Planning a Wedding is a Lot Like Ministry


wedding-planning-ministryBy Brien Bell

I got engaged to an amazing woman this summer. She said yes to me even though she’s seen me at my worst. And she makes me better, reminding me that I am beloved. In so many ways, seen and unseen, she reflects the character of Christ for me.

As the months have passed and the wedding draws closer, I’ve come to realize how parallels can be drawn between planning a wedding, and for marriage, and youth ministry. (Seriously, stick with me here!)

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in planning a wedding is patience. Not everything you plan is going to occur as you want it to. There are going to be bumps. You might get frustrated. But it’s never as bad as it might seem in the moment.

When Paul wrote to the Colossians, he encouraged them in prayer that they may be “strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience….” (Colossians 1:9-11) Ever try getting a group of 25 middle school students to stop talking long enough to give them instructions for a service project? Endurance and patience are so vital to wedding planning and to ministry.

You won’t get anywhere in marriage or in ministry without communication. Whether you’re trying to plan an engagement party or get a bunch of high school students (or their parents) to come to a midweek Bible study, keeping strong lines of communication open is key. Listening is also an important part of communicating; being open to hear others’ opinions and ideas is part of any relationship – especially when working with youth. James reminds us: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)

My oldest friend has been so helpful in coordinating things with the rest of our bridal party, a big reason why I chose him as my Best Man. He’s helped bring our friends together, creating a team that we have faith in to stand by our side on our big day. Having a good team makes everything easier, and especially so in ministry. Partners in ministry are essential – having a group of people you can rely upon, who can support you and work with you and beside you, who can pray for you and with you, makes all the difference.

In the end, the most important part of both marriage and ministry is that which God is through and through: Love. Without love, everything falls apart. 1 John 4 reminds us, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” Love is the foundation from which all comes into being, and it is with love that we come together as brothers and sisters to be united in Christ, through the bonds of friendship, in addition to the bonds of matrimony which God himself ordained.

No wedding is perfect, just as no ministry or church is perfect. With God’s help, we are shaped to be more and more like Christ, and we hope that our actions, our relationships, and our lives begin to reflect the love and the grace that He has given. Amen.