Clergy Support Memorial Church (CSMC), has chosen performing wedding ceremonies for non church members as their method of outreach for church growth. We call our method ‘Relational Evangelism’. This is the key that unlocks the understanding of why we solemnize weddings for those without a church connection.
Let us begin: ‘Our clergy accept a honorarium for their service, but the Church does not participate in this clergy fee.
Our theological foundation for this project includes the Gospel teaching known as the ‘Great Commission’ found in Matthew 28:16-20 which says: ‘leave your Church and go out to those not yet members of it’.
Who is our model for this? We borrowed that specific idea from the very successful outreach growth program of the Unitarian Church and adapted it to our situation.
‘Relational Evangelism’ is defined in part by performing rites of passage as a potential source of new members.
The Unitarian Lay Chaplaincy Program was implemented in 1970 in response to specific needs for Unitarian rites of passage to be used for church growth. We are grateful for this model and method.
What is our focus? The focus of potential church growth are the people beyond the traditional church’s reach, who want us to perform their wedding ceremony.
After a pastoral relationship is built during the wedding ceremony process, we hope the couple will call upon us for other pastoral care, such as a baptism, a funeral, or some visitation of relatives in hospital and perhaps even join the fellowship.
Conducting a life celebration, such as a wedding ceremony, is obviously not a sure way to have a couple join with us. However we are planting a spiritual seed which may grow to benefit our church another church down the road.
Revised & reapproved at our annual meeting June 18, 2019.