Salt & Light: A Guide to Loving Northwest Indiana

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in general. Fortifying the families within the walls of a church (without slighting single parents)20 can be a great way to model and help families in the community. Churches can partner with counseling centers to provide volunteers, facilitate counseling ministries, and support counselors who help church families. Couples who have continued faithfully in their marriages could become “marriage mentors� to assist younger couples in making wise choices.

Marriage in Lake Co. Males over 25 } 31,390 never married } 86,404 married } 6,869 with spouse absent } 18,613 divorced } 6,038 widowed Females over 25 } 30,282 never married } 84,360 married } 7,949 with spouse absent } 24,847 divorced } 22,986 widowed [US Census Bureau, Sex by Marital Status by Age for the Population 15 Years and Older (2005-2009 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate).]

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2. Strengthen Families in the Community Churches can assist ministries and UVUWYVÄ[ VYNHUPaH[PVUZ [OH[ OLSW support and defend strong families by getting involved in the events that a WHY[PJ\SHY VYNHUPaH[PVU PZ [HRPUN WHY[ in.21 Churches can also serve as a catalyst for networking among various VYNHUPaH[PVUZ ZLLRPUN [V HZZPZ[ MHTPSPLZ in their development. Often, a family has needs in multiple areas, requiring [OL OLSW VM H ]HYPL[` VM VYNHUPaH[PVUZ 3. Minister to Families in Crisis Churches can provide services to at-risk members of their congregation and community. For families seeking ÄUHUJPHS HZZPZ[HUJL JO\YJOLZ JHU help meet physical and material needs as they lead families back to self-sufÄJPLUJ` *O\YJOLZ JHU HSZV ILJVTL a resource by coming alongside other VYNHUPaH[PVUZ TPUPZ[LYPUN [V MHTPSPLZ and by helping with existing efforts to build strong families.22 4. Nurture the Next Generation Of Families Churches can play a major role in the education and development of Lake County’s children and youth. Imagine churches serving alongside one another to help break the cycle of generational poverty or abuse by fostering healthy family initiatives and

reaching out to children in need. Studies suggest that young people who are engaged in church activities are more apt to develop strong marriages.23 5. Advocate Family-Friendly Policies in the Workplace And Public Arena Churches can encourage business owners and employers to strengthen families by promoting family-friendly WVSPJPLZ HUK WH`PUN H Z\MĂ„JPLU[ SP]PUN wage.24 Parents who earn low wages tend to work more than one job, which creates tension on families.25 Business owners and employers who are concerned about their people, HUK UV[ Q\Z[ [OLPY WYVĂ„[Z JHU KV T\JO good in our communities. 6. Shape a Family-Affirming Culture “Churches should encourage their members to support family-strengthening attitudes in culture-shaping institutions (media, entertainment, advertisements, etc.).â€?26 Churches should reject cultural products like music, movies, and television shows “that undermine families by condoning extramarital sexuality, domestic violence, or divorce.â€?27

Family is a Gift from God Everything about a healthy marriage is designed to point us to God and to YLĂ…LJ[ [OL YLSH[PVUZOPW ^L ^LYL TLHU[ to have with him.28 This is why divorce