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Together with Family

Flourishing in a Level Five Marriage

Deb Walkemeyer and Larry Walkemeyer

What level of “oneness” are you working toward in your marriage?

This is the critical question for all couples, especially if you’re in ministry together, say Larry and Deb Walkemeyer, co-pastors of Light & Life Fellowship in Long Beach, California.

In their new book, the Walkemeyers springboard from Exponential’s framework of five levels of church multiplication and reflect on their 40 years of marriage—as well as their experience counseling and working with couples—to identify five levels of marriages and their distinct characteristics. They believe (and have seen firsthand) that any marriage can travel from its current level to a Level 5 “Communion” marriage.

“We're the first to say the journey isn’t easy—far from it,” they write. “A Level 5 marriage requires each of you to learn, grow, and rely on the Holy Spirit.”

This is not a traditional “how-to” marriage book. The Walkemeyers move beyond marriage skills and principles to get to the root of marriage problems and potential—examining what they call five vital “heart habits.” Over the years, they have learned that if the Holy Spirit does not transform the hearts of a husband and wife, skills produce little lasting effect. Throughout Together with Family, Larry and Deb offer practical examples and real-life stories of what it looks like to venture beyond theory and actually practice these habits in your life and marriage.

A Level 5 marriage lays the foundation for Level 5 hero-making leaders who plant and multiply Level 5 churches. Larry and Deb have discovered that the health of a pastor’s/leader’s marriage nearly always reveals the health of their soul, which in turn, impacts the health of their church or ministry.

“A healthy Level 5 marriage multiplies into other healthy marriages that learn from it,” they write, “positioning you for what God longs to do in and through you and your church.”

Key takeaways

  • Specific counsel and practical handles for ministry marriages from a seasoned couple in both marriage and ministry
  • Profiles of five marriage levels and their distinct characteristics
  • Assessment to determine your current marriage level and where you want to be
  • Five vital heart habits and how they practically play out at each of the five levels
  • Helpful end-of-chapter assessments you can take together or individually to determine your current level of commitment in each heart habit
  • Fresh insights on biblical examples of marriages/unions
  • Real-life examples of marriages at every level

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Deb Walkemeyer

Deb Walkemeyer serves as Co-Pastor of Light & Life Christian Fellowship in Long Beach, CA – a large multi-ethnic urban church that has focused on planting churches locally and globally. She also leads the Light & Life Community Center that is assisting in transforming the neighborhood through various initiatives. As a Master Gardener she pioneered the first Community Garden in Compton, CA where she grows vegetables alongside gang members and prostitutes.

As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Deb has helped many individuals and couples in ministry. She also serves as a regional leader within her denomination. Deb holds a Doctorate in Church Leadership from Fuller Seminary and was recently recognized as one of their outstanding graduates for her years of leadership work in diverse arenas.

Larry Walkemeyer
Author, Speaker

Larry Walkemeyer serves as the Lead Pastor of Light and Life Christian Fellowship in Long Beach, CA. Starting with a handful of committed “white folks”, the church has grown into a large multi-ethnic church transforming its tough urban neighborhood. A priority on local and global church planting has led to the start of 22 churches nationally and dozens in Ethiopia, Philippines and Indonesia.

As Director of Equipping and Spiritual Engagement for Exponential, Larry seeks to influence the church of Jesus toward multiplication. Holding a doctorate in church leadership and as the author of eight books (five for Exponential), Larry speaks and consults frequently. Azusa Pacific University has recognized Larry with the Centennial Award, naming him one of the most influential graduates in its history. Larry serves on the Board of Trustees for Azusa Pacific University.

Larry and Dr. Deb Walkemeyer have been married since 1978 and they write and speak frequently on marriage. They have two adult daughters. Larry enjoys snow skiing, waterskiing, biking, mission trips and long walks on the beach.


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