While a trip to the Holy Land may be the dream destination, plenty of equally worthy adventures await churches that organize trips for congregation members. A church travel program can include everything from local getaways to faraway places. Some trips are faith-based, others purely recreational. All promote fellowship.
For a small-town church, it might be a weekend jaunt to the nearest big city. Many groups from the Midwest, for example, come to Chicago for museums, architecture tours, a Lake Michigan cruise and a visit to the lofty Sky Chapel under the spire of the Chicago Temple, downtown’s First United Methodist Church, the tallest church building in the world.
Few places in the world fuel my wanderlust more than the Middle East. Though it calls for a substantial commitment in time and money, traveling to the holiest sites in Christendom creates memories to last a lifetime. A trip to the Holy Land, moreover, is a magic-carpet ride to cities, villages and desert outposts where people keep camels, haggle at exotic bazaars, and speak Hebrew and Arabic. My article on page 12 offers tips on planning a tour to Israel and Jordan.
For ideas on types of church group trips that might not have been on your radar, see Kevin J. Wright’s piece on page 24. Among his suggestions: Cruises, wildlife safaris and agritourism experiences.
When Christian ladies get together for a retreat, there can be some meaningful moments, but it’s not always a bed of roses. Our feature on women’s retreats by Rachel Gilmore, author of The Complete Leader’s Guide to Christian Retreats, talks about how to handle some thorny problems. Also in this fourth annual edition of Religious Travel Planning Guide are Cindi Brodhecker’s interview with Gigi Graham, a daughter of Dr. Billy Graham, and “Making a Splash with Church Youth Trips,” which spotlights opportunities for energizing a youth travel ministry.
Complementing our print publication are online resources for planning your group trip. With listings and links to group-friendly destinations and businesses, ReligiousTravelPlanningGuide.com is the premier research tool for the faith travel market. Our monthly e-newsletter, InSite on Religious Travel, offers plenty of ideas as well.
As many of you know, planning for travel is half the fun. With that in mind, we hope this 2014 edition of Religious Travel Planning Guide, combined with our online resources, will inspire you to develop the best group trip ever and chart new paths for your community of faith.