Get ready, friend. Wedding season is upon us.
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? They come with heartfelt vows, a beautiful bride, joyful moments, and the celebration of love between a bride and groom.
Within this picturesque earthly union we see a glimpse into something more divine. We see a beautiful reflection of Christ’s love for the church (Eph. 5:22-33). This is why we truly love weddings!
And God loves marriage. He chooses to use earthly marriage as a picture of His covenantal love for His people.
But after all the wedding photos have been edited, the dress has been safely tucked away, and the years go by, it gets real—a healthy marriage requires hard work.
Where do you go for help with the hard work? What do you do?
In 2015, LifeWay Research asked pastors, pastors’ wives, and church members about their views on these things. The answers they received uncovered several sobering facts about divorce and marriage in the church and how to provide help for couples. We learned five facts:
- 78% of pastors have had at least one couple come to them with serious marriage difficulties in the past year.
- On average, one couple for every 41 people in average attendance approaches pastors with serious marriage difficulties each year.
- 69% of churches do not have an ongoing marriage ministry.
- 4 in 10 churches have had at least one couple divorce or separate in the last year.
- 20% of churchgoers no longer attend church after a divorce.
In our research, we also learned about many struggles facing church leaders and those in marriage ministry. It’s no secret that pastors have one of the toughest jobs on the planet. Not only do they serve in a public role, one very open to criticism, but they also help shepherd marriages in the church. Three common struggles emerged from the research:
- Lack of Time: 40% of pastors said they (and their staff) lacked the required time for marriage ministry.
- Not Feeling Qualified: 34% of pastors said they didn’t feel qualified as marriage experts. Based on conversations with pastors we’ve had at LifeWay, the qualitative data sounds like this:
- How am I supposed to help this couple when my own marriage is struggling?
- This couple is twice my age. I can’t tell them anything they don’t know.
- I only took one counseling course in seminary. I’m not prepared for this.
- Lack of Finances: 33% of pastors said they didn’t have the finances to pay for marriage ministry resources.
“What Can We Do?”
We asked this question after the research came in. We realized we had to do something, and the solution was two-fold: help our pastors and help the couples in our churches.
This is why we created Woo Marriage—an online tool that provides Christ-centered marriage coaching for churches.
We designed this tool with couples in mind and for all seasons of marriage. The tool features video courses on foundational topics like communication, conflict resolution, and forgiveness, as well as curated pathways for all seasons of marriage. We even have courses for pastors and pastors’ wives!
We have over 100 videos arranged in courses taught by leading practitioners, social researchers, and seasoned ministry leaders. Some of the coaches include:
- Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn
- Clayton & Sharie King
- Jackie & Stephana Bledsoe
- Ben & Donna Stuart
- D.A. & Elicia Horton
And this resource has been approved by pastors:
“As a marriage and family pastor, I am always looking for new tools to help couples in my church and in my community. Woo Marriage is the go-to tool for all couples in every stage of life. It is easy for couples to use and I am really excited to see how God uses it.”
—Keith H., Beta User, Marriage & Family Pastor
“Woo Marriage contributed to a catalytic conversation with my wife in addressing a long-term issue of tension in our relationship. The result has been transformational!”
—Tom C., Beta User, Director of Equipping
Please share this resource with your pastor, and be on the lookout for free courses in the next few weeks!
Want to learn more about this new resource? Watch the short video below or head to WooMarriage.com.
And here are some fun downloads to celebrate! Click the images or links below to download!