Vacationing and Church

Written by Drew on July 30th, 2008

Fresh from a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, I’m back at the grindstone and going through the usual post-vacation routine of throwing away mail, returning email and phone calls, and finding out what I missed while I was away. I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s vacation and hope I get the chance to go back to the Blue Ridge Mountains soon. It’s a part of the world where real people lead ordinary lives in beautiful country. I like places like that.

My family and I encountered lots of people on our trip. The Southern charm is alive and well in North Carolina, so it was easy to encounter the locals. There was the security guard at the gate of the community where we stayed, a man whose occupation boxed him into a little world that measured six-by-six and who welcomed any chance for conversation. There were the country girls where we went horseback riding, and the hippies in downtown Asheville. But the friendliest people we met were found in the little church that met in a nearby town.

Sunday morning, my family showed up for services at the small congregation and doubled the attendance (there were 12 of us). We received a grand reception–it was the only church I have ever attended in which every member made an effort to greet me. Granted, there were only 12 people there, but some of them could have hid from us if they wanted to.

I learned that the preacher had been there for 28 years. He was not supported by the congregation, as far as I could tell. In fact, he told me that he started preaching there when his predecessor left on an interim basis, and the church never got around to hiring a full-time minister.

The atmosphere was respectful but laid back. During the Bible class hour the preacher’s PowerPoint slide showed that his sermon would be about “Jesus in the Psalms.” But when he took the pulpit, he quickly shut down the presentation and announced that his sermon on Jesus and the Psalms needed a little more work and he would talk about something else.

After the morning services, somebody remarked about all the extra singers and said, “We should move our singing night to tonight.” Without a moment’s hesitation, the preacher said that would be great, and that night we had a singing. The first five song leaders were, you guessed it, my father, my three brothers, and me. Evidentally, they normally didn’t have a bass, because after one particular hymn with a prominent bass lead, a man who had been sitting in front of my brother Barton turned around after the song was ended and shook his hand saying, “That was wonderful!”

Afterwards we enjoyed a fellowship meal that had been prepared, it seemed, in honor of our arrival. We had never felt so honored while visiting a congregation before.

I’ve heard of families conducting their own worship services while on vacation, and certainly my family could have done that. All the men in my family are able to teach, lead songs, and lead prayers. But we preferred to pay the local brethren a visit instead, and I am glad we did. Not only were we an encouragement to them, but they encouraged us. Also, if we had kept to ourselves that week we would not have met those wonderful brethren in the mountains of North Carolina. I may never see them again, but they have left me with memories that I will cherish forever.

 

4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Michael Jackson says:

    What a wonderful reflection.

  2. Kevin W. Rhodes says:

    I’ve had similar experiences, Drew. Those who do not gather with the saints on vacation are missing out themselves and failing to offer a very meaningful bit of encouragement to their brethren as well.

  3. Russell Smith says:

    Any banjo music on this trip?

  4. Drew Kizer says:

    Thankfully, just the kind my brother Mackenzie plays.

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