Here is How the Church Can Help Young People with Marriage
By CCD Contributor: John Li, June 28, 2017 04:06 AM
A few months ago, I have tried to hold a gathering for singles to make friends with each other in my church but as the host I have to admit that it was a great failure.
On the day of the gathering, ten brothers and five sisters showed up, among which two of them were forced to come for the sake of adding up number. It was more than embarrassing to describe the situation. There were many reasons for it but the greatest one was that many sisters signed up but did not show up while many brothers did not sign up but wanted to attend the gathering. Seeing the embarrassing imbalance between the number of brothers and sisters, the host immediately decided to change the gathering into a lecture on marriage so that it could have a good end.
The failure of the gathering also exposed the urgent problems facing the church. The numbers of sisters and brothers in the church are not in a good balance and the church has failed to establish an effective platform of marriage so that the young people could develop relationship properly.
First, the marriage of young people in the church is worrying.
I have learned many marriage courses when I was young, most of which would offer a convincing illustration to show the inevitable crisis to come if a Christian finds a non-believer as his or her spouse. The illustration goes as the following: the teacher on the platform would invite a listener to come forward to stand below the platform and then holding hands with each other, they would pull each other with strength. The result is obvious. No matter how strong the person on the platform is, he will be pulled down the platform. Many people trying to justify their act of finding a non-believer as their spouses argue that the phrase "believers and non-believers do not match each other" does not refer to a marital relationship but a business relationship. If that is true, Paul has a strict standard for business partners, how much higher his standard for spouses? Given the principle of the Bible on marriage as a whole, the basic premise is that Christians should marry Christians.
There are two reasons for the crisis of the young people's marriage in the church. First, the church's teachings on marriage are not complete. Because of it, many church leaders do not have a clear and firm stand that Christians should marry Christians. Second, the number of brothers and sisters are not in an odd shape; generally brothers are more than sisters in number. The problem is not only a global issue but also a historical one.
In recent years, the teaching of the podium has become clearer and clearer but it has also produced problems. It limited Christians' choice when looking for a lifetime partner and produced a group of left-over men and women because they could not find proper spouses in the church. Many of them waited patiently for their good fortune while their age increased year after year. As a result, they chose two extremist ways, either compelled to look for a non-believer to become spouses or keep waiting aimlessly. In fact most of the churches have taught singles to keep waiting. Do we have a better solution than asking them to wait?
Second, should the church build the marriage platform?
Many believers oppose blind date and are more opposed to the blind dating activities of the church. Is it appropriate to have a blind date in the church?
In fact, there are similar situations in the Bible. God, who instituted marriage, brought Eve before Adam and some people call God Adam's matchmaker. It should not be the direct evidence for the church to justify its holding blind dating activity but it could be a possibility for the church to consider. Blind date does not mean entering into marriage but serve as a platform for the young people to know each other. And the success of blind date does not mean marriage either but that the two young people agree to go further in their relationship.
As a church pastor, perhaps you are against blind date as I did before I married; But do not neglect your responsibility to make a bridge for young men and women to know each other. Though many people have a negative impression on blind date, the church should consider how to create opportunities and activities for the young people to come to know each other. And whether you admit or not, these activities are similar to blind date with the intention to lead the young people into marriage.
Many churches teach well the principle of marriage but they do not care about how to help young people in a concrete way to enter into marriage in reality. The church emphasizes that believers and non-believers do not match each other but they do not give realistic help to the young people about how to find their proper spouses, which indicates a lack of responsibility on the part of the church. In society, when children reach the age for marriage, parents will be busy arranging various ways of blind date for their children. The church had better set up the marriage platform in the church otherwise the embarrassed young people will be compelled to look for their spouses through attending various blind dating activities in the world.
Many young sisters in the church complain that there is a small number of brothers in good quality while brothers complain that sisters are arrogant and cold. They need the church to build up a platform for them to communicate with each other. Given my own experience, I think the church can do two things. First, the church can hold blind date. Second, it can plan gatherings for young people to make friends with each other. The latter needs to provide enough time and a relaxing atmosphere for the youth.
Another reason why young people in the church cannot encounter their proper life-time partner is that churches do not work together or communicate with each other because some churches fear that they may lose believers. The problem is more serious in the family church. In order to build up marriage platform, resources are important. Since many churches lack resources to help young people with their marriage problem, they need to communicate and work with each other for the sake of the youth. In addition, pastors can serve as the supervisor to guide the young people to communicate with each other sincerely.
To sum up, if the church does not take the initiative to build a viable marriage platform in the church, it either encourages freedom to develop romantic relationship or ignores the young people's marriage issue. The lack of action on the part of the church causes the youth to seek for their spouses in their own way.
I encourage the Chinese churches to think over a variety of possible strategies to help the young men and women in leading them into marriage so that more Christ-like families can be built up.
Translated by Alvin Zhou
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