Mississippi Marriage Covenant
February 12, 2009
Who We Are
The Mississippi Marriage Covenant (MMC) is a joint effort by pastors in central Mississippi to stem the rising tide of divorce in their churches and communities. In 1996, some 200 pastors of various denominations in the Jackson-metro area signed the covenant and chose to aggressively work to strengthen the institution of marriage in their churches.
In early 2003, the MMC Steering Committee began meeting once again to evaluate the effectiveness of the 1996 effort and to launch a renewal of the covenant within central Mississippi. The MMC Steering Committee was chaired by Rob Futral, Pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church, and Neddie Winters, Pastor of The Church of the City. Jarvis Ward, Director of Mission America, served as coordinator of the committee. Several training sessions were offered to pastors to strengthen their ability to prepare couples for marriage and to strengthen existing marriages in their churches.
On February 12, 2009, pastors again came together to renew their commitment or sign the covenant for the first time. This was accompanied by further training, which consisted primarily of presenting resources available for accomplishing the goals of the MMC. The Steering Committee is now chaired by Rev. Gene Henderson, retired pastor of First Baptist Church, Brandon, Mississippi.
What We Believe
We believe God established and sanctified marriage for the welfare and happiness of the human family. As ministers of the Gospel of Christ, it is our responsibility to foster lifelong marriages between one man and one woman under God and to establish successful spiritual families. By establishing and maintaining high standards for those we marry and working to strengthen present marriages, we honor and protect this sacred institution.
What Does the Covenant Involve?
Pastors who sign the statement agree to:
• Encourage singles to commit to remain sexually abstinent and refrain from living together before marriage.
• Require a waiting period for those wishing to get married in the church to allow time for premarital counseling.
• Require the couple to take a premarital inventory designed to identify and help them address potential strengths and weaknesses in their relationship.
• Require the couple to attend marriage preparation sessions addressing biblical roles in marriage, sex, handling finances, dealing with conflict, communication skills, and other areas.
• Offer training to solidly married couples who are willing to mentor engaged couples and newlyweds in their church.
• Offer enrichment programs regularly for married couples.
• Offer a ministry to troubled marriages, and resources to those whose families have been disrupted by divorce, separation, or death.
• Encourage clergy and congregational leaders to take the lead in strengthening their marriages as an example to others.
Please note this is formtted for 8.5" x 14" paper.Viewing it requires reader software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.
You may sign it and send it to: Mississippi Center for Public Policy, 520 George Street, Jackson, MS 39202.
The Mississippi State Extension Service hosts a website with numerous resources, including a calendar of training events, for pastors and others to use to promote strong marriages. Although the Extension Service is not formally associated with the Marriage Covenant (because the Covenant is explicitly Christian), the resources found on their website can be used by pastors to accomplish the goals of the Covenant. Go to www.marriagemississippi.com.