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Wedding Crashers

Officiating the weddings of unbelievers can be a key to reaching them.

Pastor, thank you so much for the awesome job you did at our wedding. You helped us become a little less skeptical of the Christian faith."

I was encouraged by this feedback but haunted by it as well. How many opportunities to impact unbelievers have I missed by refusing to do their weddings?

In most large U.S. cities, 25 to 45 percent of all weddings occur outside the church. And that percentage is rising. According to a 2006 survey by Condé Nast Bridal Media, there was a 9 percent decrease in the number of couples married in a church or synagogue last year.

While an increasing number of weddings are held in parks, banquet halls, museums, hotels, and private homes, the vast majority of couples say they want some spiritual elements in their ceremonies. Yet many pastors refuse to serve these couples on one of the most important days of their lives. Here are some of the reasons they give:

  • They don't attend my church.
  • They're already living together.
  • They've been previously married.
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