- Jim Townsley
- May 22, 2013
New churches attract people with problems. These people are looking for help and answers and the
church is a logical place to seek help. Dealing with family issues is a certainty for every preacher. How will you counsel people on the issues of marriage, divorce, and remarriage? These issues are often highly charged and people often respond in a very emotional manner. Although there are many different view points about remarriage almost all Christians agree marriage should be between a man and woman and should be for life. No one believes that divorce is a good thing.
The institution of marriage should always be held as sacred by the man of God. Every preacher
should make a concerted effort to build strong families in the church and uphold the institution of marriage.
Marriage retreats, teaching a series of messages on marriage, and utilizing special speakers on the topic should be a normal protocol of every new church.
However, building marriages takes time and before you can build marriages you will quickly face the
problem of broken marriages and blended families in a new church. Men and women will come to the
preacher and his wife with agonizing stories of their hopeless family situation. How will you advise these young believers? The spirit of your counsel should always be to restore and build their existing marriage.
Often you will hear only one side of the story and if you respond only to one side you can complicate the problems rather than solve them. Seek to get both parties together to determine the whole story. Begin with their testimony of salvation. If they are not saved they will not have a biblical perspective to face their issues.
If they are saved you must give them guidance from the Word of God and show them God's plan for their home. The Bible has the answers to their struggles even when people have made a complete mess of their lives. You should give them hope from the Word of God as they seek to obey it. Don't act as a referee; rather
show them the Word of God and let God direct them to resolve their problems.
Whatever your doctrinal beliefs may be concerning divorce and remarriage it is important to always
make every effort to restore and build an existing marriage. Any preacher that suggests it is fine to divorce their spouse and find another does that person an injustice. God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. When people have violated this truth they need help to pick up the pieces and determine, "What now." The preacher's role is to help them rebuild their lives on the Bible.
What do you do when someone comes to you and asks you to marry them? That time will come
sooner than you think. It is important to have a policy for whom you will perform marriages. I would
suggest if you are uncertain as to your belief concerning remarriage err on the side of caution. You don't want to become known as a church where divorce is not taken seriously. You must decide who will you marry: only members of your church, anyone whether they have been divorced or not, or only the so-calledinnocent party, or only those never before married.
Before I tell anyone my policy I ask for them set up an appointment. At that first appointment I have an opportunity to give them the gospel. I may not officiate the ceremony, but at least I have an opportunity to give them the gospel and give them counsel. I also offer to help them and perhaps counsel them if they choose to continue with the wedding.
It may require a few years of study to come to a decision as to what you believe biblically concerning divorce and remarriage, but your policy of how you counsel and who you marry must be instituted immediately. There are differing opinions concerning Bible interpretation on the topic of remarriage, but you must determine and be convinced of your own.