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Phillips, Craig and Dean: Not Easily Broken

By Kristi Watts with Tim Branson
The 700 Club One’s from Irving, Texas; one’s from St. Louis, Missouri, and one’s from Austin, Texas, which makes getting ready for rehearsals just a little tricky. But it’s obvious by their list of 18 hit singles, their Dove nominations and sales of over two million CDs and cassettes that Randy Phillips, Shawn Craig and Dan Dean have figured out a way to sound great without much time together.

Their newest release, 'Let the Worshipers Arise', shows off just what motivates these pastor/singers. It’s their genuine desire to help believers worship the God who loves them.

KRISTI WATTS: I know that all three of you all are pastors. But an interesting tidbit: You guys don’t live in the same state. In fact, you guys live in different states. Tell me how you’re able to do that. Where do you live?

Randy Phillips: I live in Austin, Texas.

KRISTI WATTS: Austin, Texas. Shawn?

Shawn Craig: St. Louis.

Dan Dean: And I’m in Dallas, Texas.

KRISTI WATTS: So how are you all able to get together and not just do a good job, but do a great job, enough for 18 hit singles?

Randy Phillips: Well, thank you. You’re very kind. We were friends before we got together as singers. Our families knew each other, and Shawn and Dan would come to my church. And so we grew up as friends before we were singers, and I think that’s the fabric that’s made 15 years possible. A lot of groups don’t stay together that long. But it was the friendship that proceeded the ministry. And so being in different cities hasn’t deterred that. In fact, it probably . . . .

Shawn Craig: It’s probably helped.

KRISTI WATTS: Really? Because you guys aren’t together.

Shawn Craig: Space.

KRISTI WATTS: So how often do you guys get together to rehearse for your albums?

Shawn Craig: We do about 40 concerts a year, because we’re still on staff at local churches. So we’re together about four or five times a month.

KRISTI WATTS: What would you attribute to the success of your 15-year stint in the music business?

Dan Dean: Well, Randy originally went to several record companies with a solo album he had, and they told him, “If you could find a couple guys to sing that could really sing with you, it would help a whole lot.”

KRISTI WATTS: So are you saying, Dan, that Randy really can’t sing?

Dan Dean: Oh, no [laughs]. Randy can sing, as people will find out. But I think the uniqueness of this group, first of all our background—we’re church boys, grew up in the church singing church harmony. And I think the harmony is what’s made this group unique. I think if you took any of us as solo artists, which we have solo projects a long time back . . . .

Shawn Craig: Very low.

Dan Dean: Very low is right. But the uniqueness, what made this group work, was the harmony.

KRISTI WATTS: Speaking of the harmony, when I think about Gospel singers back in the day, and harmony was a big aspect of it. And now you’ve got contemporary Christian music, which is very different from Christian music back then. Can you guys tell me how you have evolved in your own ministry in terms of music?

Shawn Craig: Well, I think not only we have evolved, but Christian music has changed. It’s a lot more vertical.

KRISTI WATTS: What do you mean by that?

Shawn Craig: Well, when we grew up, we sang a lot of songs about the church. We sang to each other. “I’ll fly away, O glory.” We talked about our experience. Now we’re singing a lot of songs to God or about His personal attributes. So our music has changed. The last three albums have been worship albums, primarily. A lot of the songs are vertical in their language now.

KRISTI WATTS: That’s wonderful. I know that you’ve received some miracles in your life recently. Not too long ago, you and your family were in a car accident. Tell me a little bit about that.

Dan Dean: My wife and I, on New Year’s Eve 2002, were preparing to get home and be in for the night, and a young man pulled out in front of us. [It was] this very violent collision. My wife broke her neck and back. The neck fracture was the exact same fracture Christopher Reeve suffered.


Dan Dean: But there were several great miracles that happened. Number one, my father-in-law, the night before, had a dream that we were in an accident and both of us were killed. He got out of bed and prayed, and we believe that’s why we’re still here -- the power of intercessory prayer. Secondly, there was a lady that came to my wife’s door. She had unbuckled her seat belt and opened her door and was getting ready to get out of the car. It was just a matter of seconds. She was saying, “Honey, you’re hurt. Don’t move.” Had she moved, she probably wouldn’t be alive, or if she was alive, she’d probably be paralyzed.

KRISTI WATTS: Wow. And see, today, 18 months later, your wife is . . . .

Dan Dean: She is totally, completely healed, and it’s a wonderful . . . It’s a miracle.

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