Communicating Inclusiveness on Mother’s DayPosted May 02nd 2011 @ 2:43 pm by Jerod
I’m just realizing how quick Mother’s Day is sneaking up on us. And that means Father’s Day will soon be here, too. Both seem like occasions, despite their non-liturgical calendar status, where churches gear up to do themed sermons, events and giveaways. It makes sense to spend time honoring parents since their role is important and talked about throughout the Bible. But as we plan for these parent holidays, it’s important to remember those in your congregation who aren’t a mom or dad. The way you communicate your Mother’s Day or Father’s Day message can say a lot about who you are as a church.
First we need to remember that parenting topics can cause pain for some people. There are probably married couples in your church who want to be parents, but are having problems conceiving. Likewise, there are couples who don’t have children and aren’t planning on it either. Then there are singles who want to be parents someday, but don’t even have the prospects of a spouse yet. How are you going to make your message inclusive for these people? Will you acknowledge that there are folks currently living in these types of situations? A church who openly says “we realize there are issues going on and we’re praying for you” communicates something much different that a church who glosses over the fact that parenting topics bring pain and struggles for people.
I think it’s good to find a way to be inclusive of non-parents during a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day message as well. Like many churches, ones I’ve gone to in the past like to give a gift to mom or dad on their given day. I really liked how one church I went to handled giving out these gifts. On Mother’s Day, every woman received the present. The same for men on Father’s Day. There was no dragging your kid to the usher to say, “Hey, here’s my offspring. Give me my free popcorn ball decorated like a baseball.” (Yes, that was one of the Father’s Day gifts at this church. It was deliciously disgusting.)
Finally, there is a part of us that can relate to parent issues because we all have them. For some it may be fond memories. For others, memories of their parents are troubling. But if you tailor your Mother’s Day or Father’s Day theme, message or events in a way that can relate to peoples own experiences with their parents, it can create a meaningful Sunday instead of one non-parents tune out.
I am for parents. I think they deserve praise for the important work they’re doing. But as someone who doesn’t have kids, and has friends who’ve had fertility problems, I appreciate churches who take that into consideration when parenting sermons and festivities happen in a church. I’m not saying a Mother’s Day message has to be structured in a way that focuses mainly on non-parents. But I do think making some sort of reference, and acknowledging the issues that come along with parenting, goes a long way in communicating you are a church that understands and cares about people who may not be a mom or dad.