Do you faithfully attend worship when you are out of town on vacation or a trip? When I was young, people in our church would bring a bulletin back from the church they visited when they were out of town. When they did this, they got attendance credit, which allowed people to get perfect attendance at Sunday School for years.
I realize the culture has changed as has worship attendance patterns in the church. But Christians miss out when they aren’t faithful to regular weekly worship. Worship sets a tone of purpose and gratitude in our lives. It sets us up for the week ahead. Faithful attendance in corporate worship reminds us who is in truly in charge of our lives, it gives us a spiritual boost, it helps us stay grounded in a ever increasing ungrounded world, it keeps us connected to God and a community.
When we are traveling, we always try to make it a priority to be in worship. Here are reasons why:
- It reminds all of us that God is first in our lives – even in the midst of our fun vacation trip. We praise God for the opportunity we have to be gone traveling and a million other things, so, we pause to worship.
- It teaches my young daughters that worship is a commitment to Christ, not something that we do when nothing else seems to be on the calendar.
- It encourages the church – the one we are connecting with for worship. It’s always nice to be encouraged by comments from a visiting person in that faith community. We can seek out the pastor or other leader, let them know we are there and that they are doing good and we appreciate them and their ministry.
- It allows for a unique perspective for our own church. We have an opportunity to feel like a guest, to take in the best practices for welcoming, leading, serving. We can observe things that help in your own local church ministry setting.
How do you do find a place to go to church? Here’s some of what I do:
I seek out a church in the place we are going to be and find out the time and location.
I attend and absorb the interactions, the ideas, the publications, etc.
I sit back, relax and worship.
I thank and encourage the leaders after the service.
I stay committed to weekly worship and model it for our family. Of course I know you don’t have to be in church to worship God, but I want to, as often as possible, not give up putting a priority on worship just because we are on a trip, at a game, an event or something else.
I understand there are times when you physically can’t make it to worship. I know there are many believing home bound Christians who would do anything to be a part of corporate worship again! I also know you don’t have to be in a church building with others to worship. But I believe Christians should desire weekly corporate worship every time they can – whether in town at their home church or not.
On a recent trip with our family, we were literally unable to locate a church with a service that would allow us to attend that Sunday morning. What did we do? We pulled our car up to a beautiful lake overview area, put a worship song CD into the system, read some Scripture and a devotion, and prayed together. It was a marvelous worship time and we kept referencing back to it most of the day. God’s presence was near as we made time to worship Him. I praise the Lord for that great experience.
This past week, we attended an amazing little church 1000 miles from our home. As we walked in there were probably 4 or 5 people who made sure that our two daughters got a stuffed bear they had there to give away to kids who were guests in worship. We enjoyed being with the people. We worshipped, sang, listened, engaged and connected. Afterwards, the people we sat next to, took us out to lunch.
I try never to schedule anything on Sunday morning except to be in worship.
What are your thoughts?