As we speak to people about marriage, we find it ironic how quickly they all agree that marriage is under attack in our country. They agree that marriage is the foundation of family, church, community and our nation. They agree the church should be addressing marriage needs. But when we ask what their church is doing for marriage, most shake their heads and say, “Nothing.”
We believe it is time for every church to begin an intentional, viable and ongoing marriage ministry. Ongoing marriage ministry impacts three critical arenas.
The Home. In a recent survey conducted by the Associated Press and MTV, nearly 1,300 young people between the ages of 13-24 were asked, “What makes you happy?” Did they answer iPhones, TV or money? No. The overwhelming number one answer – spending time with Mom and Dad. This survey points to the fact that kids are looking for a home that is a place of joy, peace and contentment. When a church intentionally invests in marriages, we build homes where children and teens thrive.
A survey conducted by the Barna Institute on men in the church found that four out of 10 marriages in the church will end in divorce, which affects 1 million children each year. Divorce is wreaking havoc on our homes. It is time for the church to act.
The Church. Two out of three teens are leaving the church when they leave the home. We are losing our young people in droves. The primary reason they are leaving is that they feel no connection to the larger body of Christ. Parents are a key in making that connection to the larger body. Most parents are struggling with their own walk with Christ, their own lifestyle and their own marriage. They feel ill equipped to model for their kids the basic tenets of the faith. As a result, too many parents abdicate their responsibility to the youth minister.
By investing in an intentional marriage ministry, churches will strengthen and develop youth and children’s ministries by equipping parents to be the primary faith builder in the lives of their kids. This will not only grow the church in your community but also the church at large. Well-equipped kids will impact college campuses, military establishments and workplaces as these teens leave the home. It is time for the church to act.
The Community. Productivity lost from marriage and relationship stress can cost employers some $6 billion annually, according to an estimate cited in a new report, “Marriage and Family Wellness: Corporate America’s Business?” sponsored by the Marriage Co-Mission, a marriage strengthening advocacy group in Atlanta. Another study cited in the report found that in the year following divorce, employees lost an average of four weeks of work.
Talk about being salt and light to our world! When a church implements an intentional ongoing marriage ministry, it helps produce healthier, wealthier, emotionally stable employees who will in turn impact their work place for Christ. It is time for the church to act.
İnvesting in an ongoing marriage ministry impacts all of life for the Kingdom of Christ. It is time for the church to act.
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