Pastor's Policy on Marriages

Randall J. Runions

As a minister of the Gospel, the state of Tennessee has vested in me the authority to perform marriage ceremonies. Regardless of what authority the state may give me, I feel a very keen responsibility to God for my ministry. In marriages, as in other ministries, I have no right to perform a ceremony which is not in keeping with what I believe the New Testament teaches and instructs me to perform as a minister of God's Holy Word. Because I feel a keen responsibility to be true to His Word in this matter, I present to you the following convictions which I believe the Bible teaches and which, therefore, will be my policies.

I. Policy Regarding Preparation For Weddings:

I do not care to be a part of any "Quickie" marriages. Marriage is to be a Christian union for life. This requires much thought, soul searching and planning. Therefore, I request I be contacted 3 months in advance of the wedding date. The minimum time for counseling and planning for a church wedding is seven weeks. I require all candidates for marriage to participate in pre-marital counseling. I usually prefer to do this on Sunday evenings. Church attendance is part of this counseling.

Counseling Questionnaire

I do not commit myself to perform any wedding until after I have first met with both parties involved during a scheduled meeting in my study. There are many who have the authority to perform legal marriages and this is fine; but if you choose to invite me to have this privilege then I trust you will understand my insistence upon the instructions of the New Testament (as I understand them) being met. As a Christian, I believe it correct to respect the right of every believer to interpret Scripture according to the dictates of one's heart.

II. Christian Marriage Is For Christian People:

II Corinthians 6:14-15 says: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with the Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"

Because of the instruction of God, I cannot feel justified in having a part in a marriage of a Christian and a non-Christian.

III. Policy Concerning Church Weddings:

1. Because of the significance attached to the altar area of the church building, I believe all weddings using this area should bring honor and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. Both parties involved in a "church wedding" should manifest that they are, have been, and will strive to continue in the Holy will of our Savior. A "church wedding" says "we are clean" through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His blessings are upon us. I personally believe that modesty should be observed in the wedding apparel, where Christ himself would not be offended by the dress.  The only church wedding I feel justified in being a part of is a Christian wedding where Christ is the center of all.

 What Should I Wear Today?

2. In all church weddings performed, I will require each party of the marriage to state to me their personal convictions regarding their being a fit candidate for marriage honoring the Lord. Any candidate for marriage with a previous divorce must be able to state publicly before me (his or her) scriptural grounds for divorce and remarriage. I find the scriptural grounds for dissolving of a marriage are three in number:

  1. The death of one's mate (Romans 7:2 & I Corinthians 7:39)

  2. The sin of sexual immorality (fornication) (Matthew 5:32; 19:9)

  3. The unwillingness of a mate to live with one because of Christian living (I Corinthians 7:12-15)

3. I believe that if one has divorced on the grounds established by Scripture, they are without question qualified for re-marriage and in their new marriage they are never considered as having another "living spouse."

IV. Payments For Service Rendered:

I would like to say that I welcome the privilege of serving you in marriage as in other areas of the Christian ministry. Because I feel this is part of my pastoral duty and responsibility, I do not charge for this service. As you contribute to the support of the church, you graciously provide for me; and I am happy to do this for you. Please accept this service as a wedding gift from me to you on this glad occasion. Please remember those you engage as singer(s) and musicians for your wedding. These folks need to know their services are appreciated. They put in time and practice to be able to perform these services. I would suggest a minimum of $10000 to $12500 honorarium each for these persons in any church wedding.

Upon reading and agreeing to the above policies and the stated church policy, if you desire to schedule a wedding using the pastor as the officiating minister, then you need to contact me and schedule your first appointment. Both parties of the wedding must be present for this conference.