The wild difference between a Mother’s Day sermon and a Father’s Day sermon.

Last week, I told my wife that it would be appropriate, dare I say “loving” of her to get me an iPad for Father’s Day. Her response? She laughed. It wasn’t a mean laugh, it was more of a giggle that seemed to say, “An iPad? That is adorable. Should I buy it with one of our offshore Cayman Islands bank accounts Lord Featherton?”

Needless to say, I did not receive an iPad for Father’s Day, but I did have a great weekend … until a reader named John Harris exposed a church-flavored Father’s Day scandal to me.

I didn’t notice it at first, I give him all creative credit, but upon hearing about it I knew I had to share it with you.

The controversy? The scandal? It’s simple.

On Mother’s Day, the sermon most pastors preach is like this:

“Moms are amazing. They are like human unicorns, special, beautiful, smelling of lavender and night jasmine, deserving of our gratitude and our complete affection and pedicures. Mothers, please stand up so that we can shower you with applause and have the ushers give you roses commemorating this moment when we, the body of Christ, were able to bask in your combined loveliness.”

On Father’s Day however, the sermon most pastors preach is like this:

“Dads, what are you doing? Seriously, get your act together! It’s time to be leaders of your households. It’s time to put away jobs that consume you. It’s time to put down your Blackberrys and serve your family with your heart and your soul. Cowboy up already! Your role is critical to the family and it’s time for you to get motivated and active in your family, your community and your world.”

One feels like a Lifetime movie, the other an episode of “Scared Straight,” where high school students are forced to listen to convicts yell at them about their lives.

Dads, am I wrong? Do you need to cry on my shoulder at the “Wild at Heart,” live like William Wallace style sermon you received two days ago? Moms, am I wrong? Like my own mother who told me that there’s no such holiday as “Kid’s day” because everyday is kid’s day, is one sermon not going nearly far enough in our appreciation of you? (And it’s not moms, you are in fact amazing.)




What say you?

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  1. Thea says

    Strangely enough, my preacher said just about the same thing on Sunday before going into a sermon that had almost nothing to do with Father's day. That's one way around it I suppose.

    • Mike says

      The difference in our church is more like this: "Moms, you're blessed and special, and we've bought you all flowers for Mother's Day, so after the service, come get a flower!"

      On Father's Day it's, "Dads, we've taken the money we would have spent on a gift for you and put it towards a charitable donation."

      So Moms get a flower, and Dads get … nothing.

  2. Maria says

    So very true…only you forgot the mom's day sermon that includes the "moms, you are ruining your families and children by working. You should all stay at home, at your husband's beck and call, waiting to have another baby" sermon. Oh, I forgot to say "it's not God's design for you to work."

    • says

      Hmmmmm….that's an interesting comment. You do know that Proverbs 31 worked, right? I'd go and read that chapter again, you'll see. Nowhere in the bible does it say that women should or shouldn't work. Staying at home does not make you a better mother. Having a Christ centered heart, praying fervently, being humble & gentle, and leaning on Him and not your own understandings? That's what makes a woman a good mom.

      • Shannon says

        It's funny you bring up Proverbs 31. That passage is often used on Mother's Day to illustrate how awesome moms are. My mom hates that sermon. She doesn't see it as, "This is what you do. You rock Mom!" She tends to see the Proverbs 31 sermon as, "See? This is what you should be like, but you're not. Fail!"

          • Vikki says

            I tend to view Proverbs 31 as a list of the different types of women there are. There's no way one woman could achieve everything that chapter lists. :)

          • janet says

            That's why it starts off, "An excellent wife, who can find?" — Because she's so rare!

          • Maxaipa777 says

            Wow, u guys are a bunch of under achievers! Scared to try hard? Rare find kinda like a real Christian? Doesn't the Bible also tell us to "be perfect as Christ is perfect"? We know we can't but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be our ongoing goal.

          • says

            I'd suggest these verses for you Maxaipa777 – you might think twice before you reply. James 1:19-20: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. I understand you're a pastor and a husband and a father, so you're very well versed in the word of God and that's fine. I do not claim to be perfect or all-knowing or anything of that nature, I just know that sometimes, the way you come across is crass and a little hurtful.

          • says

            That verse is as true as the rest of God's word & even more true when they are applicable, however I wasn't angry. My words were meant to challenge & provoke where needed.

        • Peter says

          A note on the importance3 of context to scripture:

          If you read the inscription that introduces Proverbs 31 you will see that it is advice from a mother to her son about choosing a wife.


          You're right; not many women live up to that! :-)

      • Megan says

        i'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I think Maria was being sarcastic (on SCL?! No way?!! :) ) and that she probably agrees with you…

      • eastern ky pastor says

        Personally, i think it's pretty foolish to think that stay at home moms don't have full-time jobs!

      • Maria says

        I don't disagree, but as I said below. I have heard this preached (Calvin, Piper, Southern Baptist Convention as a whole). In more conservative Christian circles, they refer to it as being a Titus 2 woman, though I think it is a stretch. ;-)

    • says

      In this economy it definitely sucks to guilt trip moms about not staying home with their kids – I know lots of moms who would LOVE to be able to do that but just can't afford it right now.

      Personally, I'm hoping to work for a year or two after I get married and use my income solely to pay off debt. That way my husband and I get used to living on just one (his) income AND when we are ready to have kids, we don't have to worry about debt. I'm also going back to school to be a librarian, so if I can get a job as a school librarian I can work, but still be home with my kids in the evening and the summers and other school holidays. :)

      • Donna B says

        Great plan. That's what my husband and I did. We were married 5 years before we had a child, and worked our way toward not being dependent on my income. When the baby came, I could stay home! Now, 10 years later, we homeschool on one income. Love it!

    • says

      Wow, I've never heard that one as a sermon but I'm pretty sure my reaction would be about the same as yours if I did! Unfortunately, I have heard the sentiment from various preachers/authors.

  3. says

    Agreed. We could use some "straighten up mom's!" sermons for sure.

    But, how many harried mothers are yelling at their kids because they're running their entire household while their husband goes to work, comes home, and proceeds to "check out", leaving her to put three rowdy kids to bed, then clean the kitchen, and then get down to what she couldn't get done while they were awake.

    It goes both ways. Perhaps we should have a "buck up and love each other properly, dads AND moms, so you can love your kids properly!" sermon.

  4. elizabeth says

    My dad has been pointing this out for years and years. Church on Father's Day always made him grumpy.

  5. jim says

    looks like you may need an opposing mom view guest post (although our saturday service did not include a "happy father's day" but did strangley enough revolve around men being leaders of the household) nuff said??????????

  6. paul says

    The sermon I heard on Father's Day was the first in a long series on spiritual warfare. They gave a shout out to all the dads just before asking us to greet those around us. That was it for acknowledging the day. Then we moved on. Fine with me. There was camo and a jeep onstage so I suppose the props were geared towards the men in the audience. The sermon itself certainly did not focus on men though.

  7. says

    I realized last year that my dad gets hosed on Father's Day. My sister and I always ban together to buy my mom awesome presents for Mother's Day and then on Father's Day we're like "It's Father's Day? Already?"

    So we fixed that last year and this year. Last year we got my dad a digital camera and this year we got my dad a nook. It's time we start showing father's some love – because they do good work too.

    But the sermon thing all comes down to male/female "roles" in the church and you certainly don't want to get me started on that. :)

    • says

      Hey, got my dad a Nook, too!! Figured he deserved it after all the stuff he's had to do for me and my family this year. He's an awesome dad all the time, but this year he went above and beyond.

    • Lindsey says

      I agree. It is the man's role to be a leader and Father's day is a good day to remind them to not be passive. However, that doesn't mean that there are a ton of great Dad's and other males in the church that are already doing a great job in that area! They should also be applauded for a job well done.

  8. Betsy says

    Or when the Father's Day greeting includes "all the single moms out there who are both mother and a father to their kids. Even single Dads out there (and yes, they are there…my stepson is one of them) can't get a break.

    • says

      Last year, a male soloist had all the fathers stand, all the grandfathers stand, then all the great-grandfathers stand, a custom we had long since dropped even for Mother's Day because it makes those sitting (including those struggling with infertility or miscarriages) feel as though they have failed, or that they're being judged.

      Then, to top it off, he prayed for all the single fathers to restore their relationships with their children, as though all single dads disappear from their children's lives.

      • eastern ky pastor says

        I heard a pastor once say, "Singers should sing and preachers should preach. It gets messy when they try to do the other's job."

    • says

      Ouch! My community recently lost a teacher who was also a single father of 5 boys right around Father's Day . . . let's not forget the good single dads out there! They may be a statistical minority, but single dads need our love and support too!!

