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Why Church Travel Matters

“Remind me again why we’re doing this?”

When you’ve been working at something for a while, it can be easy to lose sight of the underlying motivations that make it important. And when circumstances make that work more challenging than normal, you might find yourself stopping to ask if it’s all really worth the effort.

I imagine many church travel planners have had thoughts like this. Coordinating and leading group travel is a big job in the best of times. Under particularly difficult circumstances, like those we’ve all lived with since 2020, it can feel overwhelming.

In moments like that, I find it helpful to pause for a moment and remind myself why the thing I’m doing matters. If you have found yourself questioning the value of your church’s travel program, reminding yourself of the importance of church group travel might give you the boost of motivation you need.

At Going On Faith, we believe travel can be an indispensable part of a church’s mission. Here are four key reasons why travel is so important for your organization.

1) It creates community.

Group travel offerings create opportunities for people in your church to come together to do something exciting. The trips you plan are likely to attract interest from people who may not socialize together or attend the same Sunday school classes. They may even attract people who wouldn’t attend a small group meeting or Bible study at all. Travel can be an incredible gateway to bring people into your faith family and give them a chance to make new friends.

2) It strengthens relationships.

Not only is travel a great way of welcoming people into relationships at your church, but it’s also an excellent vehicle for strengthening relationships that already exist. Many people in your church see each other for an hour or two once or twice a week, which is great. But when you take a trip together, those people will be with each other for 16 hours a day. Time spent together eating, exploring and sharing compelling experiences can accelerate relationship growth and take friends to new level of trust and vulnerability.

3) It inspires engagement.

When people find community and begin to build strong relationships within the context of a church, they are much more likely to engage with the organization in other ways. They don’t just have an intellectual understanding of the church’s mission — they have experienced it firsthand, and they begin to own the vision. People who travel with you can become some of your best candidates for volunteer and leadership roles. And you may find that they start bringing friends from the outside to visit and attend church events.

4) It deepens faith.

At the end of the day, the most important part of your church’s mission is to help people find and grow in their faith. And though group trips don’t seem to carry the same spiritual weight as compelling sermons or in-depth Bible studies, they can play integral roles in people’s faith journeys. Trips to the Holy Land or other destinations important to your faith tradition can help bring the scripture to life and give people a richer understanding of its meaning. But even if you never travel outside the United States, faith-based attractions around the country can deliver meaningful experiences that help move people forward in their spiritual lives.

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.