Beware of the trap game. In sports, the trap game is a game played against an opponent generally deemed to be easy to defeat. As a result, a person or team may not prepare as they are looking ahead to next Sunday.
For pastors, Mother’s Days are often trap Sundays. But there are a few traps we can avoid on this very important and highly attended Sunday.
Trap #1: Publicly honoring the youngest mother. What is the distinctive achievement here?
I’m young. I had a baby.
After 52 years on this earth, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is not a goal implied in Scripture. Go figure. It says be fruitful and multiply but it doesn’t tell you to begin before you’re 17. All mothers should be honored and singling out the youngest mother feels bad in so many ways. And it could be mortifying for some in your church, including the youngest mother.
Trap #2: Forgetting that there are women in your church that wish they were mothers. Imagine going through the hardest struggle you’ve ever experienced in your life and watching all your dreams vanish. Then imagine that someone creates a Sunday where they place of your greatest pain is the theme of a worship service. Of course you’ll want to honor mothers. Just honor them with a keen sensitivity toward infertility and the wounds of others.
Trap #3: Stretching, squeezing, twisting and prodding a scripture or a sermon series to make it fit Mother’s Day.
Especially if you are going through a series on the 7 deadly sins, the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, or The Bad Girls of the Bible.
Your people don’t need you to gracefully pirouette across the hermeneutical landscape and seamlessly land on the perfectly deft Mother’s Day sermon text at the just the right time. You’ll be more impressed than they will, Rev. Fancypants.
Trap #4: Honoring Mothers in contrast with those Nutty Dads. Notice the two most used, most implied topics of these 2 traditional days.
- Mother’s Day Sermon Thesis Statement: Mothers, you are honored and cherished.
- Father’s Day Sermon Thesis Statement: Fathers, get with the program.
Trap #5: The “Mother Worship” Trap. When planning your worship service, make sure the songs are about the Trinity not the quatrinity. (I know… Not a word.) The point is this: Our mothers, no matter how awesome they are, (and they are awesome) didn’t die for our sins. Worship every Sunday must be about God.
Trap #6: Not mentioning that it’s Mother’s Day. There are some that are so “non-seasonal” they decide to not even mention it. By doing that you are only magnifying the oversight in people’s minds. You have to do or say something whether you are making it the primary context of your message or you’re simply wishing mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. Not mentioning it is like asking people to not think of pink elephants. And now, please understand. Pink Elephants have nothing whatsoever to do with mothers. It is merely a common analogy that people use. Mothers and pink elephants have NOTHING to do with anything about each other. Am I clear on this point? Thank you.
Trap #7: This final trap is the most important one for pastors. Don’t forget to call your mother.