  9. says

    Warning to all men: before crying to loudly, one might consider whether the other 364 days of the year are disproportionately favoring the men/husbands/dads. Women/wives/moms get their one Sunday of "atta-girl!" and then go back to the grinding out of a sometimes thankless existence. Men slip under the radar almost all year and then get smacked around a little on a Father's Day sermon – pretty decent trade off in my opinion. I consider Father's Day sermons basically as Mother's Day Sermon Part II. On Mother's Day you build up the sisters and on Father's Day you build them up a little more by smoking their husbands. It's a pastor's way of throwing a bone to the ladies in the house and saying, "I got your back, sistah! I'll tell your hubby all the things he won't listen to you tell him." By Monday most pastors also realize that the men don't listen to him either. Brothers, we got it made…take your medicine!

    • Dawn in NJ says

      Here here! I was waiting to hear the other side of the debate! Also, these days, mothers disproportionately DO do more, and ARE the hero to their entire families, and there are too many fathers that don't even do basics consistently. What is the ratio of women thanking their husbands for doing a chore around the house, compared to men thanking women? I love my husband, but it is I who encourage/thank MUCH more than he does. I'm just expected to "know" I'm appreciated.

  10. says

    That's been the standard at our church for years. (And I'm ok saying that since my dad's the pastor) But this year since I was preaching through a series "Under Construction", I avoided the subject altogether, which left no room for anything but Father's Day wishes at the beginning and end of service by another minister and my Dad, respectively. It was refreshing, really.

  11. says

    Ha! I think you pretty much nailed that one!

    What is less funny about it is that when you start getting into the whole spiritual leadership thing, it severely sucks for the families that don't have a dad who is a spiritual leader. This was my first Father's Day hearing that message after my husband told me he was an atheist. Hearing the "spiritual head of the family" schtick this year was really painful. I mean, it sucks that men get the smack down and women get the praise, but if you aren't lucky enough to have a religious dad (and stats would definitely point to that being a lot of people in church), that message can hurt you too.

    • Kim says

      I think that might be one of the reasons father's day sermons are nonexistent in some churches and non-celebratory in others. There are many families in my church where the father does not attend church, is not in the picture or is abusive.
      I don't know what the sermon was on Sunday because I was downstairs with the kids. But the Children's Pastor skipped over a father-themed message out of sensitivity for the many children and workers without godly fathers.

    • says

      What's really interesting is that if you really study the scriptures, in context, with a close examination of the word "head' and "headship" it doesn't mean anything about being in charge. It borders on leadership but the actual Hebrew meaning of head is more along the lines of "life source" and the original Hebrew usage doesn't intend for "head" to indicate authority.

  12. says

    We had a pastor who used to preach on mother's day that women should not forget their role as a woman and the lover of their husband and therefore should buy sexy lingerie. And then on father's day he would preach that wives should honor their husbands, the fathers of their children, by buying sexy lingerie. I'm kind of glad he didn't preach a children's day sermon, personally.

      • says

        Why? Because they would of started to learn a spiritual perspective on sexuality between a husband & wife or because he used the word "lingerie"? Try reading Dr. Kevin Leeman's "Sex begins in the kitchen"

        • dannnnn says

          learning of a spiritual perspective such as that isn't necessarily a bad thing for kids, but its not always positive if they're not old enough for it. would you really give a seven year old a book called "sex begins in the kitchen" to try to enlighten them about the sexual relationship needed between a husband and wife? joanna wasn't saying it was bad, it would just be weird if there were youngerish kids there

          • says

            Your view of sexuality & spirituality are conflicted & dualistic. Kids that grow up on farms learn from the very start about the birds & the bees. It unfolds before them in the natural way God intended & Godly parents explain what is appropriate as the kids grow. There is no “right time” with no lessons preceding in order to “train up a child” in what you mistakenly believe to be the segregated right way.

          • dannnnn says

            i could agree with that, if the world was how it was supposed to be. i just think that in today's society parents should be pretty careful about approaching topics like sexuality given all of the negative presentations and connotations of it in modern culture. often it doesn't unfold as it is supposed to and kids get a wrong perspective of it

          • Sean says

            It's because of all the negative presentations of sex in modern culture that parents should be less cautious of teaching about sexuality to their kids.

            If it wasn't for all the negative presentations, we could get away with not talking about it for a long time. The way it is now, the modern culture is going to teach them daily about it, before they even know what is happening to them. It sucks, but the solution isn't to be silent and let these negative presentations be the only thing shaping their view of sexuality.

        • says

          Probably because as a parent going in unprepared for that topic to be broached in a sermon, you aren't quite ready to have your two year old ask you what "sexy" and "lingerie" mean . . .

          I'm not saying it's bad for kids to know that stuff – but parents should have a heads up so they are prepared to deal with the questions that inevitably arise, and frankly I think sexuality is something that should be discussed with little kids (2-10) at home, not at church. The lesson would have been more appropriate for a married Sunday School class or Bible study.

          Definitely an important conversation to have, but I'd agree with joanna that in a "big church" sermon, not the best place to do it.

          • says

            Why? They aren't dirty words. Heads up, are you kidding me? You have such little trust in your pastor that he would present The Word & topics in an appropriate way? Can you say micro manage kids? Church is the most appropriate place. You have a view of sexuality that is segregated from spirituality & the two go together by design. When the Bible talks about God “knowing us” in our mother’s womb before we were born it is the same word used for a man to know a woman sexually. The Hebrew theologians have the belief that the image of God was divided (let us make them in our image) into male & female at the creation & that when a man & woman in covenant relationship have sex that is the time they are closest to God. A CHurch sermon openly, honestly is the best place. Perhaps if kids heard more from the pulpit about sex & less from TV they wouldn't be so sexually active so young?

    • Natasha says

      Clearly he forgot the reverse 'And the husband's body does not belong to himself but to his wife'.

      Where's the sermon about how the man should not forget his role as a lover of his wife and therefore should [whatever the wife finds sexy]? Maybe there should have been a sexy boxers or briefs sermon…. lol. ;D

    • says

      That's hilarious. A little sad, but I guess that's what makes it funny. Please tell me all the ladies in the church banded together and bought him some zebra-striped thongs?

  13. says

    I could be wrong, but I don't think men – the dads – would like it if the pastor referred to them as "special", "beautiful" and "deserving of pedicures" for their loveliness. Maybe only the dads that watch soccer and wear white jeans at least once a week. They are, however, irreplaceable. Like that Beyonce song. Also, (again, I could be wrong) but I'm pretty sure men thrive off of competition and challenge; tell them to step it up and watch their chest inflate like a rooster's, with a side of roaring.

    Seems like I've become an anthropologist/psychologist this morning. I'm also a human unicorn that smells of vanilla and lavendar with two eyes on the back of my head, which my kids are still trying to figure out how that's possible. That's how/why I know everything. Everything.

      • fireboy48 says

        Andre, Andre, Andre. This is America and football is a couple of thouand pounds of beef crashing into each other in a glorious explosion while attempting to move down the field in a manner that's almost artistic at times. What you refer to is more like a sissified game of kickball that's being foisted upon us by politically correct Nazi's because real football is just so violent. He said, tongue firmly in cheek.

    • Ashley says

      I'm wondering if referencing Beyonce is a thing preachers like to do now…

      We finished a "Godly Men and Women" series and Beyonce was throughly represented in speaking to all the Single Ladies in the room. Hmm…

      • says

        I'm not a preacher (only to my kids and occasionally to my husband) but Beyonce is becoming the new Kevin Bacon, with even more than14 degrees and counting. I might or might not have sang the Irreplaceable song to my husband on father's day, changing a few words around.

    • Laura says

      Bahaha… "Tell them to step it up and watch their chest inflate like a rooster's, with a side of roaring."

      I nominate you for a future guest post!!

      • says

        Thanks, Laura. But I believe Jon will only let me do one guest post per year (totally made that up). I've already done the Lady Worship Leader thing a month ago.

  14. says

    Our pastor apparently forgot in the first service that it was in fact Father's Day on Sunday. He confessed that to us in the second service. Last year his sermon was on how all men should be embracing being men of God, not just husbands/fathers. He pointed out that regardless of age, boys/men should be upholding and standing firm in God's commands. For a single woman, I couldn' t have agreed more.

    • steveh says

      He probably didn't get his Father's Day tie before breakfast. That's a sure sign it's Father's Day! The new tie.

  15. says

    I can't say I've ever noticed a Dad-bashing father's day sermon, but I have to say this:

    When you ended with "What say you?" all I could do was picture you, as Aragorn, standing in the tunnels under the mountain on the way to the massive battle, hollering up at a whole bunch of duty-shirking dads [green and translucent like the traitorous masses of ghosties in the film]. "WHAT SAY YOU?!"

    Seriously, awesome.

  16. says

    Not to be a wet blanket here, but I'd just assume we say Happy Mothers/Fathers/Memorial/etc. day during the greeting and move on.

