Randy Phillips is one-third of the contemporary Christian music trio
Phillips, Craig and Dean. All three of the men are full-time pastors
of Pentecostal churches (Phillips pastors Promised Land church in
Austin, Texas, with his father). Phillips spoke with Joel Kilpatrick
about his music career and staying plugged into the local church.
Evangel: Talk about your background.
Phillips: I grew up at Louisiana camp meetings. All of our
fathers were Pentecostal preachers. Thats where I first got
the bug to sing. My father evangelized, and wed travel with
him and sleep in Sunday school rooms. Over the years Ive served
my dad in different capacities.
Evangel: With the opportunities your singing career has given
you, why do you stay full time at the church?
The local church has always been my heart. Ive had many
opportunities to go elsewhere, but I felt I needed to be here. When
this group took off, it crossed my mind to do music full time, but
the three of us never entertained it seriously. We know we are supposed
to be in the local church. Thats where our future is. Its
where God has placed us. The singing is an extension of that.
We do only midweek concerts so we dont miss Sunday services.
We miss Sunday maybe two or three times a year. We dont do
many Saturday concerts, even though that is the biggest night. Im
sure that has affected folks having us, but thats how
we do it.
Our churches heavily influence our writing. Many songs are inspired
by a real person, situation or sermon.
Evangel: Did you ever struggle with mixing entertainment and
Phillips: I dont struggle with it at all. I think
music should be entertaining. If its not, nobody will listen.
I feel like once you get people enjoying themselves, laughing and
having a good time, then they are open to the deeper things you
want to present. We strive for a balance of ministry and entertainment.
Our lyrics are deep. Not a lot of fluff.
An ideal concert is when all of us are hitting a good rhythm in
our singing and talking. Were interacting well and the audience
is reacting easy to laugh and cry, quick to worship. When
audience and artist are on the same page, that makes for an incredible
Evangel: What do you sense people wanting in the churches you
Phillips: They are wanting a real experience with Jesus
Christ. Many of the people we minister to have been Christians for
many years. The dailiness and busyness of life dulls and numbs the
soul and entangles us with distractions. Eventually you lose the
freshness and passion you once had. We pray that our concerts, in
that window of time, will rekindle the fire and move people to a
passionate place in Christ.
Evangel: How does the Lord minister in your concerts?
Phillips: He surprises me all the time. Being from Pentecostal
backgrounds, we have a program but we dont have to stick to
it. That comes from years of being a pastor. We try to capture moments
rather than sing some songs and wave good night. The moment always
shows up, but on different songs. Whenever the Holy Spirit moves
in, we stop and seize that moment and let the Holy Spirit do His
work. There have been many times when we planned to sing more songs
but didnt. We put our mikes up and go into the audience to
pray for people. Were amazed how He uses some of these songs.
Evangel: What would you say to encourage people who think they
have a musical gift?
Phillips: Many people dont want to pay the price of
laboring in obscurity until their gift becomes tested and tried.
They ask, "How can I be a contemporary Christian singer like
you?" What theyre really asking is, "How can I skip
steps 1-10 and hit the stage?" You cant. You open yourself
to God and ask if He has really given you a gift that will edify
and improve the church. Then you start at the local church level.
Ninety-five percent of the aspiring singers I talk to are not involved
with the local church. My advice is this: Let your gifts make room
for you at the local level, and God will elevate you to higher levels.
Thats the way it happened for all three of us.
Second, Peter says to humble yourselves under the mighty hand of
God and He will exalt you in due time. We tend to want exaltation
right now, but the process is to humble yourself. He wont
exalt you until youve been humbled. Get under the workload
of the local church. Help the youth pastor. Play songs for the congregation.
Theyll let you know real quick if your gift is ministering