10 YEARS!

Dear Friends,

10 years ago this month, Judy and I started the Wedding Ministry. I reflect on this with joy. Here is just a sketch 600 weddings later.

Beginnings
Early 2009, I approached Simon with a ‘new’ idea. Simon has done wonderful work with weddings, so doing weddings was hardly new. But my idea was a bit left field. I would do ‘only’ weddings, and only for ‘non church’ people. The goal? Gain precious opportunities with hundreds of couples, to tell them about Jesus.

Launch
We started with no weddings booked. Getting couples to even contact us was a challenge. How do they find us? Once they do, how do I convince them to do all I ask – 11 nights does sound a lot.

I spent a lot of time preparing a ‘package’ that would ‘appeal’. Creating an ‘impressive’ website, copious documents, extensive database, etc took time. It was like developing and implementing a comprehensive ‘business plan’. That said… Jesus is the most wonderful and world changing ‘product’.

1st Contact
Most ‘found’ us on the web. I have conducted about 700 70 minute interviews. I developed a way to explain the gospel using their vows. I don’t want to be a ‘salesman’ (if you get my gist) but hearing what we offer, couples see what we propose as an incredible ‘deal’ they would be crazy to ignore. Though the fee is $2500, many couples have said they cannot believe how much they have got for their money. We offer the most generous ‘service’ – none ever think we are doing it ‘for the money’. Did you know the last 7-8 years their fees have paid me and all other expenses? Consider this – our ministry is a Missionary endeavour where the people we evangelise pay us to do it!

Home
Most couples spent 11 nights in our home, doing a Marriage Course, and Christianity Course. Yes, they agreed! Their feedback is consistently positive.  That Judy serves lovely suppers, plays a big part! Our couples find it special to be in our home. They are grateful and respectful to us. God is good, and we are frequently ‘humbled”. What we get to do is simply amazing!

Wedding
Weddings can be a nightmare! So…we go ‘above and beyond’ in helping, giving time and showing interest for each couple –a challenge at times 🙂  Adapting the prayer book, the whole ceremony become a gospel presentation. This means couples invite all their friends so in 10 years about 60,000 guests have heard about Jesus!

Fruit
Each time I report in church I share stories of couples who are saved or are now serious seekers wanting to know more. The seed is sown to 100’s, and our confidence in the Lord is it is not sown vain. He is the one who gives life. Praise Him!

This week
Each week varies but some things this week were – 12 couples did Marriage Class 3 on conflict in relationships. 7 couples heard about Grace in the Jesus Course. Now they know how God saves, and their false hopes and pride are in tatters – praise the Lord. Also, this week had one Rehearsal and Wedding, 3 interviews, a Baptism, a separate Baptism visit, I met with 2 separate guys, and brought a chap to the men’s breakfast. Oh and I do all my admin which frankly is a lot – but I’m good at it 🙂

Next?
At present we are where the Lord wants us. Thank you to all for your prayer and support. Thanks to Simon a great leader and mentor, and the wardens for their support and trust. But above all praise the Lord – he is glorious.

Richard James
Wedding Evangelist