I saw a post on Facebook that reminded me of a very practical church growth principle. The image said, ’The best gift you can give your mother for Mother’s Day is to sit with her in church.” Behind only Christmas and Easter, Mother’s Day brings the third highest attendance each year. People who haven’t been to church for a couple months or even years may be looking for a place to visit with their families this weekend. You can take advantage of this special opportunity and invite your local community to celebrate with you.
Each year at the church I served we would advertise all special Mother’s Day events and encourage our congregation to get involved in spreading the word through social media. We would also send an e-blast to our contacts who haven’t attended recently and encourage everyone to bring their families. Here are some of the things your church can do to maximize your Mother’s Day attendance and the experience of those who attend.
*Give all women a special gift. Do the women in your church really want a carnation? One year our church provided each woman with their choice of a copy of the book “Extravagant Grace” or “Understanding Your Man in The Mirror”. Each of these soft cover books cost only one dollar each at the time. An even better option would be to have a drawing and a few women who entered could win some nice prizes and one, “Mom of the Day” would receive a basket full of good stuff.
* Offer free family portraits. Provide an attractive backdrop and lighting in a space near or adjacent to the worship center. We promote this and allow families to make plans and dress appropriately. We then encourage each family to post their pictures on Facebook later in the day. What great exposure the church will receive when all their friends see the family together at church.
*Parent-child dedications. Mother’s Day is just one of the days each year that we would schedule this special event. We promote one month ahead in the worship bulletin and through personal invitations to families with newborns. For about 10 minutes of the worship service, we focus on these families, encouraging them to raise children who will know and follow Jesus.
*Don’t preach a Mother’s Day message. Use your sermon time to continue with the series you are in or starting that Sunday. Once I had been in a series on faith and chose to highlight Biblical women like Sarah or Rahab on that day.
*Have something special for men. If men are accompanying their wives/mothers to church on this day, have something for them that will encourage them to come back. One year I showed a video from Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs” program that all the men loved and laughed at, as I tied it into what a dirty (yet rewarding) job being a mother is.
*Remember to be sensitive and affirming to all people. Some people have lost mothers, some are estranged from mothers, some were abandoned or abused by mothers. Not all women are mothers. Not all kids have a mother in their life. Speak in a way that honors mothers but doesn’t shame others or make them feel excluded. We would most always show a video like this one produced by our staff that would illustrate this inclusiveness. https://vimeo.com/166061638
*Don’t make moms stand. Putting people on the spot and making them self-identify is always awkward. Affirming and honoring mothers shouldn’t be embarrassing. And please don’t survey the crowd for the oldest mother, newest mother, or the mom with the most kids. Motherhood is not a contest. The Bible makes it clear we are to honor our fathers and mothers. Honor them by giving them your best.