Scot McKnight posted some new stats about marriage and the family. Relevant stats about the changing face of marriage and when people choose to have children. How should the church respond? Especially a church like ours that emphasizes partnership with the family?
When I received word that I was a licensed minister last fall, they told me I’m good to go to marry, bury, baptize, and give communion. I consider myself privileged to lead others in these covenants and sacraments. Privileged and under pressure.
Especially when it comes to marriages. One would think that weddings are easier than funerals because the pastor isn’t grieving with family and friends, wondering whether so-and-so was born again, etc. I would say that weddings are just as hard, with at least as many if not more issues to wade through as funerals.
Funerals are one and done things. Once the deceased is put to rest, that’s it. Yeah, I do some follow-up with the family, but that might be a phone call or 10 minutes in person. At least that’s my experience of the past 8 months.
Marriages are for a lifetime. And deciding who to marry and who not to marry is tough. What about marrying non-Christians or nominal Christians? Some say that a pastor marrying two non-Christians is an oxymoron; it doesn’t make sense. For two people to receive Christian counsel, commit to a lifelong covenant ordained by God, in the sight of God in a church building, and then shut God out of their lives and marriage afterward…is that okay?
Some pastors say it’s an opportunity to witness to the couple. I would agree with them. And with postmodernism’s emphasis on being inclusive rather than exclusive, the trend is for pastors to marry just about anyone and everyone. So it is quite easy to get married at just about any church, even if the couple disagrees with what is said during premarital counseling.
I wonder if the ease with which pastors marry couples contributes at all to the divorce rate? Could a strong stance on church attendance and premarital counseling put a dent into it? Perhaps, but only if every pastor in a community stands together on the subject.
So I’m torn. I guess I would lean toward being more strict about who I marry. I’d rather not look the other way at a marriage I feel will fail (whether Christians or not).
Have an opinion? Shoot me a reply.