#1: Understand the real reason why Mother’s Day has the 3rd highest church attendance of the year.
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 moms are always there. It’s the husbands and kids who rarely come who show up with Mom that one day to make her happy.
The reason so many people come to church on Mother’s Day is the unchurched people in the lives of many mothers rarely, if ever, come to church, but they will come on this day to make mom happy. This is a great evangelistic opportunity for your church!
#2: Focus your planning on reaching the unchurched spouses and kids.
Flowers are nice, but far better than a rose for Mom would be a Sunday designed to speak to those she loves but who do not know Jesus.
Prepare your people by encouraging them to pray 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.
#3 On Mother’s Day, acknowledge the visitors who come on Mother’s Day to please their Mother and affirm it is a kind thing to do and do honestly and without guilt.
It isn’t funny or spiritually helpful for someone from the pulpit or a church member to say something like “Great to see some of you here who haven’t darkened the door of the church since last Mother’s Day.” Or “You don’t need to be such a stranger around here.”
A bit of coaching the week before Mother’s Day to your staff, ushers, and congregation to be genuinely welcoming—and to leave it at that—is helpful.
#4 At the same time, use your sermon to say to the visiting family members what Mom can’t say.
Be honest with your audience on Mother’s Day that one of the greatest pains in a mother’s heart is that her child does not know Jesus. To be apart in life is hard, even as a child grows up, but to contemplate an eternity without those you love is a pain impossible to express.
Acknowledge this is not easy to say (which is why you are saying it for Mom), 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.
#5 Have available information about the Christian faith they can look at later.
Whatever system works best for you, either a bulletin insert, URL, QR code, have a place where visitors can check out Web sites that explain the Christian faith. An invitation to latte with the pastor next week at the local coffee shop for open-ended Q&A about the Christian faith is another option.
Let them know they are welcome to come back anytime—but again, do it with a light touch.
#6 Do more than preach— additional events can provide great impact and encourage visitors to return.
Consider a very upbeat, outreach-oriented mini-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, welcoming visiting guests and inviting them to return 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, help-the-poor 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. Some men who don’t regularly attend church have never talked to a man who goes to church and does construction work or have any idea that men at church do more than pray or read their Bibles.
Whatever you do, honor mothers in the best way possible—by helping those they love come to know Jesus.