The One Movement: 1+1=1

The One Movement1 + 1 = 1? Is that some kind of new math? No, it is actually wisdom as old as the dawn of creation. God said in the beginning, “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:24). One man + one woman = one marriage. God has a plan and a design for marriages, but modern trends are evidence that the design is under attack. Divorce, cohabitation and efforts to redefine marriage are completely transforming the attitudes of most Americans toward marriage.

A look at the numbers
Although cultural perspectives are shifting, most people do not know the numbers:
66% – the divorce rate* in Palm Beach County, one of the highest in the nation.
44% – the percentage of single men in their 20s who say they would not agree to marry a woman unless she cohabited first.
86% – the percentage of cohabiting couples that will eventually break-up.
Marriage is broken and we need to return to God’s original intent.

The One Movement
The One Movement is a group of pastors, churches and community groups uniting to declare God’s truth about marriage. The movement was birthed out of a conversation between Dr. Bob Tennies, Headmaster of Boca Raton Christian School, and Pastor Billy Thompson, Senior Pastor of Jesus People Proclaim Ministries. Tennies observed the attack on marriage and noticed the effect on students at his school. He asked Thompson what could be done.

The two enlisted the help of other local pastors and leaders to do something to stop the cultural slide and decided to do an event to celebrate marriage and family. As they planned and brainstormed, Clay Shiver, one of the organizers and a former Dallas Cowboy, asked, “We as the church are really good at planning events, but then what? What’s the point if everyone goes home and feels good, but nothing changes? What do we want people to do as a result?”

Not an event, but a movement
As the group explored these questions, they realized they wanted to do more than just have another event; they wanted to create a movement, a movement back to God’s original plan. This would require a non-denominational approach, getting churches to support the idea of making marriages a priority. It would require a grassroots effort to spread the word and build momentum culturally. It would require sharing resources and ideas of how to best help struggling marriages. This little group of people needed more than a good idea; they needed a God-idea. They believed the cultural slide would stop if the church united to clearly speak the truth on this issue and offered the hope that God intended.

Lifting up God’s original design
As stated on their website,, “The church in America has failed to effectively communicate God’s truth about relationships resulting in our current cultural confusion regarding marriage, family, and oneness. By getting back to God’s blueprint for marriage and relationships, divorce will become more rare, marriages will be healed, and families will be strengthened.” According to Thompson, “Christians tend to be known more for what they are against than what they are for. We want to do it differently. The One Movement is not about putting other viewpoints down; it is about lifting up God’s original design and sharing testimonies to the healing power of doing relationships God’s way. People are looking for hope.”

The organizers are looking for other pastors, churches and organizations to join the movement by registering on their website and committing to make marriages a priority. As a result of activity on their Facebook page,, other organizations around the country have found out about the movement and are considering similar events. Plans are already under way for an event in Atlanta.

Local event on November 9
The first event of the One Movement will be the “Celebrating Marriage and Family: Prayer Walk,” on Saturday, November 9, beginning at 10 a.m. at Boca Raton Christian School. Participants will meet at the school and publicly walk to Sanborn Square in Boca Raton. Testimonies and inspirational speakers will fill the one-hour program at Sanborn Square. Dr. Bob Barnes, noted author and president of Sheridan House, will be one of the speakers in addition to Thompson and Shiver, both of whom are pastors and former professional athletes. Although the event is free to the public, an offering will be received to support 4KIDS of South Florida, a foster care agency ministering to the broken families created by broken homes. To participate in the Prayer Walk or to support 4KIDS of South Florida, visit

*(number of divorces divided by the number of marriages annually)

Tye Riter is the Executive Pastor of REVEAL Fellowship in Lake Worth. He can be reached at [email protected].

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