Health and Growth

How to Acknowledge Fathers on Father’s Day Sunday: A Guide for Pastors

Unsure how exactly to integrate church dads into your Father's Day service? Use these 7 tips to make your church's Father's Day service memorable and meaningful.

How to Acknowledge Fathers on Father’s Day Sunday: A Guide for Pastors
by

Paul Maxwell

Father’s Day provides the church with a unique opportunity to honor the ideals of fatherhood that God prescribes for male family men.

Churches can sometimes get confused about the right way to carry out a Father’s Day celebration. On the one hand, services that double down too much on the “manliness” optics can feel a little tacky. On the other hand, services that don’t celebrate fathers at all can alienate the fathers and families in the audience who do want to emphasize the importance and value of fatherhood in the family.

In this article, we will lay out eight guidelines to help your church perfectly execute Father’s Day so that families have the best experience on Father’s Day Sunday.

1. Know what fatherhood is (and ought to be)

Fatherhood is when a man takes responsibility for his household and loves his children by providing for them, caring for them, and teaching them to be law-abiding and responsible adults.

This may sound like a low bar to some, but it requires an ever-vigilant effort by men, to whom their children look to for moral guidance, physical sustenance, and monetary assistance even into late adolescence.

It’s best to be very clear about what fatherhood is so that when you honor fathers, you can name specific virtues that these men exemplify (and strive to exemplify), as well as the social goods the attainment of these virtues produce.

It’s easy to celebrate “fatherhood” when you never explain exactly what it is, or only use generic examples of things fathers have done.

But it’s easier (and more honorable) to honor fathers when they are honored for specific reasons related to the well-being of their wife and children, as well as the well-being of the church in which they raise their families.

2. Recognize that fatherhood is surrounded by grief

Many church members face the tragedy of evil infiltrated through the angle of fatherhood in their lives.

This is as unfortunate as it is common.

Fathers have died.

Fathers have lost children.

Fathers have been abusers.

Fathers have left, without a note or a call.

Fathers have gone off and started second families.

For different reasons, some men have not been able to have children.

These are tales as old as time.

To celebrate fatherhood without acknowledging its opposite is to bring a naive sense of surrealism to fatherhood, which doesn’t celebrate the sacrifice other fathers make.

When a father sticks around and treats his wife and kids well, things go well.

When he doesn’t, the wound is often unspeakably deep.

Recognize this as part of your recognition of fathers.

3. Set aside a time to honor fathers specifically

While it may seem like enough to preach on fatherhood or acknowledge that it’s Father’s Day in your church, it is not sufficient merely to mention these things.

You don’t have to call out every single father by name (in a growing church, this is not feasible).

Instead, take a moment to honor fathers in your congregation by thanking them for the sacrifices they make, embellishing on the social and communal good their sacrifices yield for the church and families in the church, and the value of continuing to pursue the attainment of the virtues of fatherhood as they continue to grow up into their roles, young and old.

Setting aside a specific time like this enables the church as a whole to turn to the fathers with them and have a special moment giving thanks to God for good male role models in their lives.

One of the best times to do this in your church service is during your church announcements. By setting aside a few moments, you can take a moment to acknowledge the grief some are experiencing, and to honor the fathers in your church who have been faithful to pursue the ideals of fatherhood.

4. Coordinate gift boxes for fathers

It’s not always easy to buy a Father’s Day gift for dads.

In order to help facilitate this, the church can provide an opportunity for members and visitors to register and pay for a special gift for the dad or father figure they bring to church, which they can pick up at your front desk or kiosk.

This box can include any kind of manly items—for example, something with leather, or that is useful, or a book, or a particularly manly movie.

Whatever the box includes, it should also include a special note to the father to whom it is given, which serves as a Father’s Day card.

By providing this service, the church becomes the go-to place for families in the church to express affection to their families on key occasions, which boosts engagement.

If the box is good (and it is very important that the box be good), participants will want to sign up for other holidays, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, and the like.

5. Host a Father’s Day picnic

Men love food.

It’s that simple.

If you cook good, hearty, meaty food, men will show up.

Food is the #1 way to incentivize a male attendance at an event.

To get a family to participate, hype this event before Father’s Day so that families register (both for gift boxes and for the picnic event). For what it’s worth, we make church events and registration for churches easy like a piece of cake.

You can plan an event that is big and fun enough that families can have small get-togethers at home afterward to reflect on personal stories and show appreciation for their fathers at home.

This picnic should have food, games, and a photographer taking pictures of every dad or father figure. This is a great way to capture the moment, and share photos on social media

6. Preach on fatherhood

Father’s Day is a great opportunity to preach on Fatherhood.

Here is a list of 36 bible verses on Father’s Day and 8 themes on fatherhood in Scripture.

Use this as a starting point to begin thinking about themes and passages on which you could preach for Father’s Day.

One of the easiest ways to preach on fatherhood is to preach about the fatherhood of God.

As a Father, God helps us in many ways.

God as Father is merciful:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

God as Father disciplines:

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all” (Hebrews 12:7-8).

God as Father sacrifices:

“For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:22-25).

God as Father instructs:

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,  encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:11-12).

God as Father loves:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).

Reflecting these qualities of God in earthly fatherhood is imperative for a healthy church, not only because it produces healthy families, but because it reflects the wisdom and design of our loving heavenly Father.

7. Don’t preach yourself as the exemplary father

We’ve all heard the sermon where the preacher makes himself out to be a hero.

“A good father is patient with his kids. For example, my kids are so unruly! And I’m very patient with them. Be like that!”

You might be patient with your kids, but construing yourself as the hero will turn off your audience to your message.

Instead, be self-deprecating—not distractingly self-deprecating, but make yourself out as the one who needs patience.

Explain how a father figure in your own life exemplified the fatherly virtues to produce a personal, psychological, social, or spiritual good in you.

Over to you

Acknowledging fathers well on Father’s Day is not too complicated.

Just follow these simple 8 steps:

  1. Know what fatherhood is (and ought to be)
  2. Set aside a time to honor fathers specifically
  3. Coordinate gift boxes for fathers
  4. Make the service truly masculine
  5. Host a father’s day picnic
  6. Preach on fatherhood
  7. Recognize that fatherhood is surrounded by grief for many
  8. Don’t preach yourself as the exemplary father

If you follow these steps, your congregation will feel very grateful that you took a lot of the pressure off of Father’s Day by making plans at the church to celebrate fathers in a uniquely masculine way. Furthermore, fathers will feel appreciated, and the church as a whole will feel a greater sense of buy-in to the spiritual good your church is producing for families.

Why Write Church Donation Letters?

In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.

Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.

Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.

Church Donation Letter Samples

Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.

With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.  

To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.

Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Sincerely,
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving.  So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.

Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Sincerely,
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.

Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.  

Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
Sincerely,
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.

Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sincerely,
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.

Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
Sincerely,
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.

What’s next?

Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.

How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.

Blog

How to Acknowledge Fathers on Father’s Day Sunday: A Guide for Pastors