Honoring Moms and Dads
In the States, Mother’s Day was just observed, and Father’s Day is coming up in June. What do you and your church do to bring special focus to moms and dads on these holidays? How much emphasis do you place on them in your messages, and are there any specific things your church does (or has done) that has been particularly notable?
We have done many things over the years to honor moms and dads, from videos to live skits and songs. We have also had flowers given to all the moms or bacon given to the dads. Some years we have done special sermons; and other years, we have woven jokes or thoughts and quotes about moms and dads into the sermon. Overall, we have found that any way we have honored them has been appreciated and well received.
Honor is a biblical principle that is completely the opposite of the culture we are surrounded by. Honor opens doors to the miraculous, so honoring moms and dads is a great opportunity for the church family to see what honor looks like, and to open some doors for miracles in their lives.
First, God’s Word always comes first! I don’t just want to preach a sermon about moms or dads, filled with funny stories, touching moments, and a verse here and there. I want to provide people the opportunity to experience the epic event of God’s Word being proclaimed. For example, right now we are going through the book of Romans on Sundays. I didn’t stop the Romans series for Mother’s Day; instead we just happened to land on Romans 5:5-11 on Mother’s Day, and it was a great reminder of the love of God that has been poured out into our hearts.
Second, I encourage you to seize the moment and minister to your moms! Add some elements in your service that acknowledge the great task that they are doing… they are heroes. For example, this year we made a special video that included some of our moms and their kids—it was so heart touching. We were giving out treats as people came into the church, and had a photo booth set up afterwards and took professional pictures of the families. Often in the message, I will hand out a giant bouquet of flowers to 3 different moms throughout the service, thanking and honoring them for something very specific. This year I was able to minister with my mom and daughter… they can speak to being a mom so much better than I ever could. For Father’s Day, we hold an annual car show. The parking lot is packed with cars and food trucks; it’s a great day for the family.
Third, prophesy to your moms and dads. When they show up for these special services, ask the Lord to give you a word that will speak right to their hearts. Somewhere in the service, deliver that word right from the heart of God to them.
I don’t do special messages for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. We give a few moms and a few dads an opportunity to win some prizes. We will give them a ticket with a number on it. Then we will draw a few of them and invite them up to do some sort of contest, then we give them a prize. For moms, it could be a spa gift certificate; for dads, it could be a visa gift card. So we acknowledge the day and after that it’s church as usual.
I almost always preach about mothers on Mother’s Day and fathers on Father’s Day. We give a gift to all fathers and mothers on those days.
We like to celebrate both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in our church.
For Mother’s Day, my wife, Esther, always preaches. She does an amazing job and usually speaks a message with a family theme. We have all the moms stand and give them a hearty round of applause for all they do. We also give treats to all of the moms. This year we gave them gift-wrapped chocolate truffles. We always hold a mother/daughter luncheon on a Saturday afternoon a week or two before Mother’s Day.
For whatever reason, Mother’s Day is usually a bigger deal than Father’s Day. We usually have more visitors on Mother’s Day than Father’s Day. On Father’s Day, we have all the dads stand and give them a hearty round of applause. We usually give all the dads a king size Snickers bar or something like that (I guess candy always works in our church!). I always tell the men how much the Body of Christ needs godly men. Our children need to see examples of strong, Christ-like men of integrity. I remind them that the greatest gift we men can give to our children is to love their mother with all of our hearts. We also pray for any families who lost a mother or father during the past year. That first Mother’s Day or Father’s Day can be very difficult for a family when they have experienced a loss.
We have and continue to recognize mothers on Mother’s Day and fathers on Father’s Day. We have them stand and applaud their work, we pray for them, and sometimes we have a small gift for them (this year on Mother’s Day we had a carnation for each of the mothers). I usually try to include into some part of my message the biblical responsibilities of fathers and mothers in bringing up their children. This year, I also talked on the difficulty of the day, parents who may have lost one of their children, those who may have lost their mother or father, as well as some of the challenges and pains for those parents estranged from their children.
Over the years we’ve found creative ways to acknowledge and observe these special holidays. Many of the messages on these holidays have been focused on topics that addressed issues specifically related to marriages and families. We see Mother’s Day and Father’s Day services as opportunities to recognize the importance of these significant relationships.
This year we’ve been focused on the biblical principle of honor taken from Ephesians 6:2-3, which was also the theme of the marriage seminar we held this spring just prior to Mother’s Day.
“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” [NKJV].
Even though most Christians are familiar with the Ten Commandments, I’ve found that many Christians are completely unaware of the actual “promise” that’s associated with this “First Commandment with Promise.” Taking the time to emphasize and teach on these subjects helps parents and families tap into the biblical benefits of our covenant with God.
Between the recent marriage seminar messages, and the sermon on Mother’s Day, people learned how important it is to honor those who have had such an impact on their lives. Besides our natural parents, we also included what might be called the “influence” of our “spiritual” parents. How do we acknowledge and demonstrate “honor” to our “mothers and fathers” in the faith!?! Sadly, this is a topic that has been overlooked by many believers.
From a practical standpoint, celebrating these holidays can sometimes be as simple as having some roses for every mom attending the Mother’s Day service, or perhaps a special luncheon the day before for the women in the church and community. We’ve given out unique gifts as well during these special Sunday services, and look for different ideas every year. For example, on one Father’s Day, we gave every dad a Combination Utility Knife, which was imprinted with the church logo.
