Churches often neglect marriage ministry and instead focus on family ministry or other important ministries, but scripture clearly shows the importance God puts on marriages and the relationship between a husband and wife.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” Malachi 2:14-15
“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” Ephesians 5:25
God even shows us that the reason marriage is such an important topic is because it is a mirror between the church’s relationship with God himself.
“For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” Isaiah 54:5
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.” Song of Solomon 8:6-7
However, when it comes to Christian marriages, we, unfortunately, don’t look any different from secular marriages. According to a study by the Barna group, “born again Christians who are not evangelical were indistinguishable from the national average on the matter of divorce: 33% have been married and divorced.”
With so many Christian marriages are struggling, it’s critical that churches put effort into fostering healthy marriages. How you do it, however, varies. Here, our experts offer four ways your church can invest in Christian marriages that make a lasting difference.
Hold a Conference
Inviting people to come to your church for a Christian marriage conference is a great way to target marriages in your church and marriages outside of your church.
Thornapple Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan recruited two mental health professionals who facilitate marriage intensives for couples in the West Michigan area. By having two mental health professionals lead this conference, they were able to delve deeper into the marriage topic because they the psychology involved when two different personality types join forces in a Christian marriage.
Host a Retreat
Another great opportunity you can seize as a church is hosting a retreat for married couples. Whether this retreat occurs at your church building or offsite, bringing people together for an intentional weekend filled with purposeful study over Christian marriage will attract people who truly want to go deeper in their relationship with their spouse.
Park Community Church’s marriage ministry in Chicago, Illinois not only offers a deliberate marriage retreat for couples in their congregation, but they also offer scholarships to help people attend. Their goal is to encourage couples to come no matter the cost. They want people to feel empowered in their relationship with their spouse, and this conference centers on building that relationship so each couple can make an impact for the Kingdom.
Conduct a Bible Study
Choosing a strategic Bible study for your church small groups to walk through is also a great way to build strong Christian marriages in your church. We’ve seen countless churches use Tim and Kathy Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage, in their couples ministry, and the impact it has made in marriages is long-lasting. Pastors have also used this curriculum for couple’s counseling both before and during marriage.
Preach a Sermon Series on Marriage
Another way to support Christian marriage is by forming an entire sermon series with marriage at its core. Life.Church has done many sermon series over marriage, and each time they teach their congregation about the importance of a committed relationship and forgiveness, they see marriages strengthened across their campuses. They even write curriculum for their small groups to use following the sermon so couples are able to discuss and think through the topic beyond the sermon.
If you want to be more intentional with the focused ministries in your congregation, check out Preaching Rocket, which includes a guide to preparing a preaching calendar and will help you plan for special sermon series for ministries such as marriage, family, youth, and more.
After living overseas, Ashley DeKock developed a passion for ministry and writing, which she loves to incorporate into each of her projects. She holds a bachelors and masters degree in communications and finds great joy in learning people’s life stories. Currently residing in Oklahoma, she and her husband have one daughter and are continuing to grow their family through adoption.