    • says

      I agree. Mother's Day always made me feel uncomfortable before I became a mother (the message I got was, "it doesn't matter what other amazing things you're accomplishing with your life, if you haven't reproduced, you don't matter," and now that I am one, Mother's Day sermons seem like an empty token gesture for the other 364 days (plus I always hurt for my friends who are struggling with infertility). I think acknowledging the holiday and moving on would be a fine idea.

      • Ashley says

        We get the "You're a mother/father wether or not you actually have children." to encourage us to be good role models for the kiddies.

        …still makes me a bit uncomfortable.

          • Karla says

            I agree, too, Rus. We should have church services that exclude some people. A friend of mine was having her first Father's Day since her dad died. She said she was so sad and wanted to just stay in bed with the covers over her head all day. Too bad she couldn't have been assured of the comfort of the Word and her fellow Christians on that day. But she knew the whole service would be about dads and it was just too hard for her.

            I feel the same way about these graphic sex sermons. They try to say, "This applies to the kids and the singled people and the widows too" but really, how does that help anyone?

    • Common Household Mom says

      How I wish that were true! I am a mother, but I can't stand Mother's Day at church. Too much congratulations of mothers, not enough mention of the motherly aspects of God's nature. But on Father's Day, a nod to the fathers, and then a big sermon about the fatherly aspects of God's nature.

  17. Chris says

    My wife was in nursery last Sunday, so I tired to convince her the sermon was about getting a new flat screen tv. Didn't work, but I did get lunch.

  18. says

    I haven't noticed this in my church… (our Father's day is in September…)

    For us it's usually a pastor who is a recent first time dad.. and he speaks about how now he has a son or daughter his view of God has changed because he didn't realise it was possible to love a could soo much… so how much more does God love us…

  19. theJake says

    I said the same thing to may Pastor last week and he shared my sentiment with the church. It didn't change anything though, I still left exhausted and bruised!

  20. says

    On a serious side note to all this (sorry)…this is much like most of the commercials on TV today. Men are castrated and made to look the fool who needs to "cowboy up". Just sayin…

    • says

      very true….. i used to just watch the superbowl for the commercials, but this year they were just horrible.. All men were losers, wives.. or gfs were bossy, no love, no respect.. selfish selfish selfish

      but on a lighter note, today's post is pretty funny

        • says

          Yeah, most of the feminists I know were up in arms about the double whammy of misogyny and misandry in the Super Bowl commercials. Whenever I think advertising has hit rock bottom, someone throws 'em a shovel!

    • Kristin says

      I completely agree. TV shows and commercials show the mom as the ' head of the household' she knows how to do everything then the dad is portrayed as a clumsy idiot. The Industrial Revolution really messed with the view on a 'family'. When everyone was farmers, the whole family centered around the home.

  21. SkagitMomma says

    As a wife blessed with a manly man of God all year long, I also get irked when Mother's Day they act like we are all worn down, dowdy messes, with squalling kids and absent fathers, in need of a pedicure and a rose. Yes, being a Mom is the hardest job we'll ever have, but come on! Being the dad is not the opposite. My husband feels everyday his duty to be the father and husband that God wants him to be. Perfect? No, thank goodness. And I wouldn't want his responsibility either. He worked hard to make sure I was home during our kids childhoods, and now I'm the one they call first, come to first. I am always letting them know that the reason they love me so much is because of their dads sacrifice, and now that they are grown, they appreciate all he has done.
    nuff said

  22. says

    Yeah, a Father's Day service ends up with a Bear Grylls-type guy eating some kind of raw exotic animal onstage while he compares his adventures to the wild, untamed life God has for all fathers.

    Mother's Day: smells like lilacs…most pleasant service all year.

  23. says

    We always hand out little gifts on Father's and Mother's Day. For years the men always got a White Castle burger at the end of service, but this year they got a white rose bud to wear. I was visiting a church for Mother's Day once where they handed out mini sewing kits that fit in your purse with the church's logo on it. Anyone else's church give out weird things for Father's and Mother's Day?
    PS, our pastor promised long ago never to preach an "encouraging" Father's Day sermon that would make you feel worse about yourself than you did when you got there. He must have heard one too many of those along the way.

    • says

      The church my parents go to hands out freebies on Mothers/Fathers day. I was with them this year on Mother's Day. It was a little purple change purse with a Bible verse on it…and they gave it to every female in the church, not just mothers. Last year the men got pens with a verse from Isaiah on it. I'd rather have the pen thanks.

    • Lisa W. says

      My church gives out a pen/bookmark set on both Mother's Day and Father's Day to all the women and all the men, respectively. The women's set is pink and has flowers; the men's set is black and has an eagle. No guilt-inducing sermons on either day. :)

    • Kyler says

      At my church this year, they gave all of the fathers some leftover notebooks – from another church! They have another church's logo on them!

    • says

      My church always gave carnations to the moms and moms-to-be . . . and they would have a contest for the newest mom, the oldest mom, and I think the mom with the most kids in each service . . . and they would get a nice big bouquet.

      (my mom lost the year I was born, even though I was her first child and only two days old, because she was at home with me – and they wouldn't take my dads word for it when he stood up on her behalf to try and earn the prize bouquet :( )

    • Bree says

      I'm pretty sure I would have politely refused the sewing kit…really, you think there's room in my bag for needles among the diapers, sippy cups, and snacks? I'm sure the men all loved their pretty white roses, though. :)

    • Dan says

      This year at my church on Fathers Day we had a Hot Rods and Harley's show and all the dads got a free BBQ sausage, chips, cookie and drink. No punching men in the nuts during with the sermon either…it was a great day.

    • Natasha says

      I don't remember any Father's Day gifts but on Mother's Day they've handed out:

      -Compact mirrors (with "fearfully and wonderfully made" printed on the cover)
      -Little containers with a big sparkly shoe on top. Yes you read that right. I think there was a cheesy Cinderella comparison that year…

      In my church they often give gifts to all the women (not just the actual moms) so I've been a recipient despite being a young single gal. The only trinket I really used/appreciated was the compact mirror. It was handy for my purse.

  24. Rissa says

    This is why my dad quit going to church on Fathers day.

    One Sunday my pastor asked if anything had anyone they felt like they wanted to say after the sermon. I got up and said that the dad's were doing a good job and don't get encouraged enough… which was met by blank stares of uncomprehension… sad.

    Stupid Fathers Day sermons. Boo.

  25. says

    I was just thinking about this at church on Sunday. For Mother's Day, we got appreciated all over the place (which was great!). The sermon celebrated mothers and motherhood. For Father's Day, the dads got a three part sermon series (wrapping up on the actual day) encouraging them to step up to the plate and be the leader their household needed.

  26. says

    Yes, Jon, this is a problem, but it's a symptom of a larger problem, which is a changing of attitudes toward men and manhood. Our culture is more comfortable regarding men as doofuses, as problems to be solved, as opposed to a generation ago, when men were considered to be rocks, or to be the ones solving the problems.
    For proof, one need only look at sitcoms, where men are invariably dorks who need their wise wives to guide them through life, or those horrific Sonic commercials.
    As you can tell, this is a hot-button issue for me. Thankfully, our pastor doesn't perpetuate it through the types of sermons you describe here, or the other bad examples in the comment section, such as the lingerie one. But surely I don't have the only good pastor left. Tell me I don't.

    • Dan Lilledahl says

      You don't! Last Sunday the pastor at my church didn't do a "Father's Day" but just continued on the series they have been doing for a few weeks. Afterward, he invited all the fathers to stand to be acknowledged on Father's Day and there was quite a bit of applause! It was a refreshing site and was quite inspiring!

    • says

      ditto! the sitcoms and absolutely horrific sonic commercials definitely a hot-button issue for me as well…. the first few years of my marriage, I did not have biblical respect for my husband as i should have…. and i don't blame it on the tv of course, but that sure didn't help! because even the 'generally clean' sitcoms.. the things we were trying to watch to avoid morally corrupt shows were sooooo unbiblical in this view! We did have a semon on that… pray that our eyes are opened!

    • says

      Unfortunately, it's not like women get the breaks on TV or in the way our culture regards them, either. I'm not sure whether I'd rather be considered a doofus or a sack of exploitable meat…

      In an ideal world, someone's status as doofus or solver of problems would not be dependent on what combination of sex chromosomes they had! :-)

  27. Jan Johnson says

    That's so funny! At our church this year the women all got roses for Mother's Day. Last week, the men all got work gloves for Father's day!

  28. says

    My priest intentionally doesn't preach a Mothers' Day or Fathers' Day sermon. On Mothers' Day, he says that because he's not a mother, there's pretty much no way he can begin to address motherhood. He is a father, but he doesn't preach about fatherhood on Fathers' Day, I guess to be fair.

