples for marriage.
Last year, Brianna Ackerman, Cedarville’s administrative assistant for the department of history and government and the Center for Political Studies, formed a small group, under Discipleship Council, for married female students. The group, by meeting each week, built a community as they discussed the joys and challenges of married life. Under the leadership of Aaron Cook, director of discipleship ministries, the program has expanded to include married couples.
Tied and True is founded on 2 Timothy 2:2: “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” “We want to be building into people who are then building into people,” Cook said.
The men and women form small groups, led by current Cedarville students Daniel and Brianna Ackerman, Taylor Robinette, and Ashlynn Robinette, a 2014 graduate. Taylor and Daniel lead the men’s groups, while Ashlynn and Brianna lead the women, with assistance from several faculty mentor couples. The small groups meet every week and study topics from Timothy Keller’s book “The Meaning of Marriage.” These include hospitality, forgiveness, intimacy, expectations and gender roles.
Once a month, the couples meet for a panel discussion with faculty couples to ask questions related to the topics they address in their small groups. Rick Melson, vice president of advancement, and his wife, Tammy, participate as a mentor couple.
“This provides a place for them to talk with other people who are in the same stage of life,” said Tammy Melson. “It’s peer-led with wisdom breathed into it.”
The Melsons have helped shape the vision for Tied and True. They open their home as a meeting place for the panel discussions, and they open their hearts to engage in conversation with the young married students.
“We are able to share out of our own challenges and difficulties and sharing things that God has been so gracious in allowing us to have some success in,” said Rick Melson. “We have really enjoyed it.”
“Oftentimes we can view marriage as a lot of things, but to see the biblical perspective of marriage is a great place for every marriage to start,” said Tammy Melson.
The mentor and peer couples hope to form a tight community between the married students as they develop accountability with one another and study God’s view of marriage.