The Universal Church

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. Romans 1:11-12 ESV

Vacation! I hope you are able to occasionally leave town, even if it’s only to visit family such as is the case with my trip this week. It’s good to get away from everything…work, neighborhood, church, etc. However, I hope that when you are out of town over the weekend, you don’t take that as a free pass to skip church. Instead, I’ve found these weekends to be some of the best church times for me and my family.

In the verses above, Paul references how he has never been able to visit the church at Rome, but he indicates how much he wants to visit there. He wants to be encouraged by their faith, and wants to encourage them. As believers, I think we often think of the church as our local congregation and we forget that Christ’s church is actually so much greater than our local congregation. Visiting other churches in other towns opens our eyes to God’s greater kingdom plan, and this plays a vital part in our spiritual formation.

I’ve actually developed a tradition where my oldest son accompanies me to one or two churches in the morning (usually an 8:00 and a 9:30 service) before we grab the rest of the family and attend church with one of my extended family members. The first two services are mostly for me to observe what other churches are doing and learn, but even then I grow and enjoy them. (Granted, a big part of it is just being able to go to church and not be responsible for anything! This is a huge gift for a pastor). The last service is special for me, because I get to sit with my family and we get to worship together. I hope you take the opportunity to engage in whatever churches you can find in your travels. We are all part of a great family.

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