Our church meets on Sunday afternoons. That’s meant that I am free on Sunday mornings, and am able to visit other churches. Over the past four years, I’ve visited dozens of churches in Toronto and beyond.

I know that not everyone is free on Sunday mornings, and I don’t encourage skipping the worship services at your own church. But everyone has the opportunity to visit other churches. You can attend some that meet when you don’t, or when you’re out of town on vacation.

Here are six benefits to doing so.

It feeds your soul. I invariably show up with a mental clipboard ready to evaluate the service. Within moments, I find myself dropping the clipboard and entering into worship. I benefit from worshiping with God’s people, sitting under God’s Word, and from fellowship. I’m spiritually hungry.

It strengthens relationships. Christ Presbyterian Nashville includes a great page on their website called “Like-Minded Churches.” They recommend other great churches in the city, and include the hashtag #sameteam. The more that we strengthen relationships with other like-minded churches in our area, and cheer each other on, the better.

It allows you to pray for them with greater knowledge. I keep a prayer list of other pastors and churches, and pray for them regularly. Visiting their churches helps me know how to pray for them with greater knowledge.

It’s encouraging. When you see God at work in churches of different ages, in different locations, and with different styles, it’s a lot harder to get discouraged.

You will learn something. Although I’ve dropped my mental clipboard, I always learn something that I can apply within my own ministry.

It sometimes scares me. One prominent pastor visits a church that’s lost the gospel every year as a way to remind himself to guard the good deposit that’s been entrusted to him (2 Timothy 1:14).

If you’re not in the habit of visiting other churches, I’d encourage you to do so when you’re able. You, and the wider church, will benefit.