    I want to have children but haven't been able to yet, so I appreciate not having to sit through a sermon about how mothers are practically perfect in every way. I think my priest knows that there are women in the congregation who feel the same way, so part of his not preaching about motherhood is being sensitive to that. He also insists that every woman in the congregation get a rose on Mothers' Day. He's a pretty great guy.

  29. says

    More like, "We're so blessed to have some fathers here with us this morning." Then not to be deterred from the cobbed series picked off the 'net, continues with a totally not-fathers' day message.

  30. says

    We all, moms and dads, got tape measures with the church logo. The mens' had a level on it. I don't think dads were bashed, but I've heard that before. I've also heard moms get chewed up and spit out on pop's day for not letting their husbands bethehead of the family. It's a good point.

  31. Corina says

    I think the other problem (at least in churches that I've been to) is that even when people have had mother issues (mother dying, mother not being there for whatever reason), many people have mother-figures in their lives and in the church. A lot of people don't have father figures if they don't have a father. I think women are socialized to be motherly (as an aunt or big sister) regardless if they have children of they're own. So even when Mother's Day is hard because they lost a mom, other women make up for it.

    I feel like it's rarely true for men to be fathers when they aren't actually fathers (this is a generalization, I know there are so many exceptions). What do you do on Father's Day when you have a church full of fatherless children (young and old)? It's really awkward. I think the contrast of Mother's Day to Father's Day sermons occur because people are starved for fathers and no one knows what to do about that.

    • oth in nj says

      very insightful, and perhaps a call for the "mature" (in whatever way) among us to step up to the plate and start remedying this – first by prayer for God's direction, and then by getting up and doing something.

  32. Erin says

    Where is the “Single person with no kids who is serving and striving to make the most of their singleness” day? We don’t get a day? I don’t know about most churches, but most churches that I’ve seen run on the man power of unmarried adults. My current church does for sure. And yet, it seems that 95% of the programming is geared towards families. And singles are asked to serve. That’s all fine and dandy and we have the availablitily to do that, but very rarely are we celebrated, rather we are told to be content and serve.

    All of this to say, I like Matt Chandler’s approach to Mother’s day. He addressed the fact that you don’t have to have biological children to be a mother. Eve means “mother of all” and she was called Eve before she had kids.So mothering isn’t about birthing. Mothering is abotu nurturing. It’s helping people discover who they have been created to be and how to get there. It’s taking care of the sick and broken people and having compassion and speaking life into people around us.

    I would imagine the same could be said about fathers. It’s not about having children. It’s about providing for your community. Offering protection. And setting the spiritual tone.

    So thank you to all the men, married, single, with babies and without, who lead. Who strive to be an example of the Father’s love. Who sacrifice to make sure their communities/families are healthy.

    • says

      Yay! I agree completely. My priest always talks on Mothers' Day about an female relative of his who never had children, but was a mother to him. That makes me and the other non-mothers feel good – like we're not incomplete for not having children.

    • Thea says

      This coming Sunday is Single Adult Sunday at my church. It's part of a theme though.
      Mother's Day
      Memorial Day/Baby Dedication
      Graduation Recognition
      Children's Sunday
      Father's Day
      Pattern much…

  33. David J says

    Our church got the gift thing just right this year. Dads got a Frisbee! Who doesn't love a Frisbee?

  34. says

    Not to mention most churches dismiss Sunday night service on Mother's Day to spend more time with mom…Dad is just not feeling the Sunday night dismissal for Dad. Iin fact, I got to preach on Father's Day evening…follows my last Sunday night gig…Super Bowl Sunday…I sense a pattern here.

  35. Meg says

    exactly why I love my church…. encouragement & building up for fathers, not just on fathers day, but all year long!

  36. says

    I've been saying that Father's Day is a second-rate holiday when compared to Mother's Day for a while. I even wrote about it in my post Fathers Always Get Left Out way back around Mother's Day. Let me summarize:

    Mother's day comes first every year
    Mother's day was invented long before Father's day
    Mother's day is based on incestuous necrophilia (you'll have to read my post…)
    There's no such thing as a 'Yo Daddy!' joke

    Now I can add "Mother's day sermons are nicer than Father's day sermons"… Man, life is rough for fathers. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. :)

  37. says

    Amen. Let's celebrate positive fatherhood. Maybe those fathers that aren't quite where they should be can be inspired by hearing about the fathers that are following their calling.

    • Meg says

      Alrighty, I feel like I really need to post this now (the word "calling" in the comment I just read was the final push). In the church I'm a member of, Christian masculinity has been a very prevalent theme — and in a good way. I'm a divorced mother of three little boys (all under the age of 5) who have been embraced by the men of this church. I truly believe it's one of the main reasons God led us to this church because my boys desperately need good men in their lives. Anyway, this is something that has come about from God speaking into the hearts of the pastor, elders, and other men of our church that I wanted to share:

      This is in the Nashville area, in case anyone is interested.

      Oh yes, our Father's Day sermon was awesome and actually motivated the men to look for opportunities to be positive influences in the lives of young men they come into contact with (their own sons, grandsons, their kids/grandkids friends, etc). I was moved to tears by listening to it.

  38. says

    i am proud to say that didn't happen on Sunday. Instead, the entire worship band was dads. Which i didn't realize until halfway through the first song, wondering why all the voices were so deep. So basically we made them all get up early, come to band practice and serve on their day. And then they stood up and we applauded. but they didn't get any presents.

  39. Angie says

    We had a great sermon about a rollercoaster and a recliner. The recliner represented the "Dad" who sat out life – observed but did not engage. The Rollercoaster repersented the "Dad" who engaged fully and shared experiences with their children. The lesson for all was "youre chilren will remember what you do, say, and are as a person so lets make it count". Kind of a team rallying cry if you will.
    I do agree somewhat though – maybe fathers day should be more special for Dads. However I think our lesson on Sunday was that its the thousands of tiny moments between fathers and children that make every day a father's day – if we work at it.

  40. says

    Yeah, definitely a double standard that extends well beyond father's day. Churches seem to take female sides on most issues – this from a woman.

    I'd say that more than "You're a beautiful flower" sermons for moms and "Cowboy up" sermons for dads, what the church REALLY needs is a preemptive "So You Think You can Parent?" Sermon for singles! Once you've hit the baby button you're typically already locked in to a certain behavioral pattern. Nothing like a little prep work.

    • oth in nj says

      church really is WAY too feminine (re: 21st c. American culture anyway) – listen to our worship songs – yes, God should be loved, but what happened to "onward Christian soldiers" – I know we don't want to associate ourselves with the insanely sinful era of the Crusades, so maybe not that song specifically. But is it totally a societal construct that boys/men want to step up to the plate (at least many of them) and "do" something – versus the lovey dovey side of Christianity. How about doing tough things for God – maybe that would make the whole thing more appealing??? (from an "older" married female, btw)

    • guest says

      As a single, I'd be okay with a sermon on good parenting, but not with the unfortunate title. Too many people try to shame singles into thinking they are too immature or irresponsible to be a parent when really they'd probably be no better or worse than anyone else out there given the chance. I already kind of hate being at church on both mothers and fathers day. It wouldn't help to be talked down to.

  41. says

    As a future dad(God willing) I think there should be some sort of reminder or a refocus to the fathers out there. I feel a lot of dads are no longer the center of the family, the support, and leader. They SHOULD be the role model for everyone in the family including his wife. It's not an easy task I'm sure, but I think that it should be a part of marital training. You need to be Christ centered both in marriage and in being a dad. Would an iPad be nice>? Most definitely. Being a good dad–there's an app for that! :-)

  42. says

    True, true, true. A fairly accurate accounting of the way we approach sermons on those special days. However, it is indicative of the way we have allowed culture to influence our philosophies of gender, ministry & worship. For the most part men need the continual firm reminder of their roll, calling, responsibilities & identity all balanced with a measure of positive encouragement a la’ “Wild Heart”. That way the mixed messages our culture sends along with the continual erosion of male identity may be stemmed long enough for true “maleness” & spiritual masculinity to be rediscovered & men to find the unique place God has prepared for them.

  43. British Liz says

    I don't have anything inspiring to say on this topic (though it made me laugh and I definitely have seen this in action!), but I just wanted to say thank you for helping us see God's truth in the "Be Sick Be Loved" sermon at Crossepointe – I just watched it here on the site and am going away with a treasured reminder that my "bowl" is something that I can take to Jesus and say "I need you" :)

  44. Calypso says

    Sunday, my pastor told the men to work on becoming more intimate with the heavenly Father, to seek Him continually, become vulnerable before Him, etc.

