Taking Church With You

This summer, a lot of us are going to load up planes, trains and automobiles and hit the road.  We’ll go to the beach, to the lake, to the cabin, to a theme park, to the mountains, to a foreign land…

The goal is both to recreate, and to re-create.  That is, to go and have fun with friends or family, and to rest, renew and refresh.  You’ll leave behind jobs, responsibilities, chores and in some cases, headaches and stress.

There is one thing that you do not need to leave behind:  church.

Of course, as people who follow Jesus, we know that we never leave our faith behind.  God goes with us wherever we go.  But sometimes we forget that when we travel, we still have the opportunity to practice our faith.

I’ve got some suggestions for you:

  1. When you travel, look around and see if there is a church near you that you can visit.  Regular worship is a part of our faith practice, and it can be pretty fun to see how a different community worships.  If you’re not totally sure how to find a church, you can go to the ELCA web site and click on the link to find a congregation.  There, just enter the zip code for where you are and it will show you all of the ELCA congregations in your vicinity.  If there are none around, try something else…maybe a Methodist, or Presbyterian church.  There are bound to be lots of options!And when you visit, make sure you introduce yourself to the pastor there.  I know…sometimes we just like to slip in and out unnoticed, and that’s fine.  But I also know that pastors love it when traveling visitors stop by for worship.  (I know this because it’s something I love to see happen.)

    And while you’re there, look around.  See what they’re up to.  And if you see any good ideas for ministry, bring them back to us!  We are always looking to learn from other congregations!

  2. If you’re unable to visit another congregation, you can watch our worship services online.  It’s not totally like you’re “really there,” but you’ll see what’s going on at home!  Full worship services can be viewed on OwatonnaLive.com.  Or, if you would just rather watch only the sermon, you can see those on our web site.
  3. If you gather with your family before bed time to do prayers, or devotions together, just ask a simple question:  “Where did you see God today?”  Even if, the first couple of times you do it, the question is met with dead silence, don’t give up.  Keep asking.  Because even by asking the question, you are communicating that this is something that is important to pay attention to.
  4. Bring the scriptures with you, and read them!  You don’t even need to pack a Bible (though you certainly can!)   Download a Bible app to your phone so you have it with you all of the time, and it’s not adding weight to your bag.  My personal favorite is the Bible app from “You Version.”

Wherever we go, we believe God goes with us.  That’s a promise that God made to each of us.  Because we go on vacation, or on a trip, doesn’t mean that we have to leave our faith practices behind!  In fact, time away can be a time of great spiritual growth, if we go into it with some intentionality.

If you travel, please enjoy your time away.  May it be a time of strengthening relationships, having fun and growing in your faith.

God’s blessings!
Pastor Todd

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