During the year, many of our church members are traveling on Sundays. This thought comes to mind that Sunday is the Lord’s Day no matter where you are. All days should be used to honor the Lord, but Sunday is especially set aside for God’s people to honor Christ in corporate worship.
Many times, you have heard me tell stories of the scores of Baptist churches located in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. This should make it very easy to find a good one to worship in while I visit there. It is true that in my hometown there are several that I have full confidence in to visit and enjoy worshiping on Sunday. However, I am not usually in Lexington on Sunday. I go to Lexington to see my mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and then for several days I travel to other parts of the country. These are places with churches that I am not familiar with. I am still in the South with many, many Baptist churches, but finding a good one is an unbelievably hard adventure.
I remember last year looking on the internet for one in southwest Virginia. There were many to choose from, but I found none that weren’t seriously bothersome to me. Since I am well versed in what to look for and can decipher a lot of adverse language in doctrinal statements, I know what to expect if I choose the wrong one. Sometimes the clues are on the surface where they blast BAD EXPERIENCE. For example, I look at the pictures of leaders on the web pages. Do I see the choir director’s name? Is it he or she? Is there a picture of a deaconess? This tells me what the church believes about leadership.
Several years ago, when I came to California, I attended a Baptist church in Petaluma. I have always used this church as an example of how going to church can be a nightmarishly bad experience. It is very difficult to worship when your stomach is turning like an agitator in a washing machine. I think Paul may have described it as his bowels were yearning (that is if he spoke King James English as some believe!).
The scriptures say we must worship God in spirit and in truth. Very simply, if we do not, we do not worship. While I believe corporate worship is best on Sundays, I know there are times it is not profitable to join yourself to a congregation that pretends with their lips, but their hearts are far away from God and His truth. It is best not to listen to a sermon from a preacher who is a mockery of the God ordained profession. It is certainly awful to hear sermons from preachers that do not preach salvation in Jesus Christ alone. If these are your choices, stay away. There are some fundamentals that cannot be compromised, and worship is not possible without them.
One of the things I love about Berean is our location. We have a prominent easy location in the city which makes our church attractive to visitors from other areas. Almost every Sunday we have visitors from other cities, states, or countries. They witness a good confession by their desire to worship on the Lord’s Day even though they are away from home. I am especially gratified when we have repeat visitors. They are back in our area again and because their first experience was good they desire to return and hear the word of God faithfully preached once more.
When you travel, look for opportunities for corporate worship if possible. Some bring back bulletins as proof to show the pastor they tried. Thanks! I am always happy to hear there are others that still preach the truth of God’s word. Remember, you can worship God no matter where you are. If there is no good church, Sunday is still the Lord’s Day!
Pastor V. Mark Smith