  45. Crystal says

    I appreciate the hard-nosed Father's Day sermons and wish my wayward husband had heard one yesterday. While I'm not a man-hater by any means, it seems that we let men get by with slacking on their responsibilities and the calling to leadership from Christ way too often. My husband left me and our two kids under 3 years of age 3 months ago. He's been a Christian since he was 4 but seems to not be listening at all right now. He has been writing and recording Christian music, but won't take care of his family. The song "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real says it all. It's all I was and need from him. Pastors, keep calling out our men and encouraging them to take their roles seriously. Us mom's seem to have it down already. ;) (j/k)

  46. Crystal says

    To add to my previous post, it was also one of the most difficult church experiences of my life yesterday to take my children to church without a dad on Father's day. As a friend greeted us at the door she said "you guys make me sad." I didn't even make it in the door before I had tears streaming down my face.

    • says

      That has to be one of the saddest stories I have ever heard in my life. What a great Friend.

      For what its worth, I teach 3-5th grade Sunday School and stopped celebrating Father's Day with the kids about 6 years ago. Too many kids don't have fathers who are willing to be actively envolved in their lives. It was soo depressing I just decided to ignore the holiday all together in my class. I figure the kids with Dads can celebrate at home and I have created a safe place for those without one.

  47. says

    My parents' pastor just continued his series on the armor of God. The controversy came in at the end: On Mother's Day, all the women recieved a bookmark. On Father's Day, the men got CANDY BARS!!. Talk about injustice!!!

    • Natasha says

      Exactly. Everyone knows that the women wouldn't have wanted candy bars of course (oh the dieting horror!) but they should have gotten individual cup yogurts or something… Maybe a little gift pack of crystal light tied with a bow? ;D

      (Joking aside, I'll take a sugar high over a page keeper any day!)

  48. says

    I have never heard this about Mother's Day/Father's Day sermons, but I have been saying this for years about certain conferences that may or may not have something to do with people of the female gender having faith and men doing what they have promised to do. Women show up and it's one big love fest, "You are amazing! Keep up the good work! Way to go!" Men, on the other hand, get this message, "Your family needs you! Man up! Repent!" I've never quite understood this phenomenon.

  49. Laura says

    As a loving daughter who is blessed with the best parents a child could ask for, I'll admit I usually skip church both days (gasp!) to spend time with my parents. I'm in college and rarely home. However, in things I read and hear and see, that disparity is very apparent. My parents are both amazing, but my dad is my hero. I'm 21 and still a daddy's girl. I suppose I can't imagine having an absent father and so I see the need to work against that, but I think the dads who brought their kids to church and are actively listening to the sermon are less likely to be the ones who need to hear how they need to "straighten up."

    I suppose more than having an opinion on this, I'd like to thank any fathers who read it. For every vomiting kid you've cleaned up after, every old car you've gotten running again, every cup of coffee you've poured during a desperate finals week, every hug, every "drive safe, honey, you know I worry every time you go out," and every really terrible joke, thank you! Even if your children don't realize it now, you're incredibly invaluable.

  50. Austin says

    Funny you mentioned this. A co-worker and I have been having this discussion since Mother's day anticipating what the message on Father's day would be. Even President Obama and past Presidents have gotten in on the act. He came out on Mother's day and praised moms for how great they are, which is true. Then on Father's day its all about getting your act together as men, which we should. I would just like someone, even the President, to say that there are some great Dads out there who are doing an awesome job and some Moms really need to step up and stop screwing up their kids. That being said, let us all be the best parents we can be and get our affirmation from our heavenly Father, not the President or our Pastor.

  51. says

    Sadly, the church I attend does not even mention Mother's Day, except during prayer when we thank God for our mothers. (We wouldn't want to offend those who aren't mothers, now would we?) But yep, the Father's Day sermon is usually like you said, but sometimes w/a twist . . . you know, a sermon that kind of motivates you to join Big Brothers of America or to become a foster parent, etc.

  52. Tiffany says

    At our church on Mother's Day, you get the pink pen/devotion combo for mom's. On Father's day it's the black pen/devo combo for dad's. I don't remember the Mother's Day sermon, but the Father's Day sermon was based in the story of Abraham and Isaac and the importance of dad's trusting fully in God. This post doesn't do it justice, but I have to say it was actually quite good.

    A message for dad's to rise up and be the leaders I think is great…..except that the ones that really needed to hear that probably weren't in your service.

    Me personally? I'd just like for my own family to tell me Happy Mother's Day, and we love you. And the best Mother's Day present EVER? They cleaned the house. The WHOLE house. THAT'S appreciation!

  53. says

    I totally agree and had said the exact same thing when at my church the men were not even told to stand up for recognition, while mothers day the women got presents while everyone congratulated them. Its kinda sad, but somehow it seems today more women are playing the roles of mothers and fathers nways.

  54. says

    So true!! It's comical, but I think it plays off of a lot of real life issues. Certainly not every family is like this, but in a lot of families, the mom is very much underappreciated and the dad is so consumed with making money for the family that they leave the family time behind.

  55. Gary says

    My pastor didn't preach about Mothers or Fathers on those days. However, he did take a few minutes before the sermon to honor them. For the Fathers, he had them stand and commented that we need to support and thank fathers more. He commented that society mocks and ridicules fathers (just watch TV). He went on to say that study after study shows that fathers are very important in raising children.

  56. Sean says

    Our pastor hit a good middle – he focused on giving “blessings” – using the story of Isaac blessing Jacob instead of Esau, as well as a few other examples.

    He started by appreciating dads, but it was a “do this better” sermon at heart, although a gentle one, which is different from “these are all the amazing things moms do” sermon. The instruction point on mothers’ day is “love your moms”, on fathers’ day it’s “here’s how to be a better dad”

  57. says

    If I were the sermon planner, I would invite Beth Moore to speak at church on Mother's Day and Donald Miller on Father's Day.

    I would ask Beth (can we call her "Beth" on here? I feel like we all know her so much better after Jenny's post) to speak about how all women need to focus on their relationships with God. I read recently that Christian culture sometimes puts undue emphasis on women being like the Proverbs 31 woman, for example, rather than focusing on them being conformed to the image of Christ. Mother's Day sermons sometimes perpetuate the mindset that to be a Godly woman, you have to be a wife and mom and fill certain cultural roles. I'd love to hear a sermon that encourages women to be like Christ, whether that's through loving their kids at home or through their jobs or through their ministries.

    I would ask Don (I know we can call him "Don," that's what he told Tripp and Tyler to talk about The Mentoring Project and give his Father's Day message he wrote on his blog, thanking the dads who are part of their kids' lives and encouraging more men to be "dads" to kids who don't have dads through mentoring initiatives.

  58. Dawn says

    Our Father's Day service was wonderful… It was about the most loving and wonderful father in the whole wide world! It was about GOD!! I loved it because I was abandoned and unloved by my father (until he was saved). My first husband decided that he loved drugs and alcohol more than me and our children (after 3 years of a great marriage) and my second husband found out that marriage was sacrifice and being a father to my sons was difficult; and after 8 months of marriage abandoned us.

    In my own world, Father's do not deserve an "atta boy" message. HOWEVER, I see there are quite a few godly husbands/fathers in my church, so they DO exist.

    God is the ONLY father who will never let you down and will never leave you nor forsake you. For me, Father's Day is about my Heavenly Father! (p.s. I have forgiven and love my earthly father very much and tell him every chance I get; we pick strawberries together every year as a family on Father's Day.)

  59. Beth says

    Our church however had an encouraging yet "get your butt in gear" sermon for Father's Day and not a single word was said on Mother's Day besides the obligatory "Happy Mother's Day."

  60. Hey Hey Hey says

    This is too funny. My pastor did preach this hard-nosed sermon about how the brothers need to man up. One example he gave of being a Godly father involved him laying hands on his kids (now grown) and praying for them while they slept. His daughter, who was sitting next to me leaned over and said, "yeah, he kept me awake with all that." Good times.

  61. KatR says

    Well, you don't hear a lot about a "crisis of motherlessness" or "deadbeat moms". I'm not saying they aren't out there, but typically if you have one parent who has hit the road, its dad. I mean, its not "Mama Was a Rolling Stone".

    • says

      Right… and yet for some reason, we still bash single moms for all our societal ills and praise single dads. Not that we shouldn't praise single dads– but we certainly shouldn't be blaming any parent who stayed with their kid.

      (Statistically speaking, about 18% of single parents are dads, so the crisis is 18% one of motherlessness. ;-) )

  62. says

    This is so true.

    On Mother's Day moms are held up on a pedestal at church (as well they should be) in recognition for all their self-sacrificing service during the year.

    On Father's Day dads would do well to skip Sunday morning altogether in order to avoid a brow beating about how they mucked up and last year and need to do better.

    Don't get be wrong, we all have faults to work on. But the one day you should be appreciated and honored for what you do too often sermons just call out what we didn't. That's like kicking a man while he's down. Bad form.

