Marriage ministry

The best and worst part of pastoring
This issue of the Century engages an important conversation about the state of marriage and the effects of divorce. Ministers, of course, are regularly and directly involved in marriages and divorces. When preaching, ministers must bear in mind that the congregation includes happily married couples, divorced people (whose ex-spouses may also be in church), single people and children of divorce. Elizabeth Marquardt points out that children of divorce hear the parable of the prodigal son in their own way. They recognize the act of leaving, she says, but in their experience it was a parent who left. A brave high school boy taught me that lesson in my first congregation. I had said in a sermon that everybody can understand what the prodigal experienced, because parents are like that father and we all have or had parents. “My Dad isn’t like that,” he told me. “My Dad doesn’t even like me.”


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