Mother’s Day: Third Most Popular Sunday

Mother’s Day: Third Most Popular Sunday

April 29, 2015 by

We all know that Easter and Christmas are big Sundays in the life of your church. But what’s the next most popular Sunday in the year? Mother’s Day. Turns out the second Sunday in May—Mother’s Day—has the third highest attendance among Protestant churches in the U.S.

Perhaps that’s a bit of our Protestant guilt showing through? Trying to do the right thing for mom?

Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, said, “Clearly, mothers want to be present for the affirmation that is typically offered in most churches, but families also are present knowing their attendance will honor their mother. Many families make church attendance on Mother’s Day nearly obligatory.”

Whatever the reason people come to church on Mother’s Day, they do. This is an opportunity to reach out and be welcoming.

  • Remember to be sensitive and affirming to all people. Some have lost mothers, some are estranged from mothers, some were abandoned or abused by mothers. Not all women are mothers. Not all kids have a mother in their life. Speak in a way that honors mothers, but doesn’t shame others or make them feel excluded. This isn’t about being politically correct, it’s about being human. Bring some pastoral care to your communication. (Lots of folks have talked more in-depth about this, but here’s a good post to start with.)
  • Don’t make moms stand. Putting people on the spot and making them self-identify is always awkward. Affirming and honoring mothers shouldn’t be embarrassing. And please don’t survey the crowd for the oldest mother or the mom with the most kids. It’s not a contest.
  • Be careful with stereotypes. It can be a little demeaning when well-intentioned Mother’s Day festivities assume all mothers stay at home with the kids, cook dinner, can’t repair a car, enjoy house cleaning or love sappy nostalgia. Let’s celebrate our individual mothers, not the stereotyped institution of motherhood.

The church of all places should be wary of getting swept into a cultural celebration and inadvertently hurting people. It’s good to honor our mothers—it scored a mention in the 10 Commandments—but let’s be careful how we do it.


As you’re carefully finding a way to honor mothers, we do have some free social media graphics you can use.

Photo by André Delhaye.
Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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2 Responses to “Mother’s Day: Third Most Popular Sunday”

  • Eric Dye
    April 30, 2015

    Wow! Great stuff, Kevin. Love your last line. ;)

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  • Melinda
    May 5, 2015

    Great article, Kevin. I’ve shared it with some of our pastors.
    Yes, I am one of those mothers who finds it awkward to stand too.

    I like to add my own pet peeve: ‘Superhero-ing’ mothers who ‘have it all together’. Those mothers who can bake Bombe Alaska, wake up at 5am to prepare breakfast for the family and pray for one hour, then look pretty to go to work with nary a strand of hair out of place, whoa.

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