What should you expect when preaching a wedding? What do others expect of you? Here are five important do’s and “don’ts.
Do’s For Preaching A Wedding
1. Preach the gospel, reminding the couple and the audience that their marriage is to communicate the gospel (Eph. 5). There will be numerous non-Christians in attendance as well as numerous married people that are contemplating divorce or adultery. You have a rare opportunity to give them the truth.
2. Whatever the bride, groom, and families want you to do that does not violate your conscience or the Scriptures.
3. Arrive early but never late to the rehearsal, pictures, wedding, and anything else the family wants you to attend.
4. Know what you are going to say verbatim; don’t “wing it.” Notes are fine to read from, but don’t sound choppy. You are not the center of the ceremony, Christ is. Don’t detract from Christ.
5. Counsel the couple if at all possible before marrying them. This counsel should be full of Scriptural counseling, not merely advice from your many years of experience. If the couple will submit to the Scriptures as authoritative over their marriage, emotions, feelings, etc., literally nothing can make their marriage fail.
Don’ts For Preaching A Wedding
1. Expect to be paid. You may be paid, or you may not be. If you are paid, it won’t be much money; so don’t ask to be paid unless they ask you.
2. Be a comedian during the ceremony. Once again, do not detract from Christ.
3. Offer suggestions to the wedding planner, family, etc. unless they ask you for them. You are not choreographing the wedding.
4. Preach a sermon, but preach the gospel. You should include Ephesians 5 or some similar verses that communicate God’s plan for marriage; however, there is no need to preach a detailed sermon. Include all that is necessary to communicate God’s plan for marriage (the gospel) in the smallest amount of time possible. The ceremony will be full of other time-stealers, so your window for presenting the gospel is brief.
5. Ignore the wedding planner’s desired order of the ceremony. Pay detailed attention during the rehearsal to how he or she has organized the ceremony. Once again, you do not want to detract from Christ. If you mess up the order of the ceremony, you will detract from Christ.
What are your thoughts?
Jared Moore is 32 years of age, and has served in pastoral ministry in a Southern Baptist context for 12 years. He currently pastors New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is happily married to Amber and has three children. He has authored one book 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to Be Tipped. Jared is also a regular contributor at SBC Voices, Servants of Grace, Sermon Central, and Church Leaders, and occasionally writes for Speculative Faith, Credo Magazine, Gospel Husbands, and SBC Focus. I have a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity College of the Bible, an M.A.R. in Biblical Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, an M.Div. in Christian ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), a Th.M. in Systematic Theology (ABT) from SBTS, and I’m currently a PhD Student in Systematic Theology at SBTS.