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Family Life and Covenant Marriage

Family Life and Covenant Marriage
William Cooper & Dennis Rainey
FamilyLife Ministries is a ministry to and for the family, bringing God's truths and plans for marriage to millions of people in publications, resources, seminars, and radio broadcasts. Dennis Rainey, President and Co-Founder of FamilyLife, is committed to his ministry and to his position as a Christian leader today, taking the roles of ministry leader, husband, father, and grandfather very seriously. With over 1.5 million attendees at seminars, and with resources being put into the hands of millions of readers, Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Ministries, and their passion for family are making a difference in North America today.

FamilyLife Ministries was created from Campus Crusade for Christ's desire to equip their staff and volunteers with the tools to make marriage a strong and committed union. Initially founded to be an in-house ministry, the desires of the staff to continue with training, and the requests of other pastors and ministry couples led FamilyLife to offer its valuable resources and expertise to the public. Now, FamilyLife Conferences and multi-day events are held in almost every major city in the United States, annually.

In a recent interview with ChristiaNet.com's president and CEO, Bill Cooper, Rainey shared his take on the Christian Church today, his passion for marriage, and his challenges as a Christian leader. Rainey's strong Biblical position for family values and his bold stance for seeing the church take offensive, yet positive action against today's culture of relative beliefs, is an inspiration to the Christian community today.

Rainey shared his take on the current conditions and convictions of the North American church. "The North American Church is in need of bolstering its conviction based upon the scriptures and taking courageous actions; Spirit led actions", he told ChristiaNet. "There are more fires burning today, seemingly out of control, than every before in our nation, in terms of issues that desperately need couples, laymen and women, teenagers, and boys and girls to take a stand for Christ."

And, Rainey furthered his stance by telling ChristiaNet that the cultural issues of our nation have made their way inside not only the church, but are inside our church leadership as well. "I believe the spiritual condition of our nation is certainly in the pulpit, but it is most certainly as well in the pew." Rainey believes that a positive approach to addressing cultural issues is key to making a difference in our society. "We've got to empower laymen to make a difference where they live and begin to push back against the culture and stand for righteousness. By doing so they're not merely being "against things", "but for things.'"

When ChristiaNet asked him about getting the church to move in the direction of righteousness, Rainey shared his insight and experience with working within the Christian community. "I personally believe materialism today is sapping the strength from the Christian community in ways we don't even realize. There's more Christian wealth today than there has ever been in the history of the church, and yet there are evil things that seem to be compounding daily in growth."

Rainey also explained to ChristiaNet that pastors have their worked cut out for them in addressing cultural issues, and pastors are also at risk for joining the relativity of our culture. "One of the Achilles heels of the local church is that we've accepted divorce as an alternative. One of the reasons for this is that many pastors feel they cannot preach on marriage or family, either because their own marriage and family is in such dire need of revival or because they're afraid they're going to offend the people in their churches and lose their jobs."

A positive approach to being "for" Biblical principles is Rainey's battle cry. In reference to a marriage seminar, he said, "This event is "for" marriage, so we're making a statement here as followers of Christ that we want to see our nation come back to support the most important promise and vow that two people make to one another." And, Rainy is making his cry heard throughout the country by supporting the Marriage Covenant Act, which in 2001 established a covenant marriage license as being a legal alternative to a regular marriage license in the state of Arkansas.

Rainey explained to ChristiaNet that it was going to take the church "owning" the Marriage Covenant Act to see thousands of couples embrace it. "One of the great things is that this event has already been a success, because there are a number of churches that have agreed that they are not going to marry couples unless they sign up for Covenant Marriage." The marriage covenant act calls for premarital counseling and a cooling off period for couples considering divorce.

Passionate about marriage and the condition of the church, Rainey is holding himself to high standards of being a good example in leadership, in marriage, and in accountability. He shared his heart for sharing with others: God's character, Who God really is, and the Savior He sent to die on our behalf. Rainey believes that a ministry leader should lead from Scripture with integrity and service. Rainey holds himself to this standard with accountability. He explained, "It's very easy to start to think you're untouchable. I think it's through a vigilant pursuit of seeking to be accountable to other people and making sure you do not get too big for someone to disagree with you."

With so much zeal for the union of marriage, Rainey is certainly leading the way for Christians to follow with his own committed marriage to his life's partner, Barbara. "My wife and I have ended every night in prayer for 32 years." He told ChristiaNet. "I hope that my number one accomplishment will be that I loved my Savior all the way to the very end, that I loved my wife to the finish line, and that I fulfilled my responsibilities as a father and as a grandfather to the best of what He has enabled me to do."


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