Stories & Songs: MercyMe’s Robby Shaffer on Music and Travel
The highly decorated and popular Christian music band MercyMe is known for their soaring anthems, authentic personalities and their tireless touring schedule. Although they travel around the world performing songs that proclaim God’s glory, there is one event in particular that we eagerly anticipate every year: their annual MercyMe at Sea Caribbean Cruise. We have partnered with the band for seven consecutive years to organize this event and are honored to work alongside these music legends.
This week of daily sunshine and nightly concerts is among our favorite Christian travel events every year. It’s a pleasure to spend time with vocalist Bart Millard, bass guitarist Nathan Cochran, guitarist/keyboardist Michael John Scheuchzer, guitarist Barry Graul, drummer Robby Shaffer and their families.
With the next MercyMe at Sea Caribbean Cruise coming up in a few months, we sat down with Robby Shaffer to ask a few questions about the role travel plays in his life individually and within the ministry of MercyMe.
What has travel meant to you?
It’s become a life-giving necessity for me and my family. We love getting away for a time to just unplug from the daily grind.
Can you share with us a memorable or funny moment you’ve had during a trip or vacation?
My wife and I had the opportunity to visit Rome and Venice for our 20th anniversary. It was the trip of a lifetime.
Another moment was a trip to the Bahamas I took with a group of friends to celebrate a couple of our birthdays. We rented a boat to go see the swimming pigs [at Big Major Cay]. On the way, the boat caught fire when the engine blew up due to sand in the intake. We all decided to jump ship and were stranded in the middle of the ocean for a few hours until we could get help. But it’s hard to complain when you are “stuck” in beautiful, crystal-clear water!
What do you get from traveling that you can’t experience with anything else?
It gives us a chance to do something or see something we can’t do at home. For me, [traveling] is all about the experience. I also love seeing the beauty the world has to offer— it really stirs my affection for Christ!
How has travel impacted your faith and your worldview?
It gives me the ability to really see how different the world is. From how we pursue faith to our freedoms and basic luxuries (or lack of them). You get a better understanding of how blessed we truly are in the USA.
Where are your favorite places to be when writing or composing?
We recently bought a studio in Nashville and wrote our latest album, “inhale (exhale),” there. We did the same thing for a previous album but rented a cabin in Lake Tahoe instead. In each of those experiences, the scenery really inspired us to get to work.
Which destinations are still on your travel list?
Israel, France, South Africa and Greece are all places that I am eager to cross off my bucket list!
Where did some of your favorite conferences or concerts take place? What made them remarkable?
Hawaii, Red Rocks, and the Gorge in Washington state would probably be my favorites. The beauty that you see while performing at those locations is so inspiring.
Robby Shaffer and MercyMe are heading to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Key West during the next MercyMe at Sea in 2022.