Travel and ministry go hand in hand for Fred Weeks, a group leader and tour operator from Tuscumbia, Alabama. Weeks got his start as a travel planner when he was helping his son start a ministry organization.
“My son was attending university on a music scholarship,” he said. “He pulled up to a stop sign and found four different churches on four different corners. He came back asking why there was so much division in the body of Christ.
“He wanted to bring his loves together, so he organized Connection for the Lord Ministries in 1989. We started touring with a group of youth and college students called the Connection Singers. We’re still doing that.”
Weeks, who was working in the insurance field at the time, volunteered to coordinate the travel for the group, putting together performance itineraries that took them from Alabama to Texas, Louisiana, the Carolinas and Indiana. After doing the logistics work for the group for several years, he developed quite a knack for planning group travel.
In 1994, Weeks had a conversation with a friend who had developed a successful tour company in Texas. The friend convinced him that he could put his travel skills to work for paying customers.
“He told me that we could make money for the ministry by running tours,” Weeks said. “So we put together a tour to Branson. I took 38 people, had a good time and made a little money for the ministry.”
Soon, Weeks was coordinating so many tours that he quit his insurance job and formed Connection Christian Tours, which operates as a division of his son’s Connection for the Lord Ministries. Today, the company offers a wide range of travel products, including bus charters, student group trips and family reunions. It also packages and sells about 30 of its own group tours every year.
“People still want to go to Branson,” Weeks said. “We also do Nashville and Atlanta a lot. There’s lots to see in all of those cities that have to do with faith.
“This will be the 17th year in a row that we do the National Quartet Convention in Louisville. In the South, people love that Southern gospel music, so that’s a really popular trip. But my son is into the contemporary music, so we also do some things with some younger people in that area.”