Bill Highsmith: Fifty Years of Faith Travel

 
 

Ashley Ricks
Published October 04, 2018

Fast Facts about Bill Highsmith 

Travel Program:

Bill Highsmith plans travel for the Tripping Ministry, the travel program for Tusculum Hills Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He also invites members of the local community to join trips.

Favorite Bible verse:

Philippians 4:19 NKJV

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Hometown:

Highsmith was born in Springfield, Tennessee, and has lived most of his life in or around Nashville.

Favorite Destination:

Highsmith said his favorite international destination is Europe, remembering a 13-day trip across eight countries he did with the church group. In the United States, his favorite is the historic area around Williamsburg, Virginia; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C.

Hobbies:

Highsmith loves gardening; he grows both flowers and vegetables.

Meet Bill Highsmith

Youth group travel, senior retreats, mission trips, day trips and outreach programs — it’s hard to believe one man can plan them all, but Bill Highsmith has done it.

Highsmith has been planning travel for the Tusculum Hills Baptist Church in Nashville for 27 years, but his career in travel started over 50 years ago at his previous congregation. Highsmith was working with a high school boys’ organization through the church and wanted to treat them to a trip, something they’d never done as a group. The trip was such a success that traveling together became a regular occurrence for the group, with trips growing to include other members of the congregation.

By the time Highsmith moved and began working with the Tusculum Hills congregation, he was a deft planner. At Tusculum Hills, he began working with the senior adults and planned his first “big trip” to Hawaii in 1995. Now the church’s Tripping Ministry has become a valuable part of the work at that congregation, edifying members of the congregation and bringing in members of the community.

Highsmith also helps plan annual mission trips for the congregation, partnering with groups throughout the world. Last year, he partnered with the Crow Nation to plan a mission trip to Atlanta. He also has an eight-year partnership that brings church members on mission trips to Barbados.

Highsmith has found success recruiting new travelers by using a sign-up sheet placed at the local community center’s information counter. He said his group will often include travelers from other denominations because of this outreach method. Despite differences in ideology, the travel program has become a “ministry of wellbeing” for the interdenominational group, with many of these community members becoming repeat travelers.

Another way Highsmith builds interest in his trips is with a mailing to all his past travelers and by holding an annual information meeting each fall. At the meeting, he announces all the trips the group is booking for the upcoming year. He said he plans it for September or October so he can use the helpful information he gains by attending the Going On Faith Conference each August.

Travel Tips

1. Plan well. Know everything there is to know about where you’re going and what you’re going to do to avoid any hiccups.

2. Know your travelers and plan trips based on what they want to do rather than just ones you think look enjoyable.

3. Know what price range your core group of travelers will respond to.