Do You Want a Pilgrimage or a Vacation?

It was one of the most awkward trips of the summer for one of our voyage directors. He was going to lead a team on pilgrimage in Colorado. The leader of the team had agreed that the focus of the journey would be on recognizing God’s unfathomable love through the beauty of His creation. Our director spent months preparing a carefully personalized itinerary for the team with this focus in mind. Once the team arrived, our director shared a brief introduction about pilgrimage and talked about how they would achieve the focus of the trip through service at a monastery and through evening discussion and reflection on how God was working in their hearts. He was suddenly interrupted by the group leader who said, “I don’t think we need any more of this God-Jesus stuff. We are here to have fun. You’re here to show us a good time.” Our director was in shock. Hadn’t the leader known what pilgrimage meant when he agreed to go?  Did he want a Pilgrimage or a Vacation?

Pilgrimage is full of opportunities for transformation of the heart. It is a rite of passage that will draw your team together through a shared experience of fellowship and wonder. But if you’re treating it as a vacation rather than an important journey of faith, you will be left feeling unsatisfied and disappointed at the end of your trip. Ask yourself, are you choosing pilgrimage because it’s what your church has always done? Is it because you think it will convince people to stay in church? Is it because you need a holiday cloaked in religious garb? These are destructive reasons for going on pilgrimage and will make your experience fall flat. Instead, you must understand what true pilgrimage is and why you are committing your group to it.

Wonder Voyage is dedicated to leading unique, heart-provoking voyages of exploration in the age-old tradition of pilgrimage. We will help you communicate to your group what a heart for pilgrimage is so that you know what you’re in for and your expectations are met. As we told the group in Colorado, if you want an all-inclusive vacation you need to book a resort. If you want a pilgrimage, come with Wonder Voyage.

After a decade working in parish youth ministry Shawn started Wonder Voyage Missions. Over the last 15 years, WVM has led thousands of pilgrims to over forty countries. Shawn is a storyteller and an award winning filmmaker. He is an author who brings the gift of engaging narrative to our journeys. Shawn is dedicated to creating voyages that give people abundant opportunities to encounter God.

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