- Community -I'm not just the 'hired help' at Grace, but I'm part of the covenant community there. I absolutely love my church and I miss it when I'm not there. I miss the people, the corporate worship, the preaching. When attending Grace while on vacation, I get to sit out in the seats in a different section of the worship center, and worship alongside members of my church family. (I almost scared the life out of one guy who came in late and scooted in next to me without realizing it- you would have thought he saw a ghost when he finally looked over and saw it was me).
- Family - I love going to Grace with Kim and our kids while on vacation. It demonstrates to them the value of covenant community. But more practically, usually I have to leave early to get to church, so I'm not part of the pre-church routine with Kim. But on vacation weeks I can go into their rooms and wake them up, make them pancakes, help get them ready, drop them off at the front door while I park the car, etc. I know many people take these moments for granted... but not pastors. (I also found out the hard way that it's not acceptable to offer all the kids gum in the car on the way to church... it's the little things!)
- Team Support - I love to come to Grace and support our teams while on vacation. It allows me to experience the friendliness of the ushers when we walk in and the hospitality in our children's ministry. I get to fully participate in worship (and sing especially loud) without having to think about what's coming next, and I get to sit under the teaching of some of our great pastors. It's a different perspective and vantage point by which to experience the life and character of our church.
I would highly recommend that all pastors carve out at least one or two weekends a year where you use your vacation to attend your own church.