[make your voice heard: input needed]

[make your voice heard: input needed]

Today at the youth group, we started an interesting discussion (after the main part of the youth group… we were just sitting and chatting about stuff).

I was planning on writing my thoughts, but now that I all of a sudden got a headache and therefore thinking about calling it a night, I decided to ask you the question.

Discussion is as always welcome (and VERY encouraged). I shall add my opinion tomorrow.


Imagine you’re a pastor (although, I suspect that many readers here won’t need to imagine since they are pastors) and you have been asked to conduct a wedding ceremony.

The hitch? Neither of the couple goes to church – one of them used to go to Sunday School, yet doesn’t anymore.

Would you marry them?

If yes, why? If not, why? What are some questions that you would ask them?

  • The answer for me is fairly simple: Yes I have and Yes I would. I realize there are those pastors who have strict guidelines against marrying non-churched people but I will marry them under the conditions that 1) they go through pre-marital counseling with me and 2) they attend church (I used to say 3 times) while we are counseling. I have been known to make exceptions to the rule for the latter, especially if they are from out of town, and attend another church. I also have been marrying people who have children out of wedlock or have been living together. The stipulations still stand and I figure they are gong to get married somehow and somewhere I might as well be the one to warn them and teach them. Right or wrong is "yours" to judge. I do encourage abstaining from sex while counseling but am not naive enough to believe they do (although one couple told me after the wedding that they honored that request and he slept in a separate bed and they abstained). Not sure if this answered your question or makes me a heathen but there you have it. 🙂

  • I like Bill's answer. I'm not a pastor so I wasn't sure how some of the pastors here would respond, but I agree that they will just find somewhere else to get married if you don't do it. By requiring pre-marital counseling you kind of have a captive audience. Something said there can affect them and really set their marriage on the right track. They probably would not get that kind of teaching if they are forced to go get married by a non-pastor.

    • hey, thanks for stopping by and sharing the feedback, Hawkotaco! 🙂

  • I like Bill's answer too! What a great opportunity to get people interested in church. Truth is, if you refuse to marry them, their getting married anyway with our without you. By marrying them but requesting they attend pre-marital counseling and attend 3 services, they're getting married and might have the opportunity to know Christ which clearly will strengthen their marriage.
    My recent post #23 First Mennonite Church: Got Fruit?

  • Pastor Scott

    another Pastor giving a response. yes – I have also married the unchurched and looked upon it as an opportunity to evangelize. I usually tell them that I am open to being a spiritual advisor to them and that I am a communication coach during this pre-marriage sessions. I have talked about and worked through some of the topics of ALPHA and invited the couples in this situation to attend ALPHA and also to attend worship. The more difficult challenge is getting them connected with some church members who are not already in their circle of friends, since their circle of friends are usually all unchurched.

    • welcome, pastor Scott! the more pastors, the merrier 😀

      what is ALPHA? I realize that it's some kind of a program, but to be honest i have never heard about it (at least here in Ukraine).

      valid point regarding new friends, thanks!

  • Bill is right on target and so is Scott in my opinion. My dad is a pastor and I know he would marry them if they went through pre-marital counseling with him. If they didn't attend church at the time of their marriage, his openness to council them and perform the wedding may plant seeds and open a door for them later when they really need to find God. Having had that contact with him and the church would likely make it a bit less overwhelming to come to church at that point.

    • Having had that contact with him and the church would likely make it a bit less overwhelming to come to church at that point. – yep, completely agree.

  • Pingback: [to marry or not to marry, that is the question] :The Observer()

  • Bill and I pretty much have the same standard on this one. They must go through premarital counseling. If they are sexually active I ask them to stop till after the wedding. If they are living together I ask them to live apart till after the wedding. I ask them to come to services at the church I pastor at least a couple of times. If they say no to any one of these I will not marry them – otherwise – I have and I will.

    • thanks, Jim! definitely the point of balance that i think we all should find – when you don't give up on the principles yet accept the ones who may differ in views (at least for the time being…)

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