Kamis, 09 Juni 2016
The Best Thing You Can Do For the Marriages In Your Church
by John McGee
Over the last several years I’ve helped many churches start or improve their marriage ministry. Over this time I’ve seen many marriage ministries take off while others struggle to get off the ground. I’ve come to see that the key to great marriages in most churches is not strategy or programs – it’s the marriage of the pastor. Very simply, pastors who have great marriages have churches with great marriages, and often ministries to support them.
A pastor who has a great marriage helps the marriages in his congregation because he:
Shares positive examples. A pastor who prioritizes his marriage has stories to share. He talks about the friendship, partnership, and romance in his marriage. Many people have never seen a good marriage up close. When a pastor shares his positive examples it helps his congregation understand what it looks like to put Biblical principals into action in a marriage.
Shares failures. Pastors are human and humans make mistakes in their marriage. However, a pastor who is passionate about marriage makes sure to repent and put the relationship back on track. When a pastor shares his mistakes and the way he handles those mistakes, it helps people understand how to do so in their own marriages. It also makes the church a safe place for people to come forward and admit that their marriage isn’t perfect.
Has energy to do ministry. To do ministry you need energy. Countless articles have been written about how pastors need to tend to their spiritual, emotional, and physical health in order to have the strength to carry on their work. Pastors who tend to these areas always handle stress better and can be more focused and present. However there is something about having a great marriage that puts an even bigger bounce in his step and makes him a more effective and energetic minister. An energized pastor is one of the best gifts to give a congregation. A great marriage is one of the best ways to create one.
Gives resources and supports marriage ministry. Pastors who have been on the mission field tend to support missions. They talk about it, they steward their own resources and those of the church to missions, and they call others to do the same. The same generally happens when a pastor has a great marriage. He wants his congregation to experience the same gift he has, so he champions and resources efforts to strengthen the marriages in his church. When someone is passionate about a topic or something has been a blessing to them – they share it, champion it, and resource it. If a pastor has a great marriage people don’t generally need to beg for resources for their marriage ministry – they tend to get what they need to do the work of strengthening marriages in the church.
I’m very passionate about marriage programs. I think the right strategy executed by the right leaders can have a profound impact in the church. However, if made to choose between great programs or a pastor with a great marriage, I would take the pastor every time. Programs can’t make up for pastors who don’t have good marriages or the moral authority to call others to sacrificially love their spouse. Pastors can do what programs can’t. Programs are great at accelerating values – pastors are good at creating and modeling them.
Marriage Ministry is going to be a great opportunity for the church in the future. Make sure you create a great strategy, and dream big, but don’t forget to tend to your own marriage.
I’ll leave you with a question. “If everyone in your congregation loved their spouse the way you love yours, would you be encouraged or discouraged as a pastor?”