    Had the opportunity to honor a brother in Christ this weekend for having courage in the "every day stuff". It was awesome!

  63. Ana says

    At our last church, the pastor always did flowery, syrupy Mother's Day sermons but no special Father's Day sermons. After a couple of years, I started skipping church on Mother's Day because I have a crappy relationship with my mom, and couldn't handle these sermons that make every mother sound like a saint.

    We're at a new church now, and I'm very thankful that our pastor doesn't do special Mother's Day or Father's Day sermons.

  64. 7Yearprodigal says

    There definitely is a difference on how society and churches as well, in how they observe Father's/Mother's Day. Thankfully there is no political correctness in our church. Both sexes on their observed day are treated respectfully and without condescension. This year our church gave out complimentary compacts for the mothers and small swiss army like knives to the dads and then,..(horror of horrors to all the ultra fundamentalists out there) our pastor followed our church's tradition by stating there would be no evening services since it was Father's Day. And he encouraged all families to spend time together.

  65. Scott says

    I had this very conversation with my Mom about my uncle yesterday. Apparently the pastor at his church gave a sermon basically telling men that they need to get "it" together. I have several issues with this subject as a whole because once we start trying to get "it" together, we become legalistic. My oldest cousin left the sermon somewhat displeased with the message, hugged my uncle, and told him he was not in the group to whom was preached. His response (and I loved it) was that the men who needed to hear that we're for the most part not in attendance. Couldn't agree more!

  66. says

    I know kids that have been as damaged by their moms as by their dads – so I think both parents can use the tough love message . . . and I think both can use some praise too! Mom's seem to get more of it this day and age, you are still more likely to find a single parent family with a mom at the helm than the dad . . . but it definitely doesn't mean that all dads suck and all moms are angels, let's be real.

    In my ideal world it would go something more like this: Moms and Dads who love their kids and work hard to be a consistantly positive force in their lives – stand up, you deserve a hand for all you do – even when you stumble and fall! Now let's talk about how to make those stumbles less often and less hard, what does God/the Bible say about being a good parent? . . . . . (launch sermon here)

  67. says

    We hear the same statement each year, “Mother’s Day is a chance to honor our moms and wives, and Father’s Day is a chance for all the dads and husbands to repent.”

    Needless to say, I’m getting a little tired of that statement after almost five years.

  68. says

    At my church, not only did the fathers in the service have to stand up twice to be recognized for prayer, there was a male trio sitting on stools singing some song about how he taught me how to ride a bike, a 2 minute video presentation with random kid and adult members saying how much they loved their dad (complete with crayon-drawn pictures), and pre-packaged popcorn for every man on his way out.

  69. says

    Yep. The one I hear most is "forgive your father for the wrongs he's done to you." Hello… not all fathers have screwed their kids over. Let appreciate them for their hard work!

  70. says

    Sermons sure aren't the only place. Every marriage book we pick up to read together makes the husband out to be the villain of the situation. Even if they try to balance it with examples of women doing the wrong thing, there are always way more examples of the man being the bad guy.
    I have a wonderful husband and it bugs me that books, sermons, etc would assume that he is always the problem in our household.

  71. Johnny Klem says

    I had the most miraculous, best, fantastic, wonderful Father's Day any Dad could ever ask for. God had His plan and it was a doozy.

  72. Jeanne says

    The difference is they're also saying that Dads are all over the map, and there are some character things they should have to be good dads. On mother's day, they're painting a homogeneous picture of a woman who is selfless at all times, never raises her voice, psychically knows what her family needs and never fails to deliver, can cook like a chef, is more spiritual than Job, is content at all times, keeps a spotless house, and would never think of having a job outside of the house – and then praising that person. They aren't celebrating real human beings who happen to be female and have given birth, they are celebrating their ideal of a woman and by omission impugning those of us who will never measure up. I boycott church on mother's day because I just don't need someone hitting me with a God-stick and calling it a holiday.

    My husband got a Droid Incredible for father's day. He looked at me and said "did I get you anything for mother's day?" It's a little different in the wild than it is in the fantasy.

  73. John T says

    You are absolutely right. On Mother's Day, I preached about how great moms are from Proverbs 31. This past Sunday, I preached on Noah, from Genesis 9, and talked about how us fathers are far from perfect! Great point that you made. I will have to change this for next year.

  74. says

    i guess b/c men are supposed to be tougher we can take it and don't need all the love and attention on Father's Day but it would be nice to hear a sermon where dads are appreciated too and a kid's day would be a great idea too but I can only imagine the fire and brimstone kids would hear if that were to ever happen

  75. Bryan says

    Yea, our pastor addressed that phenomenon. Said he was not going to do it. Then turned it into more of a challenge that it is our destiny to be better. It was good. I bought it. Of coarse munching on free dried sausage sticks they gave out made it easier.

  76. says

    Ours went well. One of the Laymen spoke about the raising of his six (yes, six) children, and how when the oldest graduated High School, he had some regrets for spending too much focus on his business and not as much on the family. He encouraged the dads to be dads without regrets. Well done.

  77. Johnny C says


    That's exactly how it is at our church!

    For Mother's Day, we had the Sunday school kids sing several songs and take a rose to every mother/grandmother/female in the church and the sermons for all services were about the noble qualities of a mother and all of the pastors became teary eyed when they reminisced about their mothers. I have to admit, I was drawn in as well; there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

    For Father's day?

    You wouldn't have even known it was Father's Day from any of the songs/sermons/messages in the first service. Our assistant pastor did have a sermon in the last service though and it went something like this, "Fathers, why are you letting sin into your house?!?!? You need to lay the law down and be a real man, not like the men you are now!!"

    I did agree with him on many points and I do believe that many men (including myself) sometimes forget that we are called to be the prophets and leaders of our families and that God should be able to communicate through the head of the household for matters concerning the family. I'm not saying collaborating with your wife is not needed, but a man should feel the responsibility to always have a 24/7 link to God and to be held accountable for his families actions.

    But I digress.

    So I too noticed the stark difference between the emotions and attitudes of the two days. Do I mind too much though? No, not really. Besides, the only things dads get for Fathers day are socks and cologne.

  78. says

    I agree that men often get slapped around and rarely get any kudos. However, I have to say that growing up in the church I have observed that the vast majority of the time the mothers ARE forced into the position of spiritual family leadership because the men just don't step up. It seems like they don't find spirituality to be manly enough or something. In other news, I work in the church bookstore and on Mother's Day the shelves were overflowing with maternal merchandise. For Father's Day there weren't even cards. In fact, a lot of the Mother's Day stuff was still out.

  79. EmmaLee says

    I was actually pondering this very thing last Sunday and did my best to be encouraging and uplifting to the Dads I spoke to. Don't know why it hit me this year, but I've definitely wondered. Also, I don't know if the LOTR "What say you?" reference was intentional, but it was definitely there, my friend. Rock on.

  80. John Ferguson says

    obligatory link to article on 'Mothering Sunday is not Mother's day in many places'

    Actually, at my church we do the mums are great thing on Mothering Sunday, generally just for the children's address though, the sermon would tend to be just another sermon, and often fathers get forgotten at Father's day.

  81. 4Him1st says

    Great topic Jon! As a dad, I guess I do see the point and have experienced much of what you wrote about, but the harsh reality is that most guys are not stepping up to be the spiritual leaders of their homes or the church.

    A similar concern I have is the high percentage of high school boys who drop out of church. Our church recently honored about 30 high school graduates and there were probably about 5 guys in the group. Not sure what all issues are there, but we are seriously hurting our futures if we lose the young men….

  82. says

    We didn't have a Father's Day sermon, but there was a lot said about how awesome dads are. As someone who doesn't get along with her dad, all that "Dads are awesome!" talk really set me on edge. I was thankful there wasn' a whole sermon dedicated to Dad, because I may have had to sit in the lobby with my mp3 player.

  83. Jana says

    Jon, I'm starting to think that you're more obsessed with unicorns than JD from Scrubs.

    No bad thing. Just sayin'… :)

  84. says

    I couldn't tell you what our Mothers' Day sermon was about (although it was probably Daniel, since that was our last sermon series). I'm pretty sure that somebody said Happy Mothers' Day, and we thanked God for godly and loving mothers during the prayer, but that was it. Fathers' Day happened to be Missions Sunday this year, so the "sermon" (actually not a sermon but a sort of round table with our missionaries) was "Our Father's Heart for the World." There was a brief line about the day being a special day to celebrate fathers, those who will become fathers (I'm guessing they mean the youth and little boys) and those of us who have fathers (um…so everybody else????). Memorial Day gets more attention than either Mothers' or Fathers' Days…all the vets and active servicemen and women are asked to stand so we can honor and thank them with applause, and then sometimes the family of fallen vets and active servicemen and women serving overseas are asked to stand as well. Plus, there's always a tearjerking video–this year's featured an airman recalling his fallen comrades.

