Children’s and youth ministries are part of virtually every church of any size. Marriage ministries are as sparse as recent UK NCAA basketball tournament wins.
In fact, a Communio study showed that 72% of churches have absolutely no marriage ministry, and 80% of churches spend zero dollars on marriage ministry.
Now, as we see the catastrophic impacts of various cultural family experiments, it is time for the Church to step forward and support Biblical marriage and the family.
With your church in mind, ask yourself these questions:
- How important is the family to our church? How important is family ministry?
- How important is a healthy marriage to the family?
- Does the health of a marriage or weekly church programming have a larger impact on our children and youth?
- How much money is in our church budget for children and youth ministry?
- How much money is in our church budget for marriage ministry?
- How many events do we have for children? For youth?
- How many events do we have to enrich marriage?
“Houston, we have a problem!” The problem is we are trying to fix a hole in the dam by buying new shop vacs. We can’t win the war by trying harder and harder to fix downstream problems. We must go upstream, fix the hole in the dam, and stabilize the family. The multi-million-dollar experiment of changing the next generation by focusing on children and youth without addressing marriage has failed.
Children and youth ministries are great, but they can’t be effective unless strong Christian homes are the foundation of development. There is nothing better you could do for the effectiveness of your other ministries than to launch a marriage ministry. A pastor friend of mine said it well, “If our marriages don’t work, nothing we do works.”
A family ministry consisting of children and youth, without marriage, is like a two-legged stool. It will not stand. For family ministry to function, the third leg of the stool (marriage ministry) must be added.
A friend of mine once said, “Couples will be no more intentional with their own marriages than churches are with their marriage ministries.” If it is not important enough for the church to focus on it, couples will not focus on it in the home.
It doesn’t change anything to just complain about decline and dysfunction. It is time for us to prioritize marriage in our homes and in our churches. It is time for couples to put significant time and resources into one another and their marriages. It is time for churches to be strategic and proactive to help couples succeed.