How Newly-Married Couples Choose a Church Home
By Elsie Hu, April 22, 2017 04:04 AM
Marriage is important to many people in life, and Christians are not different from others. Aside from spiritual growth, young Christians care most about marriage after conversion.
There are hundreds, even thousands of churches in one city. Some are big and some are small and it is not uncommon to see believers go to different churches. This has raised a question amongst Christians: "If two people in love attend different churches, how do they make their relationship work? Does the church need to supervise them? Which church should they attend after they are married?"
Pastor Guo in East China responded to these questions. "It is tough for believers from different churches to decide which church to go to after they get married. Some pastors might say 'bring him or her here. It's ok to date someone from another church, but bring the other person to this one.'"
However, the thinking of pastors keeps updating and changing, and there are more answers to this question than just "bring the other person here." Pastor Guo thinks one should look at the question from three points.
- First, the church is God's church.
Pastor Guo said that church leaders should be aware that the church doesn't belong to man, but to God. Because of this, believers can decide which church is best for them, as long as they can get good shepherding and growth.
- Second, pray.
"The couple should pray for each other and see where God is leading them. He will be responsible for the marriage if we trust Him." When Christians seek God's help in prayer, He answers and inspires them through pastors or other brothers and sisters.
- Third, communicate with pastoral workers.
Before two believers come together in marriage, they should have their parents' approval and then communicate with their pastors. They should find out if the pastors can talk to each other.
Pastor Guo believes that churches can't avoid this problem. They also can't just try and apply authority because it is in God's hands, not theirs. The main responsibility of pastors is shepherding. Although the marriage of two believers is a private matter, when it comes to the decision of a church home they can look to pastors for advice.
Pastor Cui from Wuhan also has three suggestions regarding the issue.
- First, the church is God's church.
Believers should be blessed and not forced to stay when they need to move for work, marriage, or other reasons.
- Second, Christians should be responsible for themselves.
Dating and marriage are both private matters and should not be supervised by either the church or pastors. "For example, I'm a pastor and it's right for the church to supervise me in church matters. However, it isn't recommended for me to supervise believers' lives because that's private. It can be very scary once private matters are in the control of the pastor."
Pastor Cui thinks that Christians need marriage counseling instead of supervision. Adults need independent consciousness and thinking to be healthy in the 21st century. Dating can have trials, but people should understand that those will all be updated, changed, and met by God eventually.
- Finally, Christians need the courage to make their own decisions.
Some are too afraid to offend God, so they try not to do anything. But that is selfish.
"God doesn't care if you fail; He cares that you try to use your gifts. God didn't ask Noah to fill the ark, He only asked him to build it. It was God's business to decide how many people go on the ark, and where to put them. It is the same today. Some Christians don't want to try because they are afraid of failure, but they should not be afraid to lose or stumble. Young people should have courage to try, to do, and to establish their own values and judgment.
Translated by: Grace Hubl
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