The Mother’s Day/Father’s Day Preaching Divide

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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.


9 Responses

  1. There was a homeless man Named Peter we talked to on Fathers Day… an older man in his 80’s by the look of him , and one of his reasons for being homeless was , early on in his life, his father was a child molester toward him and his brothers and sisters, and also his Father Was a Pastor.
    The lies that were spread about him by his father caused him to go into hiding and therefor could not trust the Church for help after all these years . I was thinking.. The Father of this man, by his ungodly actions, caused a road block in this homeless man’s heart against His True Heavenly Father for all these years … Wow ! He said he had not lost his religion because of it , but did not trust Churches .
    Both my wife and I had to overcome our Fathers to come to Christ and The True Father , so we could understand . Her father in a drunken jealous rage Murdered her mothers father, (her Grand Father) and went to prison for it , yet was un-repented to the end. My Dad was not a believer in God till the last Day of his life, when we could sing with him and pray with him ..about Heaven and Jesus , he liked the song “Swing low ,Sweet Chariot” and he sang it with us and he passed away that night in the Hospital . All I am saying is earthly fathers are one of the most important role models we have… To Show us the Way to our True Father in Heaven… Adam blew it big time for not Being that father , Cain could have used a Dad who Loved God a bit more directly …. If we look at Bible history, there are great tragedies when the Father Fails the Son , and Great men… When the Father Brings his Sons And Daughters to The Father… Just something to ponder …… After Fathers Day…..

    1. Thank you for sharing that Stephen. It is a great reminder that God is at work in the lives of people whether we know it or not…even in spite of terrible circumstances.

  2. I dunno. I kind of like the kick in the pants we get on Father’s Day. It’s usually the only day it gets mentioned. We need a half-time speech! We need to be coached up! But I do think women need it, too. After all, they are usually no better than we are.

  3. My mother and I were talking about this the other day. I made a decision years ago not to play this game. You don’t get better fathers by running them down, bashing them, and tying it all to a couple of passages just to make it official. I sat through the statistic-laden daddy-bashing enough when I was younger. I’m done. If we want to do the world a favor, we’ll take my mother’s advice and start cheering them on. We’ll make Father’s Day a celebration of those fathers who get it, and an encouragement to those who want to. We’ll go from “you’re doing that wrong” (which men never respond to very well in any setting), to “we’ve got your back”. Clearly, glorified nagging hasn’t worked.

    We celebrated this year with a message centered on God’s example of love and generosity as father, and gave all our fathers the equivalent of the flowers we hand out on Mother’s Day: bacon!

    If you left our church Sunday as father it was with your head down in shame, it was knowing this church loves and appreciates the sacrifices you’re making for your family.

    1. You don’t get better Christians by berating them and telling them that everything they do is wrong.

  4. “When you come together, each one has… Let all things be done for building up”
    “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

    Interesting contrast between the plan and the reality, isn’t there?

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