I am sure this isn’t news to you but there is a gap in how a lot of sermons deal with Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day. Mother’s day sermons feel like a pep rally for mom’s. We cheer them on. We celebrate their awesomeness. We give them the praise they deserve. Mother’s Day sermons feels like a team of mom’s just won some sort of mother world championship…the confetti and balloons fall and everyone is jumping up and down in celebration…
Then there is Father’s day. Father’s day feels like the losing team, half-time locker room speech. The coach is getting on to the guys…telling them how they royally messed up the first half and if they don’t shape up, will mess up the second half just as badly.
There are two things that have influenced us to take this approach:
1 – Culture – I understand the need to get gender equality and that the pendulum needs to swing. But in order to do that in a healthy way you don’t have to swing the pendulum so far back the other way that the men get beat up for being men. The church needs to celebrate men and women…mothers and fathers. It is a both/and and not an either/or.
2 – Male preachers – It is awkward to preach a sermon where you pat yourself on the back. That can feel awkward as the one who has to preach it. So the easier route is to take the judgment and corrective route rather than the affirming and celebratory route when basically preaching about yourself. So men are going to tend to preach negative father’s day sermons because it is easier to be self-deprecating than it is to be self-congratulatory. We don’t like to feel like we are exalting ourselves and so we beat ourselves up instead.
The church needs to get more comfortable with celebration and not be ashamed to let people know when they have done a good job. The rush to critique and criticism can be more damaging than we realize.
Update – I did a video on this topic for this Father’s Day. My sermon this Sunday is going to build the men up and allow them to see the church as a place for encouragement.