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The Open Door


Summer is a very special time in the lives of our families and in the Georgia Baptist Convention. All across Georgia and beyond mission teams are at work on mission projects, children and youth camps are taking place that will impact the lives of our young people forever. Vacation Bible Schools have been taking place throughout our churches and many have professed faith in Christ through VBS. Did you know that approximately 20 percent of Southern Baptist baptisms annually come from decisions made in VBS?

I just returned from participating in a week of SuperWow at Ft. Walton Beach, Florida where we had 1,059 students and their leaders attending. SuperWow is a highly-charged, exciting, and spiritually impacting experience that blesses our churches that participate every summer.

What a thrill it was to see hundreds respond to the invitations through the week. Some made professions of faith. Others surrendered to a life of Christian service and still others recommitted their lives to Christ. We are raising a generation of Christian young people who are devoted to reaching this world for Christ and it thrills me every time I am with them.

As Janice and I were driving home, we were passing through Dothan, Alabama when I saw something that captured my attention. It was a pick-up truck pulling a fishing boat. Now, there are a lot of you who will understand why that captured my attention! There was something special about this boat that caused me to say to my wife, “There goes a preacher.”

You might wonder, “How could you know that?” In bold letters on the side of his boat were emblazoned the letters V-I-S-I-T-A-T-I-O-N. My mind went back to a minister of music friend I served with who had a horse. He loved to ride and named his horse “Church Business.” Any time he would go out for some recreation riding on his horse and someone called the church looking for him, his secretary could say, “I’m sorry, he’s not here. He’s out on “Church Business.” It became quite a joke among the people in our church family.

When I saw the boat, I knew exactly what the pastor’s secretary could say when someone called looking for the pastor: “He’s not here. He’s out on “Visitation.” I knew something else about that pastor. He has a good sense of humor and in all likelihood, the people in his church love him, enjoy his good humor, and probably are glad that he is smart enough to get away from the office from time to time to enjoy some good recreation.

Summertime is a good time for the pastor and church staff folks to get away for some vacation time with their families. Every church should encourage their leadership to take time for personal and family recreation and relaxation. I remember a pastor’s wife saying to me, “We rarely ever take a vacation.” That’s not good. I have always been thankful for a mother and father who took my two sisters and me on vacation every summer.

Those were very special times of relaxation and a lot of laughter. We needed that. I reflect upon those times as some of the nicest experiences I had growing up.

So, while there’s some summer left, kick back and relax a little. Take the family on the road for some vacation time. Churches, you would do well to encourage your staff in this direction. Folks just do a better job when they have some time to themselves for rest and relaxation.

It’s beneficial periodically to get away. I encourage you to build that into your staff’s schedule. It’s good for them and good for the church.