Concord Church in some cases also pays the house rent for the first month
Bryan Carter, a pastor of Concord Church, Dallas, encourages cohabiting singles to get married. The church provides the incentive to do so. According to the senior pastor, Concord will fully sponsor all marriage expenses, starting from the all-important ring to the much-awaited wedding cake. The senior pastor said he wanted to utilize “God’s Word to give us a pathway.”
This initiative is not new for the Concord Church. Couples have been getting married off by the church since 2009. The church typically makes an offer to each cohabiting couple: the church will pay for their wedding if they decide to get married. Concord will pay for the dresses, rings, and tuxedos, and will also include the compulsory premarital counseling. The church, for a few selected couples, will also pay a month’s rent of the house the couple will stay after the wedding. The church on an average spends approximately $8,000 for every wedding. Members also chip in with things other than money: donating decorations, flowers, and food.
The scheme is a considerable success. Approximately 60 couples have taken up the offer. In an interview with Christian media, Carter explained the reasons behind the church sponsoring weddings. He said Concord wants to assist individuals find healing and restoration and allow the Gospel to be lived on how it is approached. He went on to say that as a pastor, his heart prefers family and marriage and according to the senior pastor, one of the potent threats to marriage is the cohabitation issue. The church’s passion is to elevate and value marriage and honor it as an institution. Concord wants couples to comprehend the need for covenant relationships that lead to permanent marriages and subsequent families.
According to Carter, there are multiple reasons as to why couples cohabit. Most of them have their source in finance and the wish to “test” a relationship prior to marriage. The pastor argued that the Bible terms any sexual intimacy outside the bonds of marriage a sin. He urges Christians not to cohabit but get married instead. He continued on to say he believes couples are trying to find a way to get married, and this is where the church comes in. The pastor then warns about the dangers of casual sex, as it is the sole bond for cohabiting couples.