If you are currently serving as an interim pastor, another great opportunity to introduce beneficial change lurks on the next page of your monthly calendar. Mother's Day (May 12 this year) gives intentional interim ministers the chance to help a transitioning church see ministry opportunity through "outreach eyes." Most everyone in the church will welcome your leadership if you cast the changes in terms of "creativity", "fresh approach" and "a new celebration." And, while all of those will be true of your intentional leadership, you'll also be schooling the church in a fresh way of thinking.
Remember, Mother's Day typically logs the church's third highest attendance of the year. By focusing your leadership team on this fact - and providing leadership to take advantage of this - you'll be serving well. You'll be doing the interim task of prepping the church to move ahead by helping them transition their thinking! First, make sure they understand why this is a huge attendance day.
The reason that churches are so full on Mother's Day is not because it is the only time of year mothers come to church. Most of the moms are always there. It's the husbands and kids who rarely come who show up with Mom that one day to make her happy.
So, this is the dual opportunity that Mother's Day presents: (1) new people in the pews and (2) a teachable moment for the congregation. It just doesn't get any better for an interim pastor. As an added bonus, there is a wealth of material to help you change your church's focus from inward (what church that calls an intentional interim pastor isn't?) to outward focus on those in need of God's work in their lives.
Here are 10 tips on how interim pastors can capitalize on Mother's Day:
- Ask your church to begin praying about Mother's Day. This should start ASAP. Your purpose here is two-fold; first, to ask for the Almighty's help in ministering to these folk and second, to get the church praying about something other than itself.
- Deputize someone who will follow through to survey the school principals and police chief to find out what moms in your church's market area need most.
- Recruit and prepare some of your mature members to become marriage mentors. Chances are that some of your Mother's Day visitors will be in need of help with marriage issues. Who better than believers whose lives show that it can be done?
- Forsake the "glorification of the worm ceremony." Do not - under any circumstances - preach from Proverbs 31 or any other biblical text that extols the virtues of the ideal woman or mother. Moms already feel burdened, inadequate and guilty. Mother's Day is a time for uplift and encouragement.
- Mother's Day is the time to preach honestly about the heartaches that moms today face: scraping by on limited finances, feelings of failure and inadequacy, fears for their children's future, protecting her children from the world's most corrosive influences.
- Try a "Mother's Day Outreach Kit." It's inexpensive and it has lots of helpful ideas.
- Send personalized invitations to all the moms in your church - especially those who visited for the first time since last Mother's Day - and explain to them what you'll be doing this year.
- Tell the husbands and family members who are there just for mom's sake that they have done a noble thing; they have attended on Mother's Day because it matters to her.
- Speak honestly to the reason why it matters to her: because she wants them to have a redemptive and vital relationship with Christ.
- Have a follow-up event that will interest the husbands. How about a free day at the local gun range with an NRA instructor or police officer (who, hopefully, will be a member of your church)?
There's also a helpful video that covers some of these details - from a woman's perspective. Check it out, there's good stuff in there.
Remember - you're the interim pastor. They called you to be the change agent. Mother's Day is a great opportunity for the interim pastor to show the church a different way to do ministry - by looking through "outreach eyes."