As a speaker, it can be difficult to relate to an audience of the opposite gender. It’s rather difficult to communicate truths about something you’ve never experienced to someone who has. I once heard a male pastor preach a whole series on womanly godliness. He tried very hard. It didn’t come out right, despite his best intentions.
Most likely, more than half of your congregation is made up of women, and on Mother’s Day, it seems like most churches try to preach a sermon tailored to them. It’s not a bad idea if you put in the time and do it right. Since most pastors in our country are men, we wanted to share a few tips for communicating your message well to women on Mother’s Day or any other time you’re addressing them specifically:
1) Plan to include a visual and/or musical moment in the service that tells a powerful story.
A powerful story goes so much further than the most compelling talking points. Did you see this Mother’s Day commercial last year from Publix? It hit the nail on the head. This is not about the stereotype that “women are emotional.” Women respond to artistic, relational, creative and sensory-engaging messages. You’ll draw them in better if you plan accordingly.
2) Involve a team of women in planning your message.
Get their thoughts on what women need to hear most on this Mother’s Day. Get their insights on what cultural myths women are subconsciously absorbing. Even better, involve a woman in your teaching that morning.
3) Don’t address women as “girls.”
This is nitpicky, but a lot of male pastors do this unintentionally. To many women, it sounds condescending. You probably address the men in the room as men, not boys. Women notice.
4) If you’re going to talk about motherhood, be sensitive to the fact that many women who are not mothers may wish they were, and many have lost children.
Women young and old will have experienced miscarriages, abortions, the loss of a child, or the inability to conceive. Help them understand how to take their grief — or regret — to God.
5) Also, be sensitive to those who have lost a mother or have a strained/estranged relationship with their mom.
This point is relevant for men and women in your audience. It can be incredibly painful, especially the first year after loss or a major rift/challenge.
6) Encourage and inspire women to live out their calling fearlessly.
Moms can be very hard on themselves. Most take this job seriously, whether they are home with their kids or working full-time. Don’t give them 10 things to do to be better; it will overwhelm and reinforce the idea that they just can’t do enough.Instead, inspire them with an encouraging and simple truth that reinforces their identity in Christ.
Photo Credit: Sunset Girl via Unsplash