This may come as a surprise to some, but on Saturday I will be officiating my third wedding! The reason many do not know about these weddings is because all three of them have been for unsaved, military couples that live well outside of Washington, Iowa. It has been a surprising ministry opportunity to say the least. I never would have thought that I would be able to minister to fellow soldiers in this way. The reason I have chosen to officiate for my comrades is because weddings are a great way to plant seeds of the Gospel!
However, there has been one challenging aspect in sharing the Gospel during these weddings. Because the couples live so far away, it is very difficult to find multiple opportunities to share the Gospel with them
Despite this challenge, I still do my best to share God’s Word with them. Typically, I meet with them at least three times throughout the whole wedding process. During those times, I certainly do a lot of other things as well, such as get to know the spouse, help plan the ceremony, do some marriage counseling, conduct the rehearsal, interact with strange people in the wedding party, and then do the wedding itself. Nonetheless, using the event as a platform to share the Gospel is always my goal throughout the process!
This is normally how it is done:
During the first meeting, we all three get to know each other and plan the wedding ceremony. I don’t necessarily whip open my Bible the first chance I get in this meeting; but I do give them a glimpse of the Gospel by caring for them, getting to know them, sharing my testimony with them, and serving them throughout the whole planning process.
My second meeting gets a little more serious, and I always warn them of this in meeting number one. During this time, I try to fit probably 3-4 weeks of counseling into an hour or two… This can be a real challenge, but it has always been beneficial and a lot of fun! I first make clear that I want them to have great wedding; but more than that I want them to great marriage. My goal is to always hit home three biblical truths that can really lay a good foundation for any marriage whether you are saved or not!
- “Love is a choice and not feeling” – This is hugely important to understand and is also easily misunderstood in today’s society. This is also a great place to insert the Gospel with John 3:16. God was not “in love” with mankind, therefore He sent Jesus; instead He chose to love mankind, therefore He sent Jesus.
- “Marriage is a commitment to love and not a commitment because of love” – It is a commitment before God be unified to and to love only that other person for the rest of your life.
- “Marriage is picture of Jesus and the Church and not just a piece of paper” – This is another great place to insert the Gospel by explaining the picture of husbands loving their wives and wives following their husbands as is laid out in Ephesians 5.
The last time I see the couple is at the rehearsal and on the wedding day itself. This is yet another opportunity to love on them, be a good testimony, and share the Gospel one last time with both them and everyone watching the ceremony. God has called His people to make disciples and to be proclaimers of the Gospel in everything we do–this is just one very practical and enjoyable way God has given me to share! Do people come sprinting down the aisle at the end of weddings to get saved? No, but the opening of God’s Word and picture of marriage does plant seeds, and it also opens the door for more conversation later.
Two weeks after this wedding, I have opportunity to officiate my first wedding with a saved couple. It has been and will be a whole new joyful experience; but I will have to share that with you another time!