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INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--It happens every year in May, and pastors anticipate it expectantly. Mother's Day promises a high energy, high attendance Sunday, with a smiling, eager congregation. There'll be extra guests galore -- sons, daughters and grandchildren attending worship services with their mother. There will be new mothers, pregnant moms, substitute moms, stepmothers, foster moms, grandmothers. What an opportunity!
No pressure, pastor, but how will this Mother's Day be different from last year's celebration? How can your church esteem mothers, yet point the worship service toward God? It's time to get creative. Need a few fresh ideas?
MOM & ME VIDEO
Ask the tech team to interview children and prepare a montage of testimony clips explaining why "My Mom's the Best!" Or invite the youth group to prepare a short video to honor their mothers. Or gather dozens of photos of church members with their mothers for a slide show set to music. Use the video for pre-service viewing or play it along with an appropriate music special.
HERE'S YOUR DAISY
If your church presents gifts on Mother's Day, it's a good idea to give one to each woman present. (Many childless women have been like a mother to other children.) Each year's gift can be unique and meaningful, such as:
A single flower.
A book. A CD. A pin. A pen.
Multi-ribbon bookmarks for her Bible.
A corsage made by children in your church.
Laminated copy of an original Mother's Day poem.
A scripture bookmark with original art by a church youth.
Recruit a different group of people to present the gift each year, i.e. teen boys, deacons, fifth-grade girls, new members, elderly men or church staff.
OLD WOMEN, PLEASE STAND
Not to be a fuddy-duddy, but pointing out the oldest, youngest and most prolific mothers during worship is not always flattering. As an alternative, consider recognizing mothers with a new baby since last year, great-grandmothers, mothers of teenagers or mothers of military. Then include all mothers in a thanksgiving prayer.
I WAS BORN
One pastor announced a special prayer time for mothers, asking everyone in the congregation who had been born to a mother to stand. That's everyone!
Prepare signs for all preschoolers, such as, "I thank God for my mom," "Honor your mother and father," or giant MOM letters. While worshippers sing a chorus, the joyful Mother's Day parade of preschoolers marches in one door and exits another. Delightful!
SENIOR ADULT BYKTSS
If it fits your church, plan "Bring Your Kid to Sunday School" for senior adults. The oldest adult Bible class invites their adult offspring to join them for class, arriving early for snacks and studying God's Word together.
CHILDREN'S SCRIPTURE SHOUT
Choose an appropriate Scripture to teach elementary age children. Kids march into worship during a congregational song, spread out around the worship center, then quote the Scripture in unison.
Youth can pamper their moms by planning and serving a lovely brunch. Guys carry a towel draped across their arm and wear an eyebrow-pencil-drawn curly mustache. Plan a program of poetry readings, serenading and prayers.
How about a catered picnic for a church-wide Mother's Day lunch at the local park? The pastor of a Filipino church in New Jersey excitedly told me about their top-secret plan for Mother's Day. The men of the church have reserved an entire local restaurant for lunch, and they'll surprise their mothers and families with a special meal. Don't tell.
SENSE AND SENSITIVITY
Scripture instructs us to honor our fathers and mothers, but use discretion. Some in your congregation may dread Mother's Day because of marital status, childlessness, death or problems with parents.
WORSHIP HIM, NOT HER
Many unchurched family members will attend worship with their moms. Tell them how Jesus can change their life! It's a great day for a baptism, baby dedication or children's choir song. Joyfully honor mom on Mother's Day, but focus on the only One worthy of worship -- our God.
This column was adapted from the forthcoming book, "Fresh Ideas: 1,000 Ways to Grow a Thriving & Energetic Church," to be released by B&H on June 1st. Diana Davis is the wife of Indiana Baptist State Convention's executive director.