As Mother’s Day approaches, every pastor’s in-box will be visited by clips and links to fun and sentimental videos about moms. These may be just the right thing to add spice to your Mother’s Day service, but the rest of your service should not be built around moms.
You read it right. Mother’s Day should be about men.
1. On a normal Sunday in a normal church, over 60% of the congregation is women. Many unchurched men believe that church is mostly for women. They think church is about talking and singing and caring for children. They think pastors are effeminate. Churches tend to be warm and relational, which appeals to women more than men.
2. One of the easiest days to get men to attend church is Mother’s Day. They come, not for themselves, but as a favor to their wives and moms.
On Mother’s Day, seldom-seen husbands, fathers and sons show up believing that church is for women, and we reinforce their stereotype by decorating the stage with flowers and frilly stuff, and preaching on the virtues of motherhood. These men leave further convinced that church isn’t for them.
Last Mother’s Day, New Song reversed that trend. Instead of preaching on mothering, I preached on the family. And I let the congregation know ahead of time that the message wouldn’t be centered on moms, but would be relevant to dads, granddads, and sons.
Sixteen people made decisions for Christ. Fourteen of them were men.
Yes, we said “Happy Mother’s Day” to everyone. Yes, we showed a wonderful video tribute to moms. Yes, we did child dedications. But we didn’t hand out flowers, and the music wasn’t skewed to the sentimental, and the message included illustrations and applications for men, not just women. At the end, when I gave an invitation to receive Christ, men responded. And they returned the following week.
Mother’s Day may be the most strategic day of the year to reach men. Here are four way to make that happen:
Four Must-Do’s for Mother’s Day
1. Skew the message towards men.
Men want to relate to a manly man. And women like it when men act like men. Male pastors ought to use male illustrations. Sometimes about sports. Often about business. If you hunt, fish, or camp, those provide excellent glimpses into the masculine world as well.
During my message, I outlined the purpose of the family. Men can relate to purpose. They want to know the purpose of their lives. We’re goal-oriented. What’s the purpose of a family? Men like to think about things like that.
During the message I gave six biblical purposes for the family:
1. To build character.
2. To bring stability.
3. To shape identity.
4. To provide mutual care.
5. To create good memories.
6. To prepare for eternity.
All of these require strong male leadership. I’ll need to find a different topic for this Mother’s Day, but you can use this outline, if you’d like.
2. Give an invitation.
Years ago my goal on high-visitor days was to deliver such a compelling message that guests couldn’t help but return the next weekend. That rarely happens without the nudging of the Holy Spirit. So now, on every high-visitor day, I invite people into relationship with Christ. The chances of a new believer returning are far higher than the chances of an intrigued onlooker making his way back the next Sunday.
In 1871, Dwight L. Moody was conducting a series of evangelistic meetings in downtown Chicago. He closed his Sunday message by encouraging everyone to return the following evening to hear the gospel. The Chicago fire broke out that night. No one returned the next day. Moody determined that he would never again pass up an opportunity to lead people to Christ.
For pastors, Easter, Christmas, and Mother’s Day are high-opportunity days. Without the wooing of the Holy Spirit, the chances of your least-committed audience members returning are slim-to-none. Invite them to Christ before they leave your building!
3. Don’t use the word “feelings.”
Language matters. In masculine settings, you hear words like, “vital,” “excellent,” and “incredible.” In feminine settings you hear words like “feelings,” “encouraging,” and “adorable.” Without realizing it, pastors play into the feminine side when they give “a recipe for a great marriage,” instead of “factors,” “components” or a “formula for a great marriage.”
Ask a fireman, hunter, carpenter, or mechanic what he thinks of a guy who talks about “hurt feelings,” “encouraging friends,” or “adorable babies,” and you’ll find that he’s not inclined to hang out with someone like that. Pepper your speech with masculine verbs and adjectives.
4. Let women know they should invite men.
A significant number of the women in your church wish they had a man sitting beside them. Many of them have one who came once and felt out-of-place. This year, let your female members know that their men will not feel out-of-place on Mother’s Day. Then prove it to them by delivering a service with robust, high-energy music, and a message with illustrations and applications for men. At the end, invite men to become great fathers, brothers and husbands by becoming great followers of Christ. (Men love to follow a great leader.)
One more thing: don’t call out the men. For a long time, churches have blessed women for being great mothers and guilted men for being poor fathers. The last thing a guy wants is to be told why he’s a loser, failure, or under-performer. In Ephesians 5, Paul tells men to love their wives, and women to respect their husbands. Respect is one of a man’s highest needs. This Mother’s Day, make him feel respected, give him tools and encouragement, and invite him to fulfill his calling as a man by becoming a Christ-follower. It just might be your best Mother’s Day ever!
Hal Seed is the founding and Lead Pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, California. New Song is launching a new campus every year and has seen over 17,000 people come to Christ. Hal mentors pastors to grow bigger, better churches. He offers resources to help church leaders at www.pastormentor.com.
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