Every Thanksgiving, we make the trek through northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama world to be with both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. It’s a great time had by almost all, but the food for me is always a problem. No matter how many articles I read on avoiding weight gain during the holidays, I gain weight during the holidays. I may only gain a pound or two but it always feels like a hundred. I’m sleepy, lethargic, the small pooch in my stomach feels like the start of large paunch, and my brain seems to being saying, “blah, blah, blah, blah.” But just as predictable as me eating way too much, I stop eating and go workout crazy until, well, Christmas.
My attempt at a transition: Do you ever feel like you have just gotten up from the Thanksgiving ministry table? You have been dining with people you love, but you feel stuffed, tired and ministry fat. You have every kind of ministry and leader at the table. Bottom line for many of our churches, we have too many ministries at the table and we need to “cut the fat and sugar.” It’s what’s best for everyone. It’s what needs to happen. We need to make some healthy decisions for ourselves, AND our kids.
Now, before we get down to slicing and dicing the diet, I want to add one more dish to the table, a dish that is oddly missing from the table. Not unlike healthy foods missing at Thanksgiving, marriage ministry is not even at the table for many churches, or it is just an extra sitting alongside the Bee Keepers for Jesus ministry. I would argue it should be a staple alongside children’s and student’s ministry. It needs to be included in the weekly diet of our church. The main reason churches tell me they don’t have a marriage ministry is that they are too busy. But I think the answer to making margin for marriage ministry isn’t necessarily about adding more staff and budget, but subtracting staff and budget from ministries that may be competing with what is really important.
Again, I realize that I am a church marriage guy, but shouldn’t a proactive, marriage strategy be a part of every church? Currently, marriages are only being served a couple of times a year, if ever. So, as you look thankfully at your church ministry table, I want to ask you two questions that seem to be at odds with each other, but I believe work with each other:
1) Are their ministries that need to be lovingly removed from the table?
2) How are you serving married couples?
Enough for now, I have to go for a run; Christmas will be here soon.
From 2001-2010, Ted Lowe worked as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church. His wife Nancie played a huge role in hosting and planning MarriedLife programs at North Point. It was during their time at North Point that they decided they not only wanted to help the married people at North Point, but married people at churches all over the world. So, in partnership with Orange and church leaders everywhere, they are working fast and furiously to—HELP CHURCHES HELP MARRIAGES. They have three children: Chapman (10), Judson (7), and Teddie (5), and live in Cumming, Georgia. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.