Much of my ministry life is spent on the road working with churches well away from my home in Richmond, VA., so I have become quite accustomed to the world of planes, trains, rental cars, hotels, restaurants and GPS. Often when I travel to a church, it’s to speak, teach, preach and/or train at a special event in that church’s life and it’s important to understand that this church’s special event is my routine. Church people are kind, generous and provide great hospitality, offering to have someone pick me up at the airport and provide ground transportation throughout my stay, offering me lodging in the home of a member family, and offering to have various folks in the church take me out or invite me to their homes for meals. This is much appreciated, but, to be completely transparent, this special treatment works against what we’re all trying to accomplish with my coming to the church.

My ministry is to bring gains in vitality to the church, a process that usually begins with a training event possibly accompanied by my leading discussion and Q&A sessions, teaching and preaching. There is a lot packed into a short period of time. I have learned that, to be at my best regarding the reason I’m there, I need independence and down time to recoup and prepare for whatever is next during my time on-site. So, I prefer to make my own travel arrangements which includes flights or trains, for longer trips, rental cars, hotels and most meals.

Since being on the road is my routine, I prefer consistency so I typically use the same airline, American Airlines, the same rental car company, Dollar, and the same hotel chain, Hilton. My profiles are established with these companies so making reservations is a breeze and I always know what I’m getting. To give you a glimpse into my world, I always try to stay at a Hilton Garden Inn. Why? I find this particular niche within the Hilton family to be high quality, consistent and usually only a few dollars more than much less quality hotels. What do I like about a Hilton Garden Inn? Consistency – Consistency – Consistency! I’ve never had a bad night in one of these hotels, and that’s unusual. Rooms are clean and appealing with good beds and nice extras such as refrigerator, microwave and coffee machine. The desks are large and always outfitted with a high end, comfortable desk chair and lots of AC outlets. Wifi is typically very strong and the Business Center has good computers, printers and other office supplies. I get lots of work done in these offices away from home. My profile includes a room on an upper floor away from the elevator, and, with my high level award status, I’m usually accommodated. Oh, one more thing, a full made-to-order breakfast is included; I’m talking real eggs and lots of choices other than carbs.

OK – maybe I’ve told you far more than you wanted or needed to know, but I want you to understand that, when I come to your church, I’m there to serve and not be served and you don’t need to take on the added responsibility of hosting me or entertaining me every hour of the day. I’m truly good on my own and need that independence and solitude in order to serve at my optimum level. Thanks!