We have made it a point to get to church as often as we can, wherever we are, during our travels. We have missed Sundays when we have been out in the middle of nowhere, but for the most part, we are at church just about every Sunday. Some Sundays we have been at churches where David is leading worship, coaching a music ministry team, or if we don’t have a church scheduled to be at, we find one to attend. Our process of finding a church in each area we are in usually consists of us looking them up on Google, and choosing the one that looks like the best fit for us. We have been tempted to choose churches that are very different from what we are used to, but honestly, even going to churches that look like the best fit for us has still been somewhat challenging in a good way, as each is still so different.
We have been to small churches, large churches, welcoming churches, unfriendly churches, charismatic churches, mellow churches, churches in the country, churches in the city, churches 1 mile down the road, churches that we traveled 2 hours to lead worship at on a Sunday morning. We have had a lot of experiences attending and working with churches, over this past year especially!
Luckily these experiences have pretty much all been good to great so far! The kids enjoy attending different children’s ministries, and we enjoy participating in and attending services all across the country.
Of all of the churches we have been to, there was only one that we attended that felt a little off. The focus for some reason didn’t feel quite on point. God. Ministering to those in need. Finding Family. Those are all important points that we feel should be included in a church, and almost always are. In each church we have been to, no matter how different each has been, I have felt the presence of God. Yes, we carry his presence with me everywhere we go, but I also can feel his presence at church. Sometimes more than others. In each church we have been at, no matter how different from what I am used to, or how different from the church we were at last week, I keep feeling God saying, “I am here….I am here…I am here.” I can honestly say, that in each church we have been to, whether we were ministering there or not, I have been ministered to in a different way at each place. We have also often felt like we are part of a large family, our church family as a whole. Fellow Jesus lovers, God followers, kindred spirits. I am sure that God is happy when his churches are functioning healthily and wholly, and truly, many are.
Traveling has brought a lot of diversity to our lives, and has made us step out of our shells, and grow in many ways, and this includes stretching us outside of our normal church experience. We miss our church family at home, but also get to expand on that family as we travel. Our kids have gotten used to meeting new people, and making new friends everywhere they go. I am so glad that we decided to make it a point to get to church, and on some Sunday mornings, when we couldn’t get to a church, we had church together as a family in the RV.
Many times, the church as a whole can get a bad rap because of the mistakes of a few that harmed many in one church or another. I know a lot of people who have stopped making it a point to attend church because of an experience or hurt from someone in a church. One thing we need to remember is that humans are humans, and humans are individual. Humans are not God, and their inadequacies, mistakes, and wrongs are not a reflection of God. Do bad things happen in churches? I wish I could say no, but of course we know that is not true. Bad things happen everywhere, and can’t ever be justified. Each of us have probably had good and bad experiences in stores, while driving, at restaurants, and probably at some churches too, but a bad experience is no reason to write off something that for us is very vital for us in living a healthy life. Growing up in church all of my life, I have mostly had great experiences, but some bad ones too. I can’t let those experiences with a person shut me off from God, or my church family as a whole. If we didn’t go to church, we could still have a relationship with God, but we wouldn’t learn as much, grow as much, or be challenged to think a little differently than we do when we are by ourselves.
After this first year on the road, I can confidently say, we need the church. We need to be in church. I can also say, I am proud of the church that we have experienced across America so far! Being at a different church each week has stretched us, helped us to grow, and has ministered to us along the way, as we minister to others along the way. It has been an enriching experience, and I am happy that it has been a part of our traveling journey!
For those fellow travelers who go to church, let us know in the comments what you do for church while on the road!