Around the Country in 90 Days │ Praisemen Tour 2021
As students packed up to head home after a long spring semester, Praisemen Micah Herbster, Caleb Letzring, Joel Montgomery, Jaren Fair, Dylan Keener, and Andrew Holloway prepared themselves for a summer of traveling and ministry. From late May to early August, the Praisemen traveled around the country while most other students worked at summer ministries or spent their summer breaks working and ministering at home. This unique experience impacted the lives of all six men and not only gave them a chance to minister to thousands of people across the United States, but also to experience local church ministry and consider how it impacts their futures.
In total, the Praisemen traveled around 14,000 miles, singing in over 70 churches in 12 different states. Throughout the course of the summer, they were able to meet and interact with many new people, and the team quickly learned their first important lesson. “Ministry is a lot about people,” Praisemen leader Micah Herbster says. With this lesson came a significant struggle for several of the team members. “In this type of setting, we barely got to know the pastor and the people in each church,” Micah explains. “So we had to know that our short-term ministry would impact them afterward.”
Still, each member worked to develop relationships with the people they met. They discovered that even though they would never be able to know each person’s story, they were all able to come together to worship God in the same way. “Church is supposed to be a family,” Jaren Fair says. “They’re joining with us in their hearts and praising the God that we serve.”
In addition to ministering in local churches around the country, the Praisemen also had the opportunity to work at Southland Christian Ministeries in Ringgold, Louisiana, for three weeks. This time allowed them to connect with campers and see what goes on behind the scenes at a summer camp. Several members of the team counseled, while others helped with audio-visual work and routine cleanup. Overall, the experience at Southland taught the team to trust God in unfamiliar circumstances, and that reliance on God is key to an effective ministry. Regarding his adjustment to camp life, Joel Montgomery learned that we may have plans leading one direction, but God will direct us in His way so that we can learn to trust Him.
Joel soon saw that God’s plan for the team at Southland, while unexpected, did have a significant purpose. “One night, after chapel, one my campers had raised his hands about assurance,” he says. “I got to take him back and talk to him. A lot of assurance issues are ones I had as a kid, and I got to connect with him on that level. That was really cool because it was like God was saying that I was there for a reason.”
Lessons Learned on the Road
After ministering at Southland for three weeks, the Praisemen hit the road again to continue their singing ministry. As they traveled together, they learned that being around each other taught them more about themselves. “My relationship with God grew during this trip,” Jaren said. “You learn how selfish you are when you live with five other guys. You have to be giving to others and you have to be sensitive to others.”
They discovered that team focus was vital to their ministry, and that in order to be effective, they had to work together. “I was able to change how important I think I am versus how important others are,” Caleb Letzring shared. “I learned how to be a team player.”
Indeed, working as a team required personal growth all around, according to the members. Especially during moments spent alone with God, He taught each member something new upon the reflection of their ministry. “Tour changed my perspective of God, as well as helped me to refocus my devotions on what I was learning about Him,” Andrew Holloway explained. “It reinforced my thought that ministry is a lifestyle and not just something we can put on and take off.”
As days on the road threatened to become repetitious, these seemingly small lessons became vitally important to the Praisemen in continuing their ministry. “I learned to be faithful in the daily walk,” Micah said. “Every day is repetitive, so I worked at still keeping a vibrant walk with God.”
A Lasting Impact
Though the tour was largely a learning experience for the Praisemen, they also formed special bonds with each other and created lasting memories. During their travels, the Praisemen had the privilege of sightseeing in Utah and Colorado. “Our day off in Moab, Utah, was probably my favorite memory,” Dylan Keener stated. “It’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget, and I would say I will always associate that beautiful scene with the five amazing guys I was blessed to travel with this summer.” These experiences served to reinforce the special relationship between each of the guys.
Ultimately, every member walked away from the tour with a changed attitude and a clearer understanding of God’s purpose for each of their lives. “I would like to travel and start a music team,” Caleb says. “I think [the tour] helped me see some of the struggles of doing that and…the way I need to approach it.”
“It solidified what I saw myself doing—ministering to people,” Jaren commented.
Are you thinking about traveling over the summer during your college career? These young men would fully recommend it. “It is an opportunity of a lifetime!” Dylan declared. “I would never have imagined the amazing interactions I would get to experience and the absolute blessings I would receive from each church we visited.”
Jaren adds, “A lot of people think that it’s for music majors, but it’s not. When you have a desire to serve the Lord, and you have some musical ability, then you should try out.”
Indeed, the Praisemen tour created lasting memories among the members and encouraged local churches all across the United States. Their ministry served to advance the work of God with their talents, ultimately “to the praise of His glory.”