  85. says

    Never have you posted something more true, Jon. My own experience is that Mother's Day is a you-better-not-forget-to-lavish-every-mother-type-woman-in-your-life kinda day whereas Father's Day tends to communicate something along the lines of "Yo Dad, you're not too bad. Now get back to work." Perhaps my expectations are too high, considering my oldest is only six. Dare I hold out hope that when the kids are older, I'll receive a more wholehearted show of appreciation? :)

  86. says

    I would daresay that the preachers saying "Dads, get your act together!" are men themselves. And the preachers saying, "Moms, we love you," know what it's like to get "the glare" from their wives (and mothers), so they say nothing other than warm-fuzzies. Perhaps if a woman were to speak on Mother's Day (GASP!) it would look a little different… who knows, maybe even challenging. Instead of, "Mothers, you're great, you don't have to change a thing," maybe some women could hear, "Wives–how can you love your husband better today than you did yesterday? Moms, how can you change the world through your house this year? How can you create an environment that helps your children become the people God wants them to be?"

    Or maybe that's just me…

  87. says

    One reason I like our pastor … can't remember the last time I hear him speak a "holiday" specific message outside of Christmas and Easter. He just keeps it real.

  88. Justin V says

    I’ve been saying this for years, so it’s nice to see a little confirmation. My variation was “Mother’s Day = Men, treat women better! She’s an angel!” “Father’s Day = Look, deadbeat – You screw up once more and your kids will be drug addicts and your wife will descend into reading nothing but books with Fabio on the front.”

    The disparity was always kind of tiring. Then I heard John MacArthur on the radio prior to Mother’s Day describing the “Biblical Woman.” He wasn’t describing a real women, he was describing a Disney Princess — or maybe Belldandy for those who ever saw “Ah my Goddess.” So at least the unrealness can go both ways on a rare occasion.

  89. says

    I think the scariest part of your message is that you want an apple product… If you preached that from the pulpit, I'd have to leave your church. Steve Jobs is one of Satan's best friends don't you know?

  90. says

    Maybe the problem isn't with the sermon, but with the listener. Maybe if there were more dads who could nod in agreement, the pastor could give a more affirming message. Maybe if there were more men who could listen to a message about being the spiritual head of their household and hear it as a checklist of things they've been doing (and not feel guilt over the things they haven't), maybe pastors would have to preach it every year.

    • Rapid says

      Are you missing the humor in this? Do you have to make this into another “slam” on us? Kick back and laugh at the obvious contrast.

  91. steve says

    Just talked about this on Sunday with my pastor. The yearly stark contrast in message between celebration of mothers and a call for responsible or more effective fathers makes me sad and wholly unappreciated as one who holds this as my greatest passion. While there is no question that there are fathers that have failed in their role in the family, I believe there are mothers who have as well. By listening to the sermons at church, It would seem as if men are the root cause for the deterioration of the family. Just once, I would love to celebrate that passion which is shared overwhelmingly by the fathers I've known in my life – a passion and contribution that I know was planted in us by the Father of us all.

  92. sara says

    I seriously despise father's day messages. i dare any pastor out there to devote one whole sermon to talking about how wonderful men are and how vital they are to our homes and churches. i'm not holding my breath.

  93. says

    So incredibly true. I, too, haven't noticed until now though.

    Maybe it's because Fathers have always been associated with bringing home the bacon and Mothers have been associated with running the household. I think people are seriously just now catching on that having a father be an integral part of the household is just as important.

    Is it fair? No. Is it accurate? Yes.

  94. says

    I think it stems from the fact that in general moms feel under appreciated and that men are vital to the family but not just men who are there in body. Men who are willing to discipline, train, and love his children not just when it’s easy or convenient. I happily have a husband who works hard for his family and does the laundry and disciplines.

  95. says

    I've never observed this phenomenon. Our preacher has never given a so-called "dad-bashing" sermon: this year he just worked aspects of Father's Day into a sermon about not rejecting Christ because he brings scary change.

  96. says

    As a father, I've always felt sort of condemned for not being there ALL the time for my family. At the same time I have also felt condemned at times for being in between jobs as a father. It seems like we can't win. We just have to wake up, get our tie, accept our church admonishment and go back home. Fortunately, I didn't get that THIS year. Amen!

  97. says

    Had a really good, uplifting, inspirational-without-browbeating sermon about earthly fathers as powerful shapers of their children's understanding of the Heavenly Father. My father certainly shaped mine. Wish he were still this-side so I could've told him so.

  98. Ryan Vargas says

    Could not help but laugh when I read this as I had the exact same talk with my wife on the way home from church on Sunday!!!

  99. says

    On mothers day our pastor talked about how families came become our idols. . . fathers day was about forgiveness. No real mother or father specific sermons.

    Anyway, since when did we start going to church so that we can feel good about ourselves?

  100. says

    I attend a very small church. Our pastor forgot Mother's Day until my wife and I mentioned it, at which point they gave the two mothers who hadn't yet left — my wife being one — their roses. He also forgot Father's Day until we mentioned it during our shared lunch.

    Perhaps the reason for mothers being lifted up and encouraged is because they don't receive enough recognition and praise for all that they endure. After all, it's not often that kids respect their mothers as much or as often as they deserve.

    We, as fathers, on the other hand, are expected to hold our heads up high and take the punches. After all, we're men and we are supposed to roar like lions and be the figurehead that drives our family ship forward.

    Wouldn't it be nice if every church had the fathers stand and applauded them for the love they show their kids and the hard work they go to to be good role models and to stamp their kids with how to treat others, how to have good attitudes and what it means to be a child of God. :)

  101. oldefashionedgirl says

    Yeah, we didn't even mention Father's Day :P There was a little note in the bulletin, but that was all.

  102. Gail says

    My husband said that exact thing last week. As a mom (receiving the praise and adoration – haha) I feel badly about that.

  103. says

    Our church has a father/son co-pastor team. Apparently there had been some discussion between the two concerning what is appropriate to for the church to give to fathers on Dad's day. The father suggested a traditional boutonnière for the dads' lapels. The son replied, "Dad, men don't like flowers." I would add that no one even had a lapel. A boutonnière on a cotton t-shirt is both bad fashion and unnecessary discomfort. They gave out candy bars instead.
    There actually is a kid's day–October 11th. I celebrated it last year by letting my two little boys eat popsicles in a bubble bath and other random, fun things. Now I'm committed…my seven year old asks me monthly when kid's day is coming again.

  104. Liz says

    I totally noticed that. Unfortunately, it had to happen the first time I was able to bring my dad to church. I was thinking that it was a day that they were going to honor dads, instead they ended up chastising them. My dad has always been a great father, so I hate that the message was, "hey, if you didn't have a good dad, you always have God, your Father." I felt terrible. I had been praying for months that my dad would come to church and that's what he had to hear. The pastor should have just rubbed it in his face and said, "Yup, you're not good enough. That's why we like God." And you wonder why some people don't like the church. :(

  105. says

    I know what you mean. I have attended churches that do that. Thankfully, my current church doesn't. Our pastor's wife spoke on Mother's Day. It was a sermon that was encouraging to women and not one of praise about women. For Father's Day, our pastor just continued on with our current series. It was a sermon that challenged men and women.

  106. says

    I don’t know if this has been said. There are a lot of comments to comb through.

    I wonder if dads get a beating because the New Testament never technically addresses moms. However, as my pastor pointed out, aren’t the two parents one flesh? Yes, the father is the spiritual leader of the house. Yes, mothers or women in general don’t get the praise they deserve. However, why doesn’t anyone ever address the single parents on respective parent’s days? Or the single without kids?

    We’re all supposed to take a role in the body– teaching and encouraging one another no matter the age. Moms screw up. Dads screw up. Folks without kids screw up. Singles screw up. We’re all not immune. How great is it that God saved us despite all of that?

  107. Not So Big Al says

    For me it was not an iPad, but an iPhone and not a giggle, but an eye roll…had a great Fathers day though!

  108. says

    Thank you for the exposee!! My husband and I have noted this for years, to the point where neither of us want to go to church on Father's Day! Men get a double-whammy, because they're attacked on Mother's Day AND Father's Day. Ok, maybe fathers need some gritty challenges, but so do moms. And moms need encouragment, but so do dads. I can say this as a wife, a mom, and now, a grandma (yeeks).

    Thankfully, this year, our pastor focused on our need to seek God as our Father. Let's have another piece of That!

  109. guest says

    An observation – aren't these Fathers Day sermons and commercials/tv shows where dads (men) are portrayed as buffoons mostly created by men? Not saying the depictions are accurate, but as women are often most critical of other women (and mothers of other mothers) it follows that men would behave in a similar fashion, no?

