5 Reasons to Travel on a Summer Team
What does a typical summer look like for you? Do you work a seasonal job? Do you counsel at a summer camp? Take vacations with your family? Sit at home and watch Netflix? Those four months between semesters seem to fly by, but they are filled with opportunities to make an impact for God outside school. Traveling with one of Maranatha’s summer teams provides students like you with a unique opportunity to minister all over the country.
Don’t know what your plans are for this summer? Do you want to make a difference in the hearts of others? Are you musically inclined? Here are five reasons you should try out for one of MBU’s traveling teams.
You get the opportunity to travel
During the months of May, June, and July, summer teams travel to churches all over the country. In the summer of 2021, the Praisemen visited over seventy-five churches in thirteen different states, and the Heritage Singers ministered in churches in seventeen states in all regions of the U.S.
Micah Herbster, leader of the Praisemen during the 2021 tour, says that one of his favorite memories on the road was sightseeing in Colorado and Utah. Jaren Fair, a 2021 member of the Praisemen, says that his favorite memory on tour was his time at Southland, a Christian summer camp in Louisiana. He recalls that “When we went to Southland, we all had the opportunity to counsel.” It was a new experience for Jaren, who had only been to camp once before.
2019 Heritage Singer Abi Holloway comments that “traveling caused me to see places I’d never seen, which was a huge plus.”
Whether you are looking to expand your ministry horizons or use past travel experience to develop your outreach for Christ, joining a summer team allows you to explore and minister in all regions of the United States.
You participate in several different church ministries
Another benefit of traveling on a summer team is the chance to experience so many diverse church ministries. Students who travel on a summer team discover that every church has a distinct atmosphere with different people and a unique network of connections.
“It is always exciting to experience the different ways that churches handle ministry and even normal activities,” Praisemen veteran (2018 and 2021) Andrew Holloway explains. “Experiencing different methods and styles of church leadership can be huge learning advantage and have a big part in determining how you will approach your personal ministry opportunities in the future.”
Traveling on a summer team allows you to encounter different approaches to ministry. Many methods of church ministry are influenced by the church’s community, and those who travel on a summer team soon learn that ministry comes in all shapes and sizes. 2021 Heritage Singer Emily Kindstedt says she has learned that “God uses each unique church in its unique context.”
Every community is shaped by its own culture and relationships. Traveling teams are able to dive into these different communities through church ministry. In turn, you not only learn more about the unique ways in which God uses His church, but it also shapes your perspective on your own methods of ministry.
You create lasting friendships
Summer teams travel for 12 consecutive weeks, and much of that time is spent on the road. This provides an opportunity for teammates to bond. Indeed, as you travel and minister together, you will get to know one another and create memorable relationships.
“Each team grows to be a family over the course of the summer, and all families have their ups and downs,” 2018, 2019, and 2021 Heritage Singer Peter Holloway says. “A summer spent with the same 7 or 8 people almost 24/7 will teach you how to be gracious and humble, how to care for others more than yourself, how different people think and how to work with people that think differently than you do.”
While teams have the chance to bond as a family, they also recognize that individuals have their differences. One major element of growing as a team includes working out conflicts and disparities. This teaches team members the importance of putting others before themselves. 2021 Praiseman Caleb Letzring explains that traveling with a team “helps learn team-building.” He also says, “It doesn’t allow you to think about yourself. It teaches selflessness.”
You learn more about yourself
Traveling on a summer team not only allows you to learn about your teammates, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself. For example, several past team members say that, while on tour, they discovered shortcomings they did not know they had. 2018 Heritage Singer Lucie Drinkwater says, “I learned that I was not as gracious toward others as I thought I was. And that I needed to grow in relational maturity.”
You also learn more about your own personality, and this knowledge can help you expand your ministry approach. Further, you may discover that you have natural limits in certain areas.
“I love talking to people and learning about them, so I found this opportunity to be a very special journey in meeting new people. I learned, though, that everyone has a limit and that it is okay to take a break from people,” 2021 Praiseman pianist Dylan Keener says. “I still love people. But I learned that it can be refreshing to be alone and take some time and recharge. This, for me, made the interactions I had with people so much sweeter and more enjoyable.”
Traveling on a summer team helps you reflect on your own life in light of those around you. In turn, this helps you develop perseverance in consistently putting forth Christian love and developing your own character while also encouraging your teammates to do the same.
You get the opportunity to grow spiritually
Finally, when you travel on a summer team, you can use your experience to grow in your relationship God. The time you spend with both your teammates and the diverse groups of like-minded believers you meet will help you grow in your walk with Christ.
“I had to lean on God constantly to exercise grace towards others and to help me through interpersonal conflicts. [I also had to] stay humble and recognize my place before God and alongside my team members in the face of lots of compliments from the churches we would visit with our music,” Peter says.
Also, other past team members admit that they needed to stay deliberate in taking personal time with God. This intentionality helped them grow in their spiritual walk and also gave them the opportunity to encourage their teammates as well.
“Since we had to be flexible in our schedule almost every day, I had to be intentional about finding quiet times alone with God each day,” Emily explains. “I also had more time to read or study personally than I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise – lots of time in the van meant lots of time for personal reading or journaling!”
Ultimately, traveling on a summer team gives you many opportunities to develop your spiritual maturity. God works through your circumstances to bring you closer to Him, and He wants you to use your situation to take those steps alongside Him.
Trying out for a summer team may be the first step you can take in creating special memories, forming lasting friendships, and growing in your walk with God as you minister with your team to like-minded believers across the country.
Schedule an ensemble to visit your church.