Sunshine, beaches, lakes, family, road trips, sports, no school…and no church? Summer is a great time to be with family. But, did you know summer months is also a very challenging time for many church members? As a pastor, I’ve seen “Christians” take these three vacations every summer…
#1 – Take a vacation from church!
Every summer people get out of the habit of attending church. It usually starts with “legitimate reasons” around family, work, or play. But, after a while a thought enters the mind, “I don’t need church to have a relationship with God.” Obviously, we can walk with God outside of church, but we’re stretching this idea to benefit our self centered interest as well. I’ve never seen a spiritually mature Christian who is not committed to their local church. During the summer months, when you are in town, attend your local church! When you’re out of town, listen to your church’s podcast, watch their videos, church emails, etc. You will enjoy life more when you stay connected to the biblical community God has put in your life. There is no substitute for corporate worship, serving others on weekends, and encouraging others in person, who are walking by faith. Your presence at church encourages others! Incidentally, when you are out of town, go to church! It’s great opportunity to see God move in other churches! Maybe God has a word for you!
#2 – Take a vacation from giving!
Every summer there are people that stop honoring God with their finances. Usually the logic is, “I’ll pick it up again after summer ends.” So, they use their tithe or offering, that typically goes to God, and give it to beaches, road trips, lakes, or summer toys in their life. Sometimes there is a thought that, “I’ll catch up later.” Both thoughts are not realistic. Rarely, does someone come to church in September, with a check for missed tithes in June, July, and August. It just doesn’t happen. Something practical you can do is set up automatic giving through your bank. This will ensure your giving stays strong during the summer, and you don’t take a break from honoring God with your finances. After all…who do you think has blessed you to the point that you can enjoy the good things of life? BTW, expenses do not change in the summer months in most churches! Enjoy your vacation. Honor your God.
#3 – Take a vacation from reading your bible!
Every summer trip involves a new routine. We are routine oriented people. When we’re out of our routine, it’s very easy to get out of good habits, like reading your bible. Be intentional about spending time with God, even on your vacation! You will discover you will actually be more enjoyable to others, and you will have much more patience for others too! Most of all…maybe God has a word to share with you during that summer break! Some of my greatest moments with God happened while I was reading my bible…on my vacation. When you open your bible, spend time with Jesus Christ. Don’t rush through scripture or prayer. Learn to talk to have conversation with the one who loves you.
By Pastor Ruben Villarreal
Ruben is the founding pastor of ThornCreek Church in Thornton, Colorado. He and his wife, Grace, moved to Thornton in September 2002 to start ThornCreek. They have been married for 23 years, and have two wonderful children, Josiah and Hannah.