Recently I wrapped up a series on the Song of Solomon at my church called You & Me: Being Single, Finding Love & Staying Married.
The response from my church was overwhelming, and the response from other pastors was interesting. I think too many pastors are afraid to preach on marriage & singleness, in particular from the Song of Solomon, but that’s another blog post.
I think each year every church should do a series on marriage, finding love, being single and dating. Here’s why:
- Most regrets & secrets are sexual. Everyone has regrets and shame in their life. Whenever I meet with someone and they say, “I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anyone else,” it is almost always sexual. It is amazing how we can believe the grace of God can reach every part of our life except our sexuality. We attach something different to it, whether good or bad, that is the truth. People need to know what to do with those secrets, that hurt and shame.
- Everyone wants to know what the Bible says on sex, marriage, dating and being single. We often think that people don’t want to hear what the Bible says on dating, marriage or something touchy like money. That’s false. Everyone wants to know; they are curious. Most people know they have no idea how to do marriage and are looking for help from any source. Most unchurched people will give what the Bible says a listen if it might help.
- Most people have no idea how to be married. This is true for couples and singles. Most people grow up in broken homes, have no idea about how to fight well, communicate well, serve their spouse, live out in healthy roles, make decisions as a couple. They are clueless, so they make it up as they go along. Preaching on this topic on a regular basis helps everyone, whether they are single or married.
- Those who aren’t married are really curious about this. The most comments I got while preaching through the Song of Solomon were from singles. In fact, singles tell me on a regular basis that the sermons they listen to more than once are on marriage. Why? See #3. They want to make sure they don’t do something now that messes up later.
- The effects of a broken marriage are felt for generations. If you have been divorced, have parents who are divorced, are married to someone whose parents are divorced or went through a divorce, you know this is true. We often think this isn’t true, and not to make anyone feel guilty, but how marriage goes or doesn’t go has enormous effects on us and our kids, and their kids. For this reason alone, pastors should spend more time preaching on marriage.
- We need to communicate a better narrative than our culture. Our culture talks a lot about sex and sexual identity. Our culture identifies themselves based on sexuality (“I’m gay, I’m transgender”, etc.). Sadly this means our culture thinks the most interesting thing about you is what you do in the bedroom, which isn’t the case. Pastors need to help people find a better and more true identity. On top of that, the New Testament talks about how marriage is a picture of the gospel. You can’t separate the two.
I think more pastors should preach on these topics. I’ll share soon why many pastors are afraid to preach on marriage, but the longer we stay silent on these topics in the church or aren’t helpful when we preach on them, the more our culture will continue to give a narrative that seems right and good to those in our churches.