  110. says

    I saw this happen in a church I worked at once. Mothers day was a lovefest, and all mothers were placed on a pedestal right next to Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc, and the Virgin Mary.

    Then came Fathers Day, and the special program was designed specifically to tell fathers just how badly they were screwing things up.

    Not coincidentally, a few weeks later the pastor complained about the low attendance at the Fathers Day function.

  111. Arian says

    I'm a Mom, and this issue has rather annoyed me for years. Mothers aren't saints because we're sugar and spice and everything nice, and all fathers can't be entwined with the shortfalls of deadbeat dad's. Somewhere in most churches, there's the embedded belief that women are spiritual leaders because men are slackers. I think it's often because the message and the ministry are geared toward women, and it's unfortunate. Of course, I also believe that every worship time, whether on a holiday or not, ought to center on God and not us people anyway.

  112. Schmoin says

    My dad pointed this out to me last sunday morning. He predicted the entire sermon, and was exactly right. Poor dads. they always get a bad rep in movies and tv shows too.

  113. Nancy says

    From a single mom of three sons, whose husband walked out after 22 years of marriage because "I'm not happy and life's too short not to be happy", sadly, I can say there is a reason for that difference in sermons. And this Father's Day came two short Sundays after our Pastor's resignation was read, having been caught in" unproper conduct" with one of the church secretaries!! (He had served 12 years after coming due to the resignation of the previous pastor for the same reason!!) My oldest son (25) is married and has a 5 month old baby, and my greatest fear, that I'm in constant prayer about, is that he doesn't do the same thing one day. And my youngest son (20) is still trying to get his life on track with God, the justice system, his future, etc. due to the fallout and trauma of not having a father to guide him and look up to here on earth from 5th grade on.

  114. A. R. Dessin says

    On Mother's Day the commendation of Mothers is often phrased as a backhanded diatribe about how women should be stay at home moms. And the fact that men are challenged shows that pastors at least believe them capable of something more. The rhetoric of the church at large overwhelmingly favors men in that they are usually lauded as somehow more important to the family. Indeed, the paradox of holding up men as the most integral to the family while also insisting that women give up any sort of career and live solely for the domestic is one of great confusion. If we're not to work outside the home, but are merely second rate inside the home what is the point of our existence?

  115. Cheryl says

    I totally noticed this phenomenon too! But this post reminds me of a billboard I saw around town when we lived in VA near Petersburg. It was a picture of a man sleeping on the couch with his pre-k aged daughter sleeping soundly on his chest. It read: Have you been a father today? I thought is was interesting on several levels. First, I immediately thought to myself, "They totally don't need to make a billboard like that for moms. Sure, there are some clunkers out there, but on the whole, moms are pulling their weight and too often the weight of the father 24/7. No mom (or VERY few) need a billboard to remind them of their responsibilities." Secondly, the picture on the billboard seemed to indicate that to fulfill your "fatherly duties" you need merely nap on the couch with your little one and "whammo!" you're a DAD! Seriously, the guy couldn't have been at least reading a book to the kid on the couch?!

  116. Cheryl says

    Anyway, I think that's why moms get the royal treatment on Mother's Day and dads get the "get off the couch and DO something!" treatment on Father's Day. While stereotypes often fall short in describing individuals, they do come about for a reason. I'm just sayin'. . .

  117. Dawn in NJ says

    And by the way, I heard it said recently the mother's day and father's day was purely a creation of a Hallmark/card company so they could increase sales! :P

  118. Marc says

    My wife and I both grew up with dysfunctional, borderline mentally-ill mothers. We also both grew up with weak, checked-out fathers. I don't know what came first, the chicken or the egg. If our dads were stronger men, perhaps our moms could have been kept in check. But perhaps if the moms weren't manipulative and exasperating, our dads could have stood a chance.

    Point is…Dads do make a huge difference and need to be strongly encouraged to lead their families – and equipped to do so even in less than ideal circumstances. But, we shouldn't just let Moms off the hook with flowery praise…there are plenty of Moms who have a huge hand in potentially screwing up their families. Perhaps we need more than just annual sermons of encouragement – maybe we could all use training and equipping.

  119. Jennifer Trotter says

    I have no idea what the content of the service was for Mother's or Father's day was as I actively avoid attending on these days. I do not go to *worship services* for a Hallmark experience or for family therapy. The tendency to make the intact nuclear family a virtual idol in modern american church culture whigs me out – not to mention all to often makes it difficult to feel comfortable in my own skin while on church property. Thankfully I've found a congregation to worship w/ that avoids the worst of these tendencies but had to abandon my church-group of origin to do so.

    Singleness, lack of offspring, never planning to be a stay-at-home mom, expecting to be treated as an equal in any romantic relationship (including marriage), . . . *not* sins. At all. Ever. Or necessarily even state of woe. Jesus was single. Pr. 31 woman had a career.

    (and I realize that I may have come across as a bitter single family-hating griper . . . and maybe I am, occasionally. If I am, the church had a hand in making me that way. But mostly I love my great mom and dad who both worked hard to provide and nurture and teach my brother and me. They deserve mucho love and respect. And I give it to them. But that is not the point of worship services.)

  120. Johnson says

    The other day my pastor looked at me and the first thing he said was, "Men need to step up more". And kind of tongue-in-cheek i replied, "Nah.. i think we step up plenty", to which he muttered, "That's why we have so many problems". I'm tired of being expected to lead in leading haha… enough already lol

  121. Virginia says

    In my church, the pastor confines his remarks about Mother's Day to the children's time. On Father's Day, however, the whole sermon revolves around fathers (usually his own father in particular) and how important they are. Being a mother, I feel slighted. I wish he would treat both days equally. I think it best to say a few words of appreciation and leave it at that. There are always some people in the sanctuary who are going to feel bad because they just lost a mom or dad, or they had a bad relationship with a mom or dad.

  122. Sadie says

    I am so glad that our church stopped the Mother of the year awards and the Father of the year awards. Now we acknowledge fathers/men with a can of "Dad's Root beer" and mothers with a rose.
    I will say that on Mother's day two years ago we got my Father an iPod classic. I know it was kinda messed up but our goal was to provide mother with music in the office (where they both work) that didn't drive her crazy day in and day out. Now the music is truly random.

  123. Karla says

    My Uncle was not a church person. He decided to go with my Aunt on Mother's Day. The sermon was, "It is Mom's fault that Dad isn't in church."

    My Uncle was not impressed.

  124. Karla says

    Have any of you been to a church that gives Oldest Mom and Youngest Mom awards? These have sort of gone out of style for a couple of reasons. One reason is that the preacher or some other sap has to get up and start yelling out ages for women to admit to. "Every mom over the age of 50 please stand." Then they start weeding them out, having the younger ones sit. Once I saw a tie in one of these fiascoes. The preacher got flustered and gave the ONE gift to a woman in the choir because she was closer. "Of course..the choir members get everything." It was a mess.

    The 'youngest mother' used to be perfectly innocent but not it could be someone as young as 13. AWKWARD!

    I'd prefer no acknowledgment of Hallmark holidays in church. Well, come to think of it, I'm not all that happy with what goes on at Christmas either.

    • A father says

      The underpinning being that women are weak, and easily agreeable to the church thus valuable as a part of the flock. Men are not, and must be chastised for not being “yes men” The best Christian man says yes.

  125. ElusiveTurkey says

    It just goes to show you that feminism has creeped into the church as well: women are goddesses, men are idiots. No wonder we feel the need to whip men into shape if the entire world assumes and expects them all to act like fools. Maybe if we all stopped worshiping women simply for being born with two x chromosomes and respected men as the heads of their households, we wouldn’t NEED to tell them to cowboy up — they’d already be doing it. And maybe if we gave women the constructive criticism everyone needs instead of encouraging them to be prideful in themselves, they would be better supporters/encouragers/helpers to their husbands instead of emasculating them.

  126. Mom says

    At least us moms are hearing it somewhere. Today is Mother’s Day. My kids are bickering, my house is a mess (so is the car), and I’m trying to plan what I’m going to make for dinner. My husband is in the bedroom, taking a nap. I’m sorry, but I have more respect for the father of my children to let his “special day” be like this. So yeah, I don’t mind being told I’m amazing and getting handed a nice rose. At least I’m getting flowers from someone.

  127. says

    Excellent point, Jon! I’m really not comfortable with the trend of pastors beating up on men from the pulpit. Some men say it’s great and they need it, but it just seems odd to me.


  1. [...] The Wild Difference Between a Mother’s Day Sermon and a Father’s Day Sermon One feels like a Lifetime movie, the other an episode of “Scared Straight,” where high school students are forced to listen to convicts yell at them about their lives.  Dads, am I wrong? Do you need to cry on my shoulder at the “Wild at Heart,” live like William Wallace style sermon you received two days ago? Moms, am I wrong? [...]

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