Legally can a Youth Minister Marry a Couple?
Can a Youth Minister Marry a Couple? Many youth pastors wonder if they are qualified to conduct marriage ceremonies in the churches in which they serve. This is because of the request from many couples who want to get married. If a youth pastor wants to know if they can conduct a wedding ceremony, then they need to consider certain requirements and see if they qualify. Different youth pastors are in different seasons in their lives and not all are married, and therefore there is no standard answer for the question: Can a youth pastor marry a couple?
In this article, we will look at what a youth pastor needs to know to determine if they can marry a couple.
1. Authority from the church leadership. A youth pastor cannot conduct marriage ceremonies without the authority of the church leadership. The church has certain requirements for those who it authorizes to marry couples, and this varies between different churches. You will find that a church will decide beforehand who can conduct wedding ceremonies and who can’t. This is something that a youth pastor can find out from their church.
God put authority in the church to make decisions that are in the best interests of their members. Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” If the church leadership authorizes a youth pastor to marry a couple, then he or she can because they have permission.
If the church leadership does not allow a youth pastor to marry couples, then he or she cannot do so and will focus on serving in the youth ministry.
2. Spiritual Maturity. Many youth pastors are new to the faith and serving God and are growing in their faith. They have a level of maturity but have not yet reached the point of conducting marriage ceremonies. Performing marriage ceremonies comes with risks, especially where you don’t know the background of the man and woman who want to be joined in holy matrimony. If a youth pastor marries a couple without knowing the due diligence they need to perform, they can find themselves entangled in a legal issue.
Spiritual maturity is necessary so that the pastor can know how to counsel the couple who wants to get married, and give them sound biblical advice. “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). Certain responsibilities in the church like marriage ceremonies should be conducted by those who are spiritually mature and know the risks involved and how to mitigate them.
It is important for a pastor to hear God’s voice so that they can know whether to marry a couple or not. This comes with spiritual maturity and spending a lot of time in the Word of God.
3. Marital Status. A single youth pastor has no experience in marriage and may not be able to give sound advice to a couple seeking to be married. Their focus is mostly on the youth and how to help young people grow in their faith. If a youth pastor is a mature man or woman who is married and has the authority of the church, then they can perform wedding ceremonies.
Most couples who want to get married are also looking for biblical guidance on how to make it in marriage and the best advice that a single youth pastor can give is what he or she knows from the bible. Youth pastors are charged with youth affairs in the church and rarely handle matters of the adult church.
4. License to conduct marriage ceremonies. A youth pastor without a license to marry a couple should not attempt to do so to avoid any legal issues and putting their church in trouble. Hosea 4:6 says that we perish because of a lack of knowledge. A pastor gets a license to marry couples after they have gone through training to understand what is required of them. There is a legal process to a marriage ceremony and the pastor needs to know what it is so that he or she follows the correct protocol.
The youth pastor can get the relevant information from the church leadership on how to meet the requirements to marry a couple.
5. The Call from God to Marry Couples. It’s also important for a youth pastor to establish whether God is calling them to perform marriage ceremonies. As believers we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we serve in church to make sure we are headed in the right direction. John 2:20 says,“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” This means that a youth pastor will have an inner knowing on whether God wants them to perform marriage ceremonies or not.
It is always wise to establish what God has called you to do in the church even as a pastor. He will make a way for you to do anything He calls you to do. If a youth pastor does not feel the leading of the Holy Spirit to marry couples, then they should not do it. As youth pastors grow and mature and are ready for more responsibilities in the church, then they may find themselves conducting marriage ceremonies one day.
- Need to Have Permission from His Church Leadership
- Need to Have Proper Government Licenses
- Different Countries have different legal requirements. – You want the couple to be Legally wed after Ceremony
- Many Ministers require Pre- Marital Counseling before becoming Wed
- Wisdom in Counseling is wise to be able to steer un-experienced couple in this very important Direction in Life
Getting requests from couples to marry them is not enough reason for a youth pastor to do it. Couples always want their favorite pastor to marry them, but if the pastor does not have the authority to do so, they will have to select another pastor. There is no need for a pastor to rush into the activity of marrying couples before they are ready. They should wait on God for when He opens the door for them to do so. At the appointed time, everything will fall into place.