Most church leaders don’t think of Mother’s Day as a time for potentially great church growth—but you should. This is because Mother’s Day Sunday is the third highest day for attendance(because of added unchurched people) in North America, running slightly behind Christmas and Easter. Though most churches know this and work hard to make it a special Sunday, many miss significant church growth opportunities for that day— because of the day’s exclusive focus on mothers. Following are some ideas on how to change that in positive ways.
Don’t ignore Mothers, but expand your vision
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying churches shouldn’t honor mothers on Mother’s Day. They should; it is an important time to praise mothers and to thank God for them. What I’m recommending is that churches not make mothers their exclusive focus, but that they take advantage of the extra church growth opportunities made possible that day because of mothers.
The growth opportunities come from the visitors. It is easy to forget who these visitors are and why they are there. The reason that churches are so full on Mother’s Day is not because it is the only time of year mothers come to church. Most of the mothers at the church are regular attendees. The reason so many people come to church on Mother’s Day is the unchurched people in the lives of many mothers (spouses and children) rarely, if ever, come to church, but they will come on this day to make mom happy.
This is a great evangelism and church growth opportunity for your church!
Following are some ideas on how to make the most of it:
· Assemble a prayer team to pray, or add to your prayer list, requests specifically for the unsaved, unchurched, and straying family members who will come to church with mom on this Sunday. Pray for sensitivity to their needs. Create attractive invitations for your members to give family members.
· On Mother’s Day as a church leader or pastor, acknowledge the visitors who come on Mother’s Day to please an earthly parent and affirm it was a commendable thing to do. Follow that commendation with a lesson/sermon about how they have a heavenly parent who is longing for them come home in faith even more than their mom wanted them to come to church.
· In your sermon, say for the mother what she would want to say to her child. Be honest that an eternity without Jesus means eternal separation from those we love. Acknowledge this is not easy to say and it is not at all comfortable to talk about on this happy day, but to not say things that can make an eternal difference is not expressing love. Love is honest about the consequences of a life lived apart from God.
Do more than preach—additional actions and events can provide great impact and encourage visitors to return
· Be sure to use connection cards so that you have follow-up information to invite visiting family members back to church next week. At the end of this article are links to some cards that can help you, plus bulletin inserts with the theme of “Want to make Mom really happy? Come back to church next Sunday!”
· Schedule a very upbeat, outreach-oriented Ministry Fair for that day so visitors can experience and explore what your church does on a regular basis. For example, many single adults (the unchurched adult children who come to church only on Mother’s Day) often don’t have any idea that many churches have fantastic single adult ministry programs. A table with literature, food, and fun people might be just the thing to get them to attend on a regular basis.
·For the unchurched husbands to see the men of your church around a literature table that talks about upcoming construction projects, work days, golf outings or sports events and that is staffed by men who reach out, welcome and engage visiting spouses in conversation is an incredible gift to give to the mom who comes every Sunday on her own.
· Challenge visiting adult children and spouses to make this Mother’s Day the most memorable one ever for their mom by giving her the gift of faith in Jesus—the one Mother’s Day gift that will give her joy forever.
In addition, in your bulletin have a link to information on your website for those who would like to explore the Christian faith in more detail and have the contact name, number and email of people for unchurched and children of people they can contact confidentially if they have questions or would like to discuss your church, the Christian faith, or what a relationship with Jesus is all about.
So much better than a rose
It may be nice to give the Mother’s in your church a rose or other toke gift of appreciation, but for you to pray for and actively pursue the Mother’s family members who don’t know Jesus and to invite them back to church and the Christian faith is far more meaningful. Many of the unchurched family members will come back if you plan, pray for, inform them intelligently and gracefully about the faith, and connect with them for invitations to come back.
Doing those things is much more work than handing out roses, but instead of flowers that fade, you’ll not only make the Mothers happy, but you will grow your church.
For links to a short video that discusses the outreach opportunities around Mother’s Day, a FREE ebook about this and additional links to connection cards, bulletin inserts, recipe cards, invitations and other publications related to Mother’s Day, click on this link: http://www.effectivechurchcom.com/2012/04/mothers-day-resource-list/