FIRST-PERSON: The nearly-wed class
PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) -- It's that time of year -- weddings, weddings everywhere! If your church is serious about ministering to young adults, here's a fresh idea: Plan a seminar spanning six to eight weeks titled "It Takes Three" for engaged or newlywed couples every spring and fall.
The class meets during the Sunday School or small group hour in an attractive, easy-to-find room of the church. A consistent leadership team hosts, mentors, promotes and plans the seminar, but the Bible teacher changes weekly.
Prayerfully select several church members to prepare and present a relevant Bible class about an assigned topic, such as communication, intimacy, commitment, parenting and praying together. Instructors are respected couples or individuals. Their purpose is to teach God’s basic principles for marriage, using the Bible, multiple handouts and visuals, current technology and personal testimony.
Get the word out. Announce dates at least six months ahead, and preregister church members and attendees who are engaged or newly married. Challenge all church members to invite potential participants. Publicize with a printed brochure, e-invitations, Facebook event page and Twitter, and offer online registration. Place brochures in local florists, bakeries and wedding shops. Research engagement announcements and mail a personal invitation. Rent a booth at your local bridal fair to invite brides and grooms.
Personalize the class. Use nametags and be intentional about learning names and needs. Help participants make friends by displaying a photo of each couple. Plan lunches, cookouts and ball games. View each person as God sees them, showing His love with every word and action.
Most importantly, give them Jesus. Help each person to know God personally. Teachers and church members can share their personal God-story. Encourage couples to attend worship together. If a class member accepts Christ, the entire group can attend the baptismal service. Assure that each person gains a clear understanding of God's eternal plan of salvation and His purpose for their life and marriage.
At the seminar's conclusion, present a certificate and promote the graduates into a current or new small group for young couples.
During big life changes -- like marriage -- many lost people begin to think about eternal things. Amid all the wedding planning, consider how your church can intentionally share Jesus with nearly-weds.
Diana Davis is the author of "Fresh Ideas" and "Deacon Wives" (B&H Publishing) and wife of North American Mission Board Vice President for the South Region Steve Davis.