The more I talk to people, read and engage with the mission of HomeWord… the more desperate I feel for the condition of marriages.
Many churches are great at focusing on children, youth (for which I’m grateful), preaching, teaching, Bible studies and mission/service. But what about marriage?
I’d love to see/hear about a church that has an intentional marriage ministry that is staffed and resourced as much as a children/youth ministry. Is there such a church? Honestly, I don’t know.
Divorce rates continue to skyrocket! The chance of a first marriage ending in divorce over a forty-year period is 67%. The number increases by 10% if it’s a second marriage. Half of all divorces occur in the first seven years of marriage.**
Unfortunately, the divorce rates are not that different for those inside the church.
As a life-long youth worker, I’ve seem firsthand the devastation that divorce has on children. And, even when divorce isn’t the final outcome, it’s clearly harmful to raise kids in a home where hostility between parents is the norm. Children of divorce suffer far more from truancy, depression, peer rejection, behavioral problems (especially aggression), and low achievement at school.**
Personally, I dislike books, radio programs, TV shows, and blogs that simply present the problem. It doesn’t take much intelligence to identify the problem. But, that’s what this post is doing. I don’t pretend to know what the answer is to this growing issue, so I’m just as bad as those mediums I dislike. I don’t know the answer.
I know the church needs to respond! I think youth ministry needs to consider the marriages of the kids they minister to and engage toward a different outcome. We’ve got to do something! I just don’t know what it is…
Here’s my questions:
(1) What’s your church doing to help marriages?
(2) Who is the church that is leading the way to help marriages (that others need to be learning from)?
(3) What are your suggestions?
**(Research from Dr. John Gottman, University of Washington)