In our city and in our church family, the probability that you are not married is as good if not better than the probability that you are married. Those who are single in college, single out of college, single living at home, lifelong singles, divorced, widows, and those dealing with same sex attraction make up a majority of our urban community. We want to make a few things extremely clear: Our decision to do a series on marriage is in no way an attempt to make you feel unloved, ostracized, excluded, or out of place in our church family. Your marital status does not dictate your identity or your value. A wedding is not graduation into a more valid status of life. Marriage is not heaven. It’s not our hope for the good life. Jesus is.
At the same time, marriage is a gift (Proverbs 18:28) and throughout the Scriptures, God uses marriage as an incredible picture of the gospel. So, for a number of reasons we are excited to see God use this series to sanctify our entire church family, including those who are married and those who are not (a.k.a. you).
“How?! In what ways can I possibly grow from a ten-week series on marriage when I’m not married? It doesn’t apply to me! You guys must hate me and don’t care about me!” That is simply not the case. Here are five ways this series applies to you:
- Understanding marriage helps you understand the gospel. The marriage relationship is used over and over throughout the Bible to describe Christ’s relationship to the church. What that means is that whether you are married or not, properly understanding God’s design and intentions for marriage helps you understand how Jesus loves, leads, forgives and walks in relationship with His bride, the church.
- Understanding marriage helps you understand other relationships. Marriage is the first human relationship that God ever invented. As such, it serves a specific role in informing all of our relationships. Marriage is a microcosm stage where the friendship, tensions, conflicts and reconciliations we experience in all of our relationship gets played out on a daily basis and in extraordinary ways.
- Understanding marriage helps you interact with married people. Whether you are married or not, you are likely to either already have or to have in the future close friendships with people who are married. Understanding, studying and praying about what God and His Scripture have to say about marriage allows you to interact with married people (neighbors, parents, coworkers) in an informed and helpful way. It’s interesting here to note that much of the teaching about marriage that we’ll be looking at comes from Paul and Jesus, neither of whom was married.
- Understanding marriage helps you live on mission. Marriage is one of the most prevalent and clear pictures of how we live in a good world gone bad. Broken marriages are in the news. It’s in the tabloids. It’s in our family histories. It’s in our personal histories. And no one believes that the brokenness of marriage in our society is how it was designed to work. Everyone knows that marriage has been skewed since sin entered the world, whether or not they would use those words to explain it. So, the more you understand how Jesus loves to repair broken marriages, the more equipped you are to offer a uniquely Jesus-centered and hopeful position to the people in our city.
- Understanding marriage equips you in the event that you get married. We intentionally left the most obvious reason for last. Statistics show that some 87% of all people will be married at some point in their lives. That’s almost nine out of every ten people. Some have accused the church of rounding this number up and treating it like one hundred percent. We don’t want to do that. But we also don’t want to fail to prepare and equip the 87% of people who will statistically get married. So if you turn out to be one of the 87% of people who get married at some point in the future, we hope this series goes a long way to equip you now in terms of preparation. If you are single and turn out to be part of the 13% who don’t get married, refer back to reasons 1 through 4.
(This post was adapted from the Campaign Resource Guide)