This past Sunday, Bryan Carter, the pastor of Dallas’ Concord Church, preached a sermon about cohabitation before marriage and what biblical relationships look like, and afterward, almost 30 couples approached him and said “they wanted to start the process of walking down the aisle.” (H/T Christian Post).
For the last three years, the church has made an offer to couples within the congregation: If they decide to get married, the church will pay for their wedding. That includes dresses, tuxedos, rings, premarital counseling (which is mandatory) and for some couples, the church will even pay a month’s rent following the wedding. In all, the church pays about $8,000 per wedding, with members donating decorations, food and flowers.
Since they first started making the offer back in 2009, about 60 couples have taken them up on it.
Carter explained to The Christian Post, “As a church, we want to help people find restoration and healing, and let the Gospel be lived out in how we approach it.”
He went on to explain the vision of the program: “We continue to see the issue of cohabitation in our church and in our community and we wanted to use God’s Word to give us a pathway,” he told CP. “As a pastor, my heart is for marriage and family, and one of the biggest threats to the stability of those things is the issue of cohabitation. Our passion is to lift up and value and honor marriage. We want couples to understand the importance of a covenant relationship, which leads to strong marriages and families.”