Roy Wooten is the executive director of Shield-Bearer, a Cy-Fair area nonprofit created to improve the health of relationships within families, organizations and communities. Shield-Bearer’s community and church based programs and services have also reached into thirteen Texas counties. Roy brings over twenty years of social services experience to Shield-Bearer.
Besides his role with Shield-Bearer, Roy is also one of the driving catalytic leaders behind Marriage Cy-Fair, a marriage-centered conversation that takes place regularly among various professionals and leaders in the Cy-Fair area. Brett Hurst of Marriage Houston recently interviewed Roy for this blog.
Marriage Houston: Roy, why do you personally invest so much time into the efforts of improving healthier marriages in the Houston area?
Roy: My wife Devra and I believe God called us to help couples. After serving for 16 years raising other people’s children, we believe that the most important link in the family, the bedrock of our churches and society, is the marriage relationship. We’ve witnessed for years the pain of broken relationships and families. God called us into the ministry of reconciliation.
MH: In what ways does Shield-Bearer give more opportunities for marriage enrichment?
Roy: Besides marriage counseling and marriage intensives, we have provided over one hundred couple weekends and full day workshops to the communities. We have also offered over a dozen different guided “date night” experiences for married couples.
MH: Why were you willing to help organize an ongoing conversation with other organizations, professionals and church leaders in the Cy-Fair area?
Roy: We need as many marriage champions as possible working to save and strengthen healthy relationships. Having a venue to gather all the various area marriage leaders to discuss what is going on in Cy-Fair is critical. We build relationships together as well as begin to think strategically about how we might be able to work together in ways that makes sense. All of this sounds to me like the Body of Christ working within our strengths to do relationships more effectively under God’s leadership.
MH: What things do you think are truly unique in the Cy-Fair community as far as Houston marriages might be concerned?
Roy: Cy-Fair is economically and culturally diverse. Within the area, we have people that are in suffering communities as well as some of the most affluent subdivisions in the county. Very little of Cy-Fair is within the bounds of a city, so we seem to attract a very high share of sex trafficking stops and other businesses of an ill-defined nature. Our middle and upper class folks also seem to be relationship poor. School activities, work activities, and long commutes take up the majority of our lifetime. All of this has the potential to compromise healthy marriage relationships. Cy-Fair is also one of the fastest growing school districts nationally and the third largest school district in Texas.
MH: Being in a conversation like this with others, obviously promotes more collaboration. What is your favorite aspect of collaborative ministry?
Roy: I love people, so collaborative ministry allows me to connect with a lot of other folks. I enjoy when one church is in need and another is getting rid of something that is the very thing the other church needs! I love that when churches work together to do missions or ministry, God gets all the glory. I love the learning that happens as churches from different cultures work together to achieve His goals. I think this is where the church is truly the church….where we are all functioning as one.
MH: What is your big dream, Roy, for Houston and healthy marriages?
Roy: I dream of a day when the message of healthy relationships and marriages is plastered all over the billboards, throughout the major freeways, and in every major venue (Toyota Center, Minute Maid, Reliant, etc) of Houston. When the message is regularly heard and seen on radio and television. I think there are currently so many messages being pushed through advertising that move couples away from each other instead of toward each other. My hope is that we can counter those messages at some ratio that provides hope for couples that are struggling with decisions that will break trust and destroy relationships.
For more about Shield-Bearer: www.fightingforhearts.org