Mother's Day, USAToday, and Church Attendance
Today, the full story is online.
The intro was great:
Hold the chocolate and flowers. Hold the brunch reservations. What mom may really want for Mother's Day is for the whole gang to go to church first.
Here is the LifeWay Research data:
A new survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors finds Mother's Day ranks right after Easter and Christmas in peak church attendance.
Father's Day, however, is near the bottom of the poll although both holidays were founded as church events more than a century ago.
"It seems that on Mother's Day, moms say, 'Let's all go to church.' But on Father's Day, dads say, 'I'm going to go play golf,' " says Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, the Nashville-based Christian research firm that conducted the survey.
The story focused on this interesting facet of our research:
There is one category of churches where Mother's Day is No. 1, according to the LifeWay survey: Tiny churches with average Sunday attendance under 40 people, such as Nashville's First Wesleyan Church.
Pastor David Gould, 42, says it's an inner-city congregation, "where the mothers and grandmothers are the fixture of the community. Our numbers jump up with folks who will come with their moms to honor them this Sunday, even if they go to a different, bigger church other Sundays.
"Most people say their spiritual life and foundation comes from their mother," Gould says.
I also thought this church, starting on Mother's Day, is fascinating:
Pastor Geoffrey Mitchell, 36, is counting on those motivations. He's picked this Mother's Day for the debut worship service for a new Disciples of Christ congregation, Big Life Community Church in Oswego, Ill.
His reasons are both pragmatic and spiritual.
It's the ideal day for attracting the husbands and the 20-something kids of moms in their 50s, the two demographics with the lowest church attendance, Mitchell says.
And mothers offer powerful examples of a life of faith, the pastor says.
Mitchell's sermon theme will begin with his own mother, Margie Mitchell, 62, a stroke survivor who still leads Bible study and youth group activities. He calls her an ideal illustration for how "we should never let our circumstances interfere with finding faith here and now."