Thursday, May 8, 2014

Navigating the Mother's Day Church

I pastored average sized, single staff (with one exception) churches for all these years and Mother's Day was an event Sunday in each of my pastorates.

Frankly, there was a time when I dreaded it in spite of the fact that it was a big attendance Sunday with families together, folks from out of town coming back to attend church with dear old Mom, and folks from in town making it a "shock yo' momma' Sunday by actually showing up at church.

It's a deadly minefield, brethren.

If your church does the oldest, youngest, largest litter of kids, youngest crumb-grabber routine with the recognitions, good luck with that. There are so many ways you can get in trouble on this. After a few years, I exercised some raw and awesome pastoral authority and banished that stuff by Holy Man-of-God fiat. We call that leadership these days. And I lived to tell about it.

Try something different. Recognize everyone but don't make them all stand up and look embarrassed and not know when to sit back down because you are unclear about what they are to do and how long to do it other than be the object of dozens of eyeball pairs.

My brilliant solution was to have kids give every woman, unmarried or married, mother or not, a flower when they walked into the sanctuary before worship and call it quits after that. Yeah, I know it's MOTHER'S day, but allow me some pastoral privilege here.

I received recently a comment on a two-year old post about Mother's Day from a lady who said she would just as soon stay in bed on that day rather than attend church and be reminded of her infertility. While I can never feel that pain, I recognize it exists and have heard about it countless times. I feel that such deserves some consideration.

Work with me here brethren and listen closely: It is acceptable NOT to preach one of those mundane 'special' Mother's Day sermons with all the tired illustrations and syrupy, emotional language.

I loved my mother. I will miss her on this the fourth Mother's Day she is gone. But, no weepy sentiment for me. There's lots of God's truth to preach and teach. I challenge you to take your Mother's Day sermon file and delete it or throw the paper copies away. OK, you're lazy if you don't.

Good luck.


Joe Carr said...

Agreed and well said. I will continue preaching through Romans :-)

Lee said...

Amen. Mother's Day is a tough Sunday for both my wife and I. Our mothers are no longer with us, a pain that we have learned to live with, but will never get over. My wife isn't a mother, and that adds to the pain. Yeah, we are mature enough to "get over it," but walking into a church full of kids who aren't normally there, and a ten minute recognition of the oldest, youngest, most children, most children there, three generation, endless recognition that has nothing to do with worship is an added pain we can do without. Our current church has been very low key about mother's day, but over the years its become our Sunday out. We worship together at home, go out for breakfast to miss the packed restaurants at lunch, and enjoy the day.