A dozen years after his experience on “American Idol,” Phil Stacey thanks the talent contest for advancing his ministry.
“I love doing this. I love going to churches and partnering in ministry,” said Stacey, who will perform Sunday night, April 7, at the North Central Kansas Men’s and Boys’ Rally in Beloit. “I know that ‘American Idol’ is a good connection point to the community. Even if they don’t watch it now or have never watched it, they know what it is. It’s kind of a nice, interesting factor to hear an ‘American Idol’ guy is coming.”
The performance, rescheduled from early March because of winter weather, is part of the 70th annual rally, which began as a male-only event and has evolved into one that welcomes everyone.
Stacey has worked for the past five years as worship arts pastor of City Church, an interdenominational congregation in Lenexa. While his concert schedule outside the church has slowed down in 2019, he said, last year he gave 120 performances outside his home church.
“I’ll come in here and shove a fulltime week in Monday through Wednesday,” including working 13-hour days, he said in a phone interview from his church office.
The son of a Church of God pastor, Stacey moved frequently in his childhood, graduating from Wichita Northwest High School in 1997.
He joined the U.S. Navy in 2001 and became lead singer of the Navy band Pride – all while balancing his Christian music.
“I was touring the country singing Led Zeppelin, Guns ‘n’ Roses, even modern stuff at the time like Fall Out Boy, and at the same time I was minister of music at a church in Jacksonville, Florida,” the 41-year-old recalled.
After his 2007 success on “American Idol,” he signed a deal with the country music arm of Walt Disney Records, and made appearances on Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres’ talk shows, and serving as the opening act for Sugarland, Lady Antebellum and Trace Adkins.
Although one song, “If You Didn’t Love Me,” hit the country charts, Stacey said he felt unfulfilled.
IF YOU GO
Who: Phil Stacey
When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7
Where: First UMC, 801 N. Bell St., Beloit
Tickets: $10 for the concert; limited tickets remain for the 5 p.m. dinner, an additional $10; to reserve tickets, call 785-534-2559 or from this link
“I wanted to use the platform that I believe God had given me through ‘American Idol’ to share faith with people and encourage people that God loves them,” he said.
Stacey said he discovered many universalities while on tour.
“The more you go on the road, the more people you meet, the more you realize that the universal experience is pain. How we relate to each other is that everybody has pain in their lives,” he said. “They have obstacles to overcome.” Quoting Psalm 46:1, Stacey said the hurt can know God is their refuge and strength.
“There’s a lot of people out there that have hopeless situations, but the scriptures promise hope – victory even, and ultimate victory eventually,” he said.
When not performing or at his own church, the father of two daughters works with several youth mission groups, including Youth For Christ, Young Life and Club Beyond, as well as partnering with Focus on the Family for suicide-prevention programs, including some directly for military veterans.
Stacey has also performed several times for United Methodist Men national meetings.
Kevin Marozas, president of the Beloit United Methodist Men, said a cousin of his heard Stacey’s presentation in Scandia, Kansas, and recommended him for the Beloit rally.
“He just said he was great and enjoyed his music and enjoyed his presentation,” Marozas said.
His concert in Beloit, Stacey said, will be about half of his own music and half familiar Christian songs.
Stacey plans to release his first Christian music since 2011 later this year. His last wide Christian release was in 2009, and the 2011 work was a promotional CD that will be available at his concerts.
He said he is grateful for what “American Idol” had done for him, and that it still interests the people in his church.
“I still have people that ask,” he said. “Literally two days ago in church, a woman who had been there for two or three years came up to me and said, ‘Were you really on “American Idol,” because the woman next to me just said that.’
“They were just blown away,” he added with a laugh.