When On Vacation, Don’t Take a Break from Worship
Psalm 115 warns that we become like what we worship. The truth of this is seen in the teen who starts dressing and talking more like his or her favorite celebrity. As we get older, we are still shaped by what we worship, but it often takes different forms. One of the landmarks at our church is worship. Landmarks help keep you pointed in the right direction when you are traveling. In the same way, right worship of God keeps us going in the right direction on our journey to know Christ. Essentially, worship is showing you value something. It’s saying no to things you value less in order to give time or attention or money to the things you really value. Everyone, no matter his or her beliefs, worships; we just have different objects of our worship.
This is all to say, as you travel, camp and enjoy your vacations this summer I’d encourage you not to take a break from worshipping our God. If we truly love him, why would we want to take a break from worshiping him? Let’s talk about a few benefits of worshiping while on vacation. Why should we do it?
To help pass our faith on to the next generation
I believe one of the keys to raising children who love God is to be parents who genuinely love God. When we worship God while on vacation, it helps to show our children we really value him. One constant when my family traveled was Sunday worship. So whether we went to the outdoor amphitheater at a National Park, or listened to a cassette recording of a sermon and sang from old hymnals, or looked up a church to visit in the local phonebook, we worshiped God. From a young age, my parents showed me that worshiping God is a privilege that we enjoy even when no one (or at least our pastor) is watching.
To be encouraged by how God is at work elsewhere.
Often I only think of how God is at work in my own area of life. So when I go to a different church and hear stories of how God is at work there it’s a refreshing reminder of how much bigger God is than me! He’s at work in so many ways beyond what I can see. To see it in some small church out in the country reminds me there is no place too small for God to give us careful attention.
To encourage others about how God is at work in Utah.
When I travel outside of the state, people are always interested to learn what it is like to be a Christian in Utah. They are always interested in how God is at work. Fortunately, Utah is such a fruitful place for ministry that it’s easy to share some stories of amazing things God is doing. When we travel we can encourage other believers.
To be reminded that we are all part of the body of Christ.
A few weeks ago I got a letter on thick stationary with the U.S. Capitol building embossed on it. It was a letter from a young man I met when I visited Capitol Hill Baptist Church back in March. He works as an aid to a congressman, and yet he took time out of his busy schedule to write me a note to express how he had been praying for us and our church. One of the beautiful things about visiting other believers is that we quickly discover how much we have in common. I often will pray for the people and churches that I visit, and I know many of them have in turned prayed for us.
To be reminded how hard it can be to visit a new church.
It’s easy to forget all the questions and fears you have when visiting a new church. How will people dress? Will they do anything weird? Will people say “hi” to me? What do we do with our kids? Visiting a church on vacation gives you a taste of what the visitors here experience each week. It’s helpful to be reminded of that so that we as a church can take extra care to welcome visitors and help make our church a friendly place for them.
How To Find a Church to Visit
Church directories are helpful. If you wanted to visit another PCA Church (our denomination), this directory can help. If you want to explore other churches a little, the Gospel Coalition church directory will give you a list of churches that hold to many of the same essential beliefs we do but come from various backgrounds.
If you are camping or in a remote place, it can be a good opportunity to have family worship. Print out a few songs you are familiar with, download a sermon MP3 or have your own family Bible study and then pray together. Sometimes some of the best discussions can come out of these times.
In the end, worship is about showing what we value. Vacations are times to be with the people we value most, and certainly God and his people should be part of that.