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Pastor, while you're on vacation, don't forget to go to church.
Pastor, while you're on vacation, don't forget to go to church. (Flickr )

Pastor and ministry leader, as you consider your vacation this year, I want to encourage you to find a church wherever you are and visit.

I understand why you may not. Church is your "job." You're on vacation. It's a break from "work" by definition.

One of the first things Cheryl and I do when we go out of town is look for a place to attend church on Sunday. We've had some incredible experiences attending other churches and it's one of our favorite parts about vacation.

I know many pastors who look forward to some weeks they don't have to attend church. I have often been asked if we are legalistic because we don't take a vacation from church while on vacation. Do we feel we must attend church during vacation? Is it because I'm a pastor?

Absolutely not. We feel no obligation. It's what we want to do.

Here are five reasons this pastor attends church on vacation:

1. We love church. Church is the best part of our week. We don't view church as an obligation. It is a privilege. We believe the church is God's plan to make disciples. It's our community. It's where we find our best friends in life. It is a large part of what fuels us for the week ahead. Why would we take a vacation from this important part of our life?

2. We get to worship without distraction. Honestly, Sunday can be a very distracting day for Cheryl and me. We are both busy with ministry obligations. On vacation we are freed to worship.

3. We get to sit together. Cheryl is beside me during the worship portion of the service, but she has never stood beside me while I preach – even as many times as I've asked her to. Actually, we did dance together on stage in one service (another story). On vacation we enjoy being together for an entire service.

4. We learn from others. I love sitting under the teaching of other pastors. Cheryl never admits to anyone preaching better than me, but she seems to take plenty of notes when we are out of town. We also always go home with new ideas and renewed energy from attending other churches.

5. We get to encourage another pastor. We know how much we love visitors. On vacation, we get to attend another church, pray for the pastor, and many times meet and pray for the pastor and pastor's spouse. Those have been awesome experiences over the years.

Please understand. I'm not saying you have to attend church when you're on vacation. I am far from being legalistic. I've often been referred to as more of a rebel, but don't dismiss this advice too quickly. It could be one of the greater parts of your vacation. (And if you're ever in Lexington for vacation, come see us.)

Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.

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