Summer vacation is a cherished time for many families. School is out, the weather is pleasant, and work seems to slow, leading many to travel to make special memories together. As families travel and make plans, I find it unfortunate that some neglect to gather for worship on vacation. My view is that travel plans should include researching and finding a church in the area you are traveling to so that Lord’s Day worship with the gathered church is still maintained and prioritized. Summer vacation shouldn’t mean we take a break from corporate worship or think sending our kids to Christian camps or Sunday school classes are suitable substitutes for corporate worship. Instead, summer vacation provides opportunities to train your children to understand and appreciate the fact that the body of Christ exists beyond your home church. In addition, worshiping with a different body of believers will likely provoke good discussions on what you learned from the Word of God, the marks of a true church, and differences in worship styles.
As members of the local church, we must teach our children what God-honoring participation in worship looks like. Participation means we are gathered together in one place, at a set time, for one purpose—to worship God—as we sing, pray, listen, and respond with one voice to the victorious work of Christ for His beloved. Showing up on time (if not a little before) with minds and hearts ready to participate sounds simple and easy, yet it can be hard, especially for families with younger children. However, the effort it takes to persevere in sitting together as a family in worship will greatly benefit your children and the rest of the congregation and will glorify the Lord. Hard seasons may come, and tears and frustration are not uncommon for parents in this area. But when weary, we should bring our cares to the Lord in prayer, remember the Lord’s patience with us, and set reasonable expectations for our children with input and wisdom from other parents.
Oh, how we all would love to see the children in our churches, the next generation, love the Lord, walk with the Lord, and value and cherish the weekly corporate gathering of the body of Christ. It is a time of discipleship and rejoicing unlike any other during the week, where we learn, fellowship, and worship our risen Savior Jesus Christ, rest in His finished work, and long for His return. As parents, we have a great responsibility to train our children toward this end, so let us depend on God’s mercy and grace, for He is the One who works in His children’s hearts (John 3:3) and puts a new song in their mouths (Ps. 40:3).