My church’s Marriage team is putting on a major Marriage Ministry Conference today. And while I don’t have any connection to it (except helping with parking!), it does remind me of the interesting issue of marriage preparation within collegiate ministry today.
While dating will always be a topic, I’d imagine many college ministries have discovered that the “felt need” of specific preparation for marriage has lessened over the last decade. This isn’t to say that dating preparation – and dating itself – isn’t part of marriage preparation. Of course they are. But I’m not sure students are drawn to a “marriage seminar” like they were when I was in school… since it’s become so “normal” to get married later on.
But that doesn’t mean we need to pass the baton to our Young Adult Ministry brethren without considering marriage preparation.
For one thing, many students still will get married while in college, or within the first couple of years after graduation. But secondly, a certain level of “marriage talk” prepares students to aim high, fight their flesh well, be patient, and ultimately marry well – whether that’s 15 months or 15 years after graduation.
And finally, there is a subset of your students who will be “seriously dating” or engaged while they’re under your care. What’s your plan for them? Are you prepared for premarital counseling, either two-on-two or in a large group? Would that make sense in your ministry? Or is this another great opportunity to lean on others in your church / other churches in town?