summer vacation

The Joy and Challenge of Summer Vacation

Joe Willmann Teaching the Faith at Home

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The other night, I sat down with a local Lutheran school principal after work to catch up on some things and discuss some projects that were happening at his school. I had some ideas that might help his projects move a little bit quicker, and then I quickly realized something: summer is right around the corner.

“How many weeks do you have left this year? Six or seven?” I asked.

“Ha!” he responded. “Try five.”

It seems like time always gets away from us. When I stepped out of the classroom five years ago, I realized that my summer breaks would be no more, and I haven’t really put a lot of thought into them since. Now, though, having been reminded that summer break is quickly approaching and after realizing that this will be my daughter’s first summer break as well, I began reflecting on all of the travel out of town we have coming this summer.

Visiting friends.

A wedding.

A golf trip.

Another trip to see friends.

My nephew’s birthday party.

Visiting family in Georgia.

Our future godchild’s Baptism.

Counting it up, that’s seven weeks that we will be away from our home church. And it’s six opportunities that we could make an excuse to skip going to the Divine Service and skip out on receiving God’s gifts.

How busy is your summer? Are you traveling as much as we are?

Let me encourage you to not skip church in your travels this summer. Here are three reasons to do this:

God desires to give you His gifts!

The Third Commandment is a gift to us. Don’t look at it as, “Well, I have to get up and go to church today.” Rather, see it for what it is, that God loves you so much that He gave you this command for your own benefit. He loves you so much that He wants to give you His gifts so that in your Sabbath rest you are restored with His Word and fed His true body and blood.

It teaches your children.

As a parent, God has tasked you with giving your children a strong foundation. They learn when they see how important it is to you to receive God’s gifts. A co-worker once shared with me that his son told him, after seeing his father at the altar receiving Christ in His Holy Supper, “Dad, this is really important to you, isn’t it?” What a great moment for him be able to affirm that to his child and talk with him about why it is so important.

It’s fun to visit other churches.

One of the joys I find in the travel I do with my family or through my work is that I get to visit so many different churches. We were out of town over Palm Sunday, and we got to join the saints at Grace Lutheran of Naples, FL, in a Palm Sunday processional that started among the palm trees. How cool is that?

The LCMS has put together a great church locator to help when you travel. You can use to find congregations based off of their geographic location. Search by city and state, or even use a tool to search inside a radius around a zip code.

I know it is extra work to plan to attend a new church while you are on the road, but it is worth it. Receiving God’s gifts and keeping your family hearing His Word is always worth it.

God’s blessings as you teach the faith once for all, delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Joe Willmann


Joe Willmann is the Senior Instructional Designer for Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, MO. A former teacher and administrator, Joe has a passion for education and learning theory. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University and his Master's Degree from Concordia University - Ann Arbor. He lives with his wife, Nicole, his daughter Ava, and his son Carter. You can read his latest posts here.

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