Summer is here, and many Christians will find themselves traveling for vacation. Some will head to Disney, others to the beach, and some will seek refuge from the heat and crowds by going to the mountains. Regardless of where your travels take you this summer, there is one thing all vacation destinations are sure to have in common: local churches.
Many people do not think about going to church while on vacation. After all, Sunday morning at the pool sounds a lot better than Sunday morning in the pew. Moreover, for those of us who attend church every single week, taking a Sunday “off” is certainly tempting.
Without being legalistic, here are eight reasons why you should consider attending a local church while you are on vacation this summer:
- You gain a bigger view of God’s kingdom. When we worship in the same building in the same town week after week, it is easy to put God in a box that looks a lot like our own local church. We forget that God is literally being worshiped all over the globe. Finding a local church to attend in your vacation town is a great way to expand your view of what God is doing outside of your own context.
- You get to meet your “family.” Truth be told, some of us go on vacation to get away from our relatives, but if you attend a local church while you are away, it is a great way to get to know your brothers and sisters in Christ in other places. We are all part of the body of Christ, and that body is bigger than you think.
- You receive encouragement from God’s Word. Whether you are at home or on the road, there is never a time when you do not need to hear from God. Attending a gospel-believing, Bible-preaching church while you are on vacation gives you one more opportunity to find the life-giving power of God’s Word. That is a lot better than finding dead seashells.
- You remember what it is like to be a visitor. Many of us have attended our own church for so long that we have forgotten what it feels like to be a guest. Yet when you go to church while on vacation, the tables are turned. You have to search for a good church. You have to figure out where to park. You have to find a seat that is not claimed by Ms. Edna. The list goes on. It can be a daunting task, but it can be very helpful one. Being a guest while you are away is a great way to be more guest-friendly back home.
- You can gain some fresh ideas for your own church. Maybe you like their connection card. Maybe you loved how they treated first-time guests. Maybe you saw an announcement for an event that would work well back home, or maybe you were enlightened about a new type of ministry that you had never considered. Going to a new church is a great way to gain some fresh perspective and ideas.
- You can experience true rest. Most people that do not attend church while on vacation do so because they want more time to rest. But true rest is not found away from the Lord. It is found in the Lord. Sure, sleeping in is nice, but spending time in worship and Bible study with other believers gives you more energy than an extra hour of sleep.
- You model to your family the importance of corporate worship. When you make the effort to go to church while you are on vacation, you teach your family that worship is not something you do because you have to. You do it because you want to. Church is more than your duty. It is your delight. (And for us pastors, we can teach our families that church is more than our job. It is our joy.)
- You can be a blessing to the local church there. Corporate worship is not a consumer affair. Do not just go, sit in the back, and rush out as soon as the service is over. You are part of the body of Christ. Be a blessing to the church you attend. Encourage them in what they are doing well. Give to the offering. Meet new people. Pray for them. Use this opportunity to refresh the hearts of the saints.
I know, I know. You can encounter God on a seashore as much as you can in a sanctuary, and you do not have to attend church every Sunday to get into heaven. At the same time, if we love Jesus, we will love being with Jesus’ Church.
So if you take some time to get away this summer, get away from the busyness. Get away from work. Get away from school. Get away from the mundane. But do not get away from the church while you are on vacation.