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20 Nuggets from "Having a Marriage that Lasts" lectures by Brad Rhoads

The following "nuggets" are taken from Brad Rhoads “Having a Marriage that Lasts” lectures at Southern Seminary. If you are interested in having a stronger marriage or a more robust marriage ministry at your church, you can visit Brad’s website, GraceMarriage.com for more details.

1. The best thing you can do for your church is to invest in your marriage. What is your vision for your marriage? If it was ideal, what would it look like? The opposite is going to happen unless you write it down and are intentional to do it.

Grace + Intentionality = Transformation

2. I'm staying qualified for ministry by spending time with my wife. Good marriages form the DNA of our church.

3. You can either be liked by all or respected by all. As a pastor, you will be applauded for bad decisions. You don't want a growing church and a declining family. Being able to say no is critical. You don't have to die for your church … Jesus did that. Be willing to upset people in your church by prioritizing your family. Bad leaders are ones that take it all on their own because they like the attention that they get.

You can either be liked by all or respected by all.

4. We have a successful marriage ministry in our church because our pastors have good marriages. The healthiest churches are churches where the pastors have a healthy family.

5. Shepherds need shepherds pouring into them. Invite others into your hurts.

6. Focus on laying down your life for your wife.

7. If you have more to do than there is time to do it, you're likely walking in your will rather than God's. Spend a life in pursuit of Jesus not in the pursuit of ministry.

8. Do you dig deep into her heart? Are you loving her deeply? “I just did what I wanted when the Scripture says that I am to lay down my life for her.” Do the most menial of tasks. When you do that, you'll see what a great wife you have. Focus on service and on love and on sacrifice.

9. If you have to remind your wife or your congregation that you're in charge and she needs to submit, that’s a good indication that you're a poor leader.

10. You don’t drift toward emotional connection. Grace + Intentionality = Transformation. Let the one word that describes you as a husband be "grace." What sets Christians apart is what they do when they are wronged.

11. Ministry is no stronger than your own marriage. You can succeed in ministry but fail spiritually in life. To the degree that your ministry is doing better than marriage, it’s hypocrisy.

12. Live a life pursuing Jesus, not ministry. Your life will be more fruitful if its spent pursuing Christ.

13. Three practical steps to have a healthier marriage: (1) set boundaries; (2) excel at delegation; (3) have someone to hold you accountable.

14. "I've been asking you to give me what only Jesus can give me."

15. You want influence, lead out of your marriage.

16. [Statistics] You can track the decline of the local church with the decline of marriage and the decline of the family. 72% of churches have no substantive marriage ministry (study by communio.org). There has been a 900% increase in co-habitation in the last 50 years.

17. Go and love your wife in a way that young people watch you and say I want that. Make her feel so loved. Don't just give her the scraps. [To his kids] You want me to do this [date my wife]. You have no clue how confused your life will be if we separate.

18. Marriage in your church needs to be a gospel magnet. How many people in their 60's and 70's that you want their marriage? This needs to become the norm, not the exception.

19. How can we have a gospel-oriented marriage ministry? It has to be full circle—(1) youth and college students (beautiful, biblical branding of marriage to your youth); (2) pre-marital counseling; (3) protection and enhancement; (4) crises counseling.

20. One hour in prevention is far more effective than three hours in recovery. It takes hours and hours to move from a 1 to a 2. In prevention, you can quickly go from a 5 to a 9 . . . and there is a lot more pay off. It’s also super attractive. A culture of folks that are happy in their marriages are far more effective in evangelism. When they have a wonderful marriage, they breathe life.

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