An athlete will train hours a day, research the latest techniques, hire personal trainers and psychologists to reach their potential. Entrepreneurs will ride the storms of costly choices, deal with uncertainty in a changing economy, and even undergo the pain of experiencing and recovering from a bankruptcy, to finally realize success. A scholar will undergo intensive research and study, pursue the highest research-oriented degree, and gain mastery in a particular discipline in order to build credibility, affect policy and wield influence. Anything worth doing is worth doing well and most pursuits are not all romance and good days. There are costs involved that will require sacrifice, persistence and discipline. A successful marriage requires no less! Goals must be set, sacrifices made, and it must be understood that there will be difficult times that will challenge the deepest of resolve. Church ministry leaders have the amazing opportunity to affect the very core of society by focusing efforts on strong marriages. I have devised a list of ten ministry ideas to empower marriages in your church:
10 Great Ideas to Help Strengthen Marriages in the Church – How to Reinforce the Core of Marriages in your Ministry
Lead by Example
As leaders you not only have the responsibility to accurately represent the word of God through teaching, but also to live out the gospel by example. There are dozens of doctrinal truths demonstrated in marriage that will have as much, if not more, effect than your words, such as: repentance, forgiveness, sanctification, holiness, sacrifice, love, single-mindedness, accountability, authority and structure. A strong marriage is the heart of family, community and society and leaders should do everything they can to ensure they have exemplary marriages.
Offer Marriage Counseling
An excellent way to help marriages grow and thrive is to make counseling available through the church. See the word of God transform lives and offer biblical solutions to the pressures of marriage. If budgetary constraints prohibit offering counsel, arrange to share counseling resources with other like-minded churches nearby. This program should include counseling singles in their pursuit of the right kind of mate (and preparing to become the right person for someone else), premarital counseling for couples pursuing marriage, and ongoing marriage and family counseling for established couples.
Hold Special Events
Celebrate marriage! Honor couples married for many years with a special dessert. Encourage friendships and fellowship with special dinners, potlucks and activities. Host a weekend marriage retreat.
Create smaller communities of married couples to establish useful connections for encouragement, accountability and fellowship. Different groups can be formed based upon couples’ —a young married’s group, couples with adult children or empty nesters can meet for a Sunday school class or a small group during the week.
Plan workshops where couples are able to learn interactively together and grow in their understanding of God and each other. Advocate a way to stimulate thought on working as a team and “marrying” their distinct gifts and abilities in order to achieve a common goal.
Line up speakers who have ministries to couples, or perhaps someone who has written books on Christian marriage. Whether with the intent of fine-tuning marriages or a desperate attempt to save what’s left in troubled relationships, conferences can offer knowledge, encouragement, biblical solutions and support.
Through discipleship, a more seasoned couple can offer to take a less experienced couple under their wing to encourage and to share experience and knowledge. This is one of the most effective ways to strengthen marriage in the church. It is based on real people with real experiences reaching out to others in a very practical way.
Help couples get off to a great start with a wedding ministry. Assist them to be able to maximize the resources available in the sanctuary, grounds and facility as well as what is available in the immediate community. This is a grand opportunity to make their wedding more meaningful in all aspects.
Divorce recovery ministry
A divorce recovery ministry can offer much needed healing for those currently going through separation or divorce, and those who have wounds from a past divorce. If you do not have the resources to set up a divorce recovery ministry on your own, there are programs available that can provide the tools to train leadership, provide study aids and visuals, and offer ongoing support. One such program is DivorceCare. This organization has carefully developed a support program based on biblical principles and has the backing of dozens of leading Christian experts.
It’s in the best interest of the church to promote healthy, biblical marriages; there’s a strong and direct correlation between the condition of marriages and the health of your church, and ultimately of society as a whole. The pursuit of a successful marriage takes determination, effort and discipline; much like the athlete, entrepreneur, and scholar, the prize does not always come easy, but it is always worth the reward.