Many churches like to take the opportunity on Mother’s Day to celebrate mums but also all those who have an impact on children’s lives, whether as Sunday school leaders, foster carers, family friends, grandparents or in many other roles.
It’s a great time to invite the church to think about how they are impacting the next generation. Whether as parents themselves or as part of the wider church family, why not encourage people to focus on the most precious thing they could do for the children in their lives – to nurture and inspire a love for God in their hearts.
As we express our appreciation for mums on Mothering Sunday, we can encourage them that research shows that parents have the greatest influence on their children developing faith. We may feel our children never listen to us, or that we don’t have enough Bible knowledge, or we aren’t a good enough example. But God knew what he was doing when he entrusted our children to us!
Ultimately, he wants them to achieve their full potential as human beings – to enjoy a deep and lifelong relationship with himself. Parents have the wonderful opportunity to show their children what it looks like to connect with God and walk with him in the everyday ordinary moments of life, in good times and sad times. God wants to be involved in our daily lives and a great way to show this to those we love, especially our children, is by talking about God as we go about our daily routine.
You’ll naturally want to preach in a way that is relevant to everyone present at the service, whether or not they are mums themselves. As we acknowledge mums in their role, we can also use this day to encourage our church that everyone has a part to play and we can all have a positive input in someone else’s life. We can become mothers and fathers in the faith – informally assisting in mentoring the young (or spiritually young) on their journey to spiritual maturity.
Our children and young people can really benefit from this significant input from others alongside their parents. The ‘Sticky Faith’ research stresses the importance of intergenerational relationships and has shown how each young person is greatly benefitted when surrounded by other adults who influence their faith. We can all become godparents, in the best sense of that word: as people who actively enrich and enhance the spiritual life of the young.
In fact, we can all benefit from having stronger relationships with friends of all ages. It’s great to have people who will speak into our lives, pray for us, teach us, challenge us, and who will help us transition through the different seasons of our lives. As we live in this close community, we can all learn from each other, and that doesn’t always mean that the adults will be teaching the children. Children’s innocence and childlike faith can be inspiring, especially because often children don’t have many of the barriers to faith that adults can build.
Historically, children have perhaps been seen but not heard. But in today’s society children are encouraged to have a voice and interact with others. We can help children to feel they belong within the church by proactively giving them a voice and involving them in the life of the church. This can encourage them in their individual faith journey, as well as helping them to feel part of something bigger than just themselves.
You might be following a lectionary or a similar pattern of readings, or simply looking for suitable Bible readings to use as a starting point for a service on Mothering Sunday. As an example, the Church of England indicates the following readings for the day, which you might find useful:
Exodus 2:1-10 or 1 Samuel 1:20-28
Psalm 34:11-20 or 127:1-4
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 or Colossians 3:12-17
Luke 2:33-35 or John 19:25-27
We’ve put together some sermon outlines based on several of the passages above, to help you think through how you could approach this topic on Mother’s Day.
Download: Mothering Sunday Sermon Notes
Please note these materials were developed before the pandemic, so please bear in mind that some of these suggestions might need to be adapted to fit in with current requirements, and depending on whether you are meeting in person or online.
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