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  • Writer's picturetherobertschorale

A Director’s Guide to Touring

Updated: Aug 16, 2019

Ways specifically to direct your prayers (Dr. Potter’s attempt at humor writing)


I went to my barber on Thursday and walked in with this statement: “Farhad, I’m going to France on Sunday. You gotta make me look ‘Euro chic’!”

Farhad did his best, but he’s got limited material to work with.

Although a cool ’do is an essential (!) tour-prep step, I actually have four criteria by which I’ll measure the success of this trip:


No lives lost. No lives gained.

Optional but highly recommended

No one hospitalized. No one jailed.

Now you may chuckle at this obscenely short list, but hear me out: Yes, I want the tour to be enjoyable for every student. Yes, I want for all of us to experience transcendent musical moments—“pinecone moments.” Yes, I want our audiences to be uplifted and convicted. And, of course, our express purpose on this trip is to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15)!

But I’m a Ph.D.-holding college professor, and none of those criteria are very measurable. But you know what is measurable?

No lives lost. No lives gained. No one hospitalized. No one jailed.

No lives lost

This one’s self-explanatory, right? Everyone comes back alive. Simple enough. Accomplish this and you can consider yourself a responsible tour leader, yeah?

No lives gained

Normally, this would be a tongue-in-cheek goal. Even when I taught at a state university, I didn’t really worry about this, and now as a professor at a Christian college with a very specific Community Ethos Statement that all students agree to adhere to, I worry even less. (Not to mention that whether the Community Ethos Statement were in effect or not, the students in The Roberts Chorale are awesome human beings who I know I can trust!)

However, two of our sopranos this year are married and pregnant! So will you please add this specific prayer to your list? I copy and paste this from my own church small group’s prayer email chain: “Maybe pray that the number of travelers neither increases nor decreases during the trip.”

I may be a doctor, but I’m not that kind of doctor. I’m not delivering any babies.

No one hospitalized

Now we’re getting into the “optional but highly recommended” measures by which you’ll know whether this trip was a success. We can still be a success even if someone sprains an ankle, but (goodness gracious!) would I prefer not to take anyone to the hospital! Perhaps you can pray for our safety and health?

No one jailed

Once again, especially with a group of 38 sincere Christians, I say this jokingly, but as my Irish friend Annie taught me:

Half in jest, whole in earnest.

In conclusion

I can hardly believe that we leave, in five hours as I write this (!), for the trip we began planning more than a year ago—it’s finally here! I cannot wait for all our hard work leading up to this moment to come to fruition. Although I subtitled this blog post “Dr. Potter’s attempt at humor writing,” we seriously do ask for your prayers! You can pray specifically that our tour meets these four “measurable” criteria and that we reach our more intangible goals for the trip, as well. We are so encouraged knowing that the way is prepared before us by the prayers of our campus community, our loved ones, and our supporters, and we ask you continue to pray down God’s blessing upon us as we travel and minister for the next eight days. Thank you!

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