Living Word Church Senior Pastor Larry Cockerham described Marriage Works as new to Cleveland, but modeled on a nonprofit organization that has proven highly successful in Chattanooga. The initiative is composed of mentoring and counseling for couples who simply want to grow their marriages or for those in distress and need help preserving their marital union.
“Our goal is to share this with ministers and leaders in the community. We want to make ourselves available to train mentors in different churches to help couples strengthen their marriages and maybe rescue some marriages that would end in divorce if someone didn’t help them,” Cockerham said. “Pastors are working hard to save marriages and families, but pastors can’t do it all. We need other people in the community who can help.”
Cleveland Net and the Cleveland Bradley Ministerial Association sponsor Marriage Works.
The focus of the evening was guest speaker Dr. David Banks of Chattanooga, who said leaders should be celebrated for standing in the forefront in unity, and as role models for marriage.
“I’m so encouraged to see leaders coming together, to see pastors coming together. As the mayor (Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland) said, ‘Sadly, we have so many things dividing us.’”
Banks referred to the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible that tells of God looking for a man to stand in the gap for Jerusalem so it would not be destroyed, “but unfortunately at the end of that verse God could not find any. I want to honor you first for stepping into your roles as leaders. I think that’s the reason we see some of the things in our world is because of the lack of leaders.”
His second cause for celebrating leaders was their positive influence on the city that comes from unity. He cited Proverbs Chapter 11, Verse 10, which says the city rejoices when it goes well with the righteous.
“When you come together as leaders and when you decide things, it’s going to benefit the whole city,” he said. “I want to celebrate you for really taking that stand to work together to not only affect your congregation or the people you are serving.”
Third, he celebrated the dinner guests for showing a model for marriage between a man and a woman.
“As you know, marriage has been challenged. Sadly, we see culture trying to define marriage (by) the way they feel. I think it’s so important that as leaders, we need to show as a model that marriage is still defined between a man and a woman.”
Banks said as culture continues to base things on feelings, it is important for good leaders to stand for a man and a woman becoming one in marriage.
“That’s not to say we have everything going the way we want it to go, but this is how marriage needs to be conducted,” he said. “The family is the bedrock of everything. When the home is healthy, it develops a healthy community. When the community is healthy, it affects the city and when all of these things come together, it all starts with the home.”
For more information on Marriage Works, call 380-8881, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.marriageworkscleveland.com on the Internet.