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I Get To Do This

When was the last time you looked at your church’s travel program and said to yourself “I can’t believe I get to do this?”

We all have our reasons for the things we do to serve our faith communities. You might be a pastor or a staff member whose job description includes leading various groups on trips. Perhaps you’re a volunteer who is passionate about a certain ministry area or age group, and you spend time with those people to help encourage them in their faith. Or maybe you simply love travel and believe that it can have a positive impact on the lives of your group members and your church as a whole.

Whatever your reason for serving, your involvement in church activities comes at a cost. You sacrifice your time and your talent to help give others great experiences. There are hassles that come up along the way and, perhaps, elements of the work that aren’t always your favorite part. But I also hope that in the midst of the work you find joy.

One of the things I love about my church here in Lexington, Kentucky, is that the leaders encourage people to get involved and serve in areas where they are most talented and where they find the most enjoyment. There’s no pressure, no guilt trips and no begging people to help in an area of the church that isn’t a good fit for their personalities.

When you do something you love, that you’re good at and that makes a positive impact in the lives of others, it’s one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences in church life. Though there are moments of challenge along the way, the difficulties always seem small in light of the blessings that they lead to.

Recently, my church held an after-hours party for volunteers. It was a fun-filled event complete with catering, entertainment and awards. The whole point was to thank the 100 or so people who work hard each week to help in areas such as parking, greeting, child care, hospitality and worship. I loved taking an evening to connect with other people who serve in the church and to celebrate what we have accomplished together.

During this party, our pastor took a few minutes to share some stories and testimonies about how our work has affected the lives of church members, visitors and the community over the past year. Throughout this short message, he hammered this point home over and over: “I get to do this!”

That message resonated with me, and I hope it means something to you, too. We get to do this, and it’s an honor.

As a church travel planner, you get to take people to places around the country and throughout the world that they never thought they would see. You get to help make people’s travel dreams come true. You get to facilitate new friendships and create opportunities for people to connect and build community in ways they can’t at home. And if you’re intentional about it, you can make a difference in someone’s spiritual life.

Next time you’re out on the road with travelers from your church, stop for a minute to survey the scene, appreciate the beauty of the moment and give thanks for the privilege.

You get to do this, and it’s awesome.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.