Fellowship Marriage Ministry
It is our desire to come alongside couples at every stage of their relationship, offering opportunities to help them restore and enrich their relationship by learning to place Christ at the center of their life and their marriage in the context of community.
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Marriage Ministry FAQ's
Congratulations on your engagement! You and your partner are about to enter into one of the most exciting, amazing, fulfilling and difficult journeys’ in your life. We think it’s important for you to know where we stand as a body of believers in Jesus Christ as you consider including Fellowship Bible Church to be a part of your ceremony. Check out these frequently asked questions for answers to some basic questions. If you don’t find your answer here, please feel free to reach out to us.
Our goal with Fellowship Marriage is to guide couples to a happy, healthy and strong marriage. Happy in that they are able to restore joy and contentment in their relationship. Healthy in that we help them build strong lines of communication and intimacy again, and strong in that they reaffirm their commitment to each other, and the covenant of marriage that exists between God, man and woman.
We understand that in a broken world, filled with broken people, there will be problems that arise in marriages. Some of these problems are small easy bumps, and some feel like impossible mountains to climb. The good news is, we have a plan. In fact, it’s God’s plan for marriage. We’re confident that when we are able to infuse Jesus into a marriage, then that marriage can become everything it was meant to be and more. The impossible, becomes possible. Good marriages become great, and broken marriages are restored. Matthew 19:26b – “with God, all things are possible.”
Premarital counseling is a prerequisite before any minister at FBC will officiate your ceremony. We strongly believe that it is important to prepare couples for the challenges they will be facing when married, and for them to understand the weight of their decision to marry. Research shows that couples who go through premarital counseling are 31% less likely to divorce.
We offer a couple of paths you can take in order to prepare your relationship for marriage. We have marriage assessments you can take and go through with a certified staff member, or you can go through our pre-marriage course MERGE. MERGE is an 8-week course where you’re in community with other couples preparing for marriage. Both of these approaches are fun AND enlightening.
You must both be professing Christians for anyone from FBC to officiate your wedding. We cannot in good conscious marry couples who don’t share the same faith in Jesus Christ. This is based off of our understanding of 2 Corinthians 6:14, and our first-hand knowledge of the struggles couples not on the same spiritual path face once married.
You do not need to be a member of Fellowship Bible Church, however, because we have numerous requests for weddings and a limited staff to accommodate all whom we would like to serve, we are usually limited to officiating weddings of couples who are a part of our church community (i.e., regularly attend Fellowship for at least 4 months, serve in a ministry area, or are involved in a community group).
We must be in agreement on what marriage is before we are able to perform your ceremony. We believe marriage was designed by God (Genesis 2:24) and is a lifelong covenantal relationship between one man and one woman. God designed marriage for companionship (Genesis 2:18), procreation (Genesis 1:28), and to reveal to the world a picture of who He is (Genesis 1:27) and His Gospel message. It is intended to give a picture of Christ’s loving relationship with His bride, the church (Eph. 5:32). It is the ultimate goal of marriage for the two to become one, just as Christ wants us to be one with Him and the Father which is the central theme of the Gospel (Eph. 5:25-27).
Marriage is not a 50/50 contractual agreement where if certain expectations are not met, the contract is null and void and divorce is the next step. On the contrary, marriage is a sacred covenant established by God to teach a man and a woman to love each other with God’s kind of committed love (Agape), and to become more like Jesus (more holy), through good times and bad. It is a 100/100 commitment where each spouse gives everything to the relationship, whether the other spouse does or not. Just as God’s love for us is everlasting, so this marriage covenant is meant to last a lifetime.
Sex and Marriage: We believe that God’s ideal for our sexuality is for it to be expressed in the monogamous commitment of marriage. Pre-marital sex often masks issues and keeps couples from learning emotional intimacy, friendship and communication independent of sexual intimacy. If a couple is dependent on a sexual relationship to be happy and content together before marriage, the more important foundations for a lasting marriage are often underdeveloped. For these reasons, we ask couples to honor God’s expressed desire for their sexuality (Hebrews 13:4) and abstain from sex, whether from the beginning of the relationship or from this moment on, until their marriage.
"Marriage is two dignified people; both molded in the image of their Maker, uniquely designed by God to form one flesh, a physical bond between two bodies where the deepest point of union is found at the greatest point of difference. Matrimony marked by unity in diversity, equality with variety, and personal satisfaction through shared consummation". (Counter Culture - David Platt)
Cohabitation is discouraged. While we understand that living together before marriage is fairly common in our society today, we do not see this as God’s intended design for a couple. Living together places a couple in a compromised position to follow through on sexual purity during their preparation for marriage. It also gives them a false sense of what married life will actually be like. There is no way to test the waters of fully committing to someone for life other than making the actual commitment. As long as there is an easy exit, there is no real “test drive” taking place. Because we want God’s best for you and your relationship, we encourage couples to not live together at any time prior to being married. However, this will not keep us from officiating your wedding. It is our desire to bring your relationship into a more holy and right place with God.
Your wedding date must be at least four months from the date you turn in the completed paperwork. This time frame is necessary to complete all required pre-marital counseling requirements and allow the couple time to implement concepts that are discussed.
Be sure to read through the FAQ’s so that we are on the same page in regard to what marriage is, and what is required in order for one or our ministers to officiate your wedding.
Next, you’ll need to fill out the Couple Questionnaire and return it to the church office. Once the forms have been completed and returned, you will be contacted to set up a meeting with one of the LifeCare ministers to discuss Fellowship’s beliefs and values. We’ll make the final confirmation about performing the ceremony after we’ve had a chance to meet with you both.
You will then be contacted to set up an initial meeting with the church Wedding Coordinators. Our ministers have limited availability to perform weddings and have discretion over which weddings they perform. We are only available to perform weddings in the greater Topeka and surrounding area. We are not ordained to officiate weddings outside the state of Kansas. Having the initial meeting does not guarantee that the pastor will perform your wedding.
Fellowship wants you to know that if, for any reason, we do not perform your wedding ceremony, our desire as a church is to offer you the tools and resources you need to have the healthy, lasting marriage God intends for you.