This fall, our children’s church is also planning to celebrate Grandparent’s Day, which is in September every year. We see this hallmark holiday as another teachable moment of the biblical truth revealed in Ephesians 6:2-3, and an opportunity to expose the kids to this important “promise.”
Once you’ve settled on a theme for any of these special holidays and determined the budget, just ask a few key people in the church to come up with suggestions, and you’ll be amazed at the creative ideas they’ll have!
In our present culture of “busy, blended, or broken” families, it’s important that the Church present what a “blessed” family or marriage can look like, and what they can experience when they Honor one another.
On both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we devote the whole service to thanking the Lord for our parents and honoring them. We set up an area where families can take pictures. We give the mothers flowers and a gift. We give the fathers a giant Payday candy bar and a gift.
We are very sensitive to the men and women who have lost parents and/ or children. We trust the Holy Spirit to make the service a time of thankfulness and a time of healing.
In my close to 30 years of pastoring, we have done quite a few different things to honor our moms and dads. In the early years of pastoring we probably did more on Mother’s Day to honor our moms then we did on Father’s Day to honor the dads. I would usually preach a message specific to dads and pray specifically for all the dads, but it hasn’t been until the last five years ‘plus’ that we have specifically done something to honor dads.
Let me start with Mother’s Day. For the past four years, we have had a tea before our morning service. The men’s group of the church puts this on. We serve different breakfast dainties, tea, coffee, and juice. Then each woman, they don’t have to be a mother, gets to pick out a flowering plant. This event has grown the past couple of years as more and more men have become involved in both the preparing and serving, as well as donating towards the food and plants. This year we gave away over 100 plants to the women of the church. This event has gained quite a bit of momentum the last two years, and it seems to be something that the church people look forward to. During the service I take time to pray for all the moms, taking into consideration that there are some who have lost children, or don’t have children. I also realize that this can be a lonely time for many who have lost a mom, and so we take all these life events into consideration in ministering to the ladies. Over the years, either I or my wife has preached a specific message for the moms and women of the church.
For Father’s Day, at the church I currently pastor, we have done different events ranging from a Father’s Day BBQ to giveaways from local sports stores and/or hardware home improvement stores. These giveaways seemed to be a big hit and it was a way to attract men to church on Father’s Day. The last couple of years the women of the church have sponsored a “Dads & Donuts” event before our morning service (for some reason the men don’t really care about tea and dainties). This is entirely put on by the women’s group, and there is a small gift for each of the men of the church. I have preached a message specific for the men of the church over the years on Father’s Day, but I haven’t done that the last few years.
At the last church I pastored in Canada, we did a Mother’s Day brunch. We pushed our morning service back thirty minutes and the men of the church cooked and served the food. This was a farming community and I think it surprised many women of the church that so many men knew how to cook and could do such a great job.
I think it is valuable and important to honor moms and dads in some way on these specific days. With the attack in our society on womanhood and manhood, it is important that we show value to our women and men, and that we appreciate them for who they are and who God has created them to be.
We recognize mothers and fathers on their special day the following ways:
Pastor Sheila shares a message on Mother’s Day and Pastor Barry on Father’s Day. We have the mothers and fathers stand on their special day and we pray for them. The pastoral staff prays for the mothers, step-mothers, expectant mothers and the same for the fathers. We have the mothers and fathers line up and they come to the front of the sanctuary where they are hugged and recognized by the staff. We have a gift for the mothers and fathers—a specially made cupcake or cookie for the mothers and a very large Hershey’s chocolate bar for the men. We give the mothers raffle tickets, one in the first service and two in the second service. A drawing is made and we usually give the mothers a $50.00 gift card for a manicure and pedicure. We give the fathers raffle tickets, one in the first service and two in the second service. A drawing is made and we usually give the fathers a $50.00 gift card to Home Depot.
Honoring Mums and Dads: we certainly do. In Great Britain (GB), it is referred to as “Mothering Sunday.” It originated when mothers were employed in large houses as housekeepers and staff, and they didn’t have a Sunday ‘off.’ So Mothering Sunday was instituted so that mothers could go to church with their family once a year and have a family day.
In GB, Mothering Sunday is a festival that is religious in origin. It’s a Christian day and falls every year on the fourth day of Lent (the Christian fasting that occurs in traditional churches that leads up to Easter). That’s a little of the history side here in England (I’m often corrected by a church member if I refer to it as Mother’s Day). However, it has now taken on, I believe, the American style of appreciation of both mothers and fathers.
On these occasions, in our ministry, mothers and fathers on their respective appreciation days are asked to stand. We acknowledge them, pray for them, and always give gifts that are distributed by the children in the church (we also pass out gifts to prospective Mums and Dads (couples) that may not have children yet but desire to do so). It’s always a joy to see the excitement when these traditions are honored.
On Mother’s and Father’s Day, I always try and focus my message on the subject of them—how they are very important in our lives and that we should respect and love them.
Also, we have a special song from our music ministry and show a video pertaining to them and often have a poem or saying read. Many times certain ones in the church take it upon themselves to hand out roses to the moms as they come into the church.
I always have each one stand and be recognized on their special day, and then I have my ushers hand each one a special gift card from our Eternal Perks Coffee Bar for a drink of their choice. We try and make it a very special Day for all of our moms and dads.
Regarding Mother’s and Father’s Day, regardless of whatever we do, every year we give flowers to the ladies and Slim Jims to the men.