Besides Counseling, What Are Some Other Ways That Churches Can Encourage Strong Marriages?
Clint & Penny Bragg
There are several ways that churches can foster strong marriages. Undergirding each of the following suggestions is a premise that marriage must be maintained as a high priority from the pulpit and among the entire pastoral staff (and their spouses). Instead of using a “programmatic” structure to cast and sustain a vision for the church, healthy marriages should be the skeletal backbone of everything the church says and does, cradle to grave.
Date nights, marriage retreats, small groups, and marriage seminars are all excellent ways of strengthening marriages, but they do not constitute a marriage ministry in and of themselves. What follows are some tangible tools that should be a part of every vibrant church. Healthy marriages mean healthy families. Healthy families mean a healthy church. And a healthy church can change the world.
• Pastors and their wives must be willing to be authentic and vulnerable about their own marriages as they preach, teach, and lead. In addition, highlighting testimonies from members who have overcome marital difficulty is a powerful way to profile and encourage strong marriages from the pulpit.
• Cultivating and empowering a lay-led marriage ministry team helps place marriage at the forefront of church culture. This team should consist of married couples who reflect the general diversity of the church in age, race, and need. This team should be given proper training and the green light to set up and implement a comprehensive marriage ministry that includes support for marriages in need of intervention as well as support for blended families, empty nesters, and other demographics reflected within the church body.
• Every church should contain a ministry of reconciliation that helps to intervene when a marriage is in crisis, when separation occurs, and when other issues that divide marriages surface. This ministry is most effective when it includes a first response team that is trained to recommend appropriate support and materials. The most effective churches we’ve seen are those that have crisis materials ready to be distributed and reviewed at the first sign of trouble. An ongoing reconciliation ministry such as Marriage 911 Online is an excellent way of training a first response team and cultivating reconciliation in the church through classes offered regularly using the Marriage 911 materials (effective even with an unwilling spouse; offering Biblical support to those who feel as though they are trying to save their marriage alone.)
The above article, “Besides Counseling, What Are Some Other Ways That Churches Can Encourage Strong Marriages?” is written by Clint & Penny Bragg. The article was retrieved from www.buildingchurchleaders.com web site, where it was published in September of 2012.
This material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”