The Marriage Pastor

Brad says…

In my last post, “Is Marriage Important to the Church?” I talked about how many churches don’t seem to know what to do with marriage ministry. My challenge was, with your help to develop a possible job description for the role of Marriage Pastor.

Every church should have an active thriving marriage ministry. If it is possible it should be directed by a paid pastor, or even better, a pastoral couple who are leading the charge, encouraging all married couples to walk with them on the journey of a one flesh marriage!!!!

In an era of tight budgets, why should a church make the sacrifice to add a paid staff position with the focus on marriage? Marriages are a central; if the marriages in the church improve just think what will happen in all of the other ministries! They will flourish, because when the marriages are following God’s way, the men, the women, the youth will follow! All of the ministries in the church will benefit by improving marriages. (Possibly with the exception of divorce care, but that would be okay if it became unnecessary, right?)

Marriage ministry has three areas of focus: pre-marriage, troubled marriage, and enriching marriage. In my review of the Top Churches to Watch in America, of the marriage ministries I did find, many only focused on two of the three areas, premarital and troubled marriage. This is missing the mark. We need to be helping all three areas of marriage, supporting them, challenging them, encouraging them, and giving them ample opportunities to grow.

What follows is the hypothetical job description of a Marriage Pastor for a thriving successful marriage ministry, based on the three areas of focus.

The Pastor of Marriage

It is the goal of the Marriage Pastor to keep the importance of marriage at the forefront of the church’s mind. They will actively share God’s wisdom for marriage with the congregation, inspiring all congregation members to seek,support and grow strong Godly marriages that are continually journeying “to become one flesh”.

Pre-marriage:

It is essential that the Marriage Pastor shepherd couples toward a strong lifetime marriage, not just a successful wedding day. The Marriage Pastor will guide them to launching their union together in the best possible way. This can include small groups, individual counseling and premarital education.  In addition, holding events specifically geared to the engaged and dating within our congregation with the goal of bridging the gap between dating and marriage. This will require integration with the church’s singles and young adult ministries, where the Marriage Pastor’s skills will be utilized to share the vision of a one flesh marriage for the participants encouraging those who are called to marry, to desire and seek this model for their future.

Troubled marriage:

The Marriage Pastor will work to identify, build rapport with, and counsel couples within the church body who need additional support in their marriage. They should also work to guide and encourage couples to pre-approved professional Christian counselors, for longer term needs, or as an additional resource.

The Marriage Pastor will also train, equip, and supervise a team of mentor couples. These mentor couples will assist other married, or engaged couples in the congregation by modeling God’s plan for marriage, providing support, accountability and friendship when it is needed most.

In addition, the Marriage Pastor will provide educational seminars, retreats and sermons encouraging the continual need to prioritize marriage. These less threatening events can help highlight the need for help, and breakdown the barriers to help, before problems grow.

Enriching marriage:

The Marriage Pastor will actively and regularly develop opportunities to enrich marriages within the church and larger community. This can be done through a variety of methods including:

  • Coaching and supervising marriage mentor couples to act as marriage small group leaders
  • Creating material for marriage focused small groups / Sunday school programs.
  • Organizing marriage get-aways and retreats.
  • Teaching healthy marriage seminars on a variety of topics including: intimacy, communication, priorities in marriage, kids and marriage, sex, and more…
  • Hosting regular date night events integrated with the church youth and children’s programs to provide child care to help couples with limited resources.

Additional responsibilities:

Often marriage problems are created by a lack of information, outright lies or misinformation about marriage. The marriage pastor will actively combat this misinformation by preaching and teaching God’s way of doing marriage. This should include integrating an online marriage forum or blog into the church’s website, allowing couples, either together or individually, to access healthy Truth based tools and  information in the privacy of their home. This can also be developed as a discipleship tool for the local community.

What do you think?

Was there anything missed?

What would it take to launch this position in your church?

Why do you think so few Churches have this position?

What questions would you like to ask someone who is in this position?

Do you know anyone doing this type of church based work? If you know anyone in this position, or any church seeking someone have them email me, I would love to add their perspective.

4 Responses to The Marriage Pastor
  1. [...] This great question is the subject of my next post, “The Marriage Pastor“ [...]

  2. Denise Wheeler
    February 24, 2013 | 10:11 pm

    Excellent post! Never looked at it from that perspective.

  3. Cheryl
    November 11, 2013 | 1:57 pm

    I love this! We have been thinking very much the same thing. Churches need Marriage Pastor paid positions. Most Pastors are not trained much in marriage counseling or coaching and don’t have enough time to do the marriage work that needs to be done to maintain healthy marriages in the church. We have periodically looked for churches who are searching for people to fill this role, however Canada doesn’t seem to have this focus. We would love to be in a position such as what you are talking about, but this is a specialized role and most churches haven’t thought about developing it. Our own church doesn’t see the need to have this role filled in a paid capacity, yet we spend more than 20 hours a week working with couples and groups. The only reason it we don’t do more hours is that we have to earn income in other ways to pay the bills. Anyway, you are on the right track, I’d say!

    • Kevin
      January 4, 2014 | 1:56 pm

      We wholeheartedly agree with what you have written Brad and Cheryl. Here in the United Kingdom, we are in exactly the same position as you Cheryl but despite feeling discouraged at times, we know we are doing work for God’s glory and love helping and encouraging the couples that we have the privilege to meet with.

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