Contemporary Christian artist Phil Wickham will perform at Union College on Friday evening, February 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“Last year I told God ‘if you put me in a place of leadership on campus, I want to do anything possible to bring the right people to Union College so that we can be uplifted and renewed in spirit,’” said junior theology major and Union For Christ director Hector Melendez. “When I got the position as UFC director, the first person I thought about bringing was Phil Wickham.”
Melendez has seen Wickham in concert twice and believes bringing him to the college will help unite students in worship. “His concert is a worship service,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever felt Jesus present in my life or in a worship service as when I’ve been listening to Phil, I ended up crying each time. That’s something we need here at Union, something directed towards God where all of us can come together as a community of believers.”
Born into a musical family, Wickham first became involved in leading worship services in his home church at the age of 13. “I feel like I’m called first and foremost to be a worship leader,” he said in a video interview with Chris Horton on WorshipCohort.com, a ministry that supports pastors and worship leaders. “I sing other songs too, but that’s my favorite part.”
In 2003, Wickham independently released his first album, Give You My World, co-produced with his father and recorded in a home studio. Though little publicized, the album was well received by critics and Wickham eventually signed with Simple Records.
After releasing a self-titled album with the label in 2006, Wickham released Cannons about a year later. In an interview with Upcast Magazine, an online music periodical, he explained the intentional progression and lyrics of the songs on the album. “The ultimate goal is to bring people through testimony and personal experience … to a point where … they’ve been able to experience the presence of God.”
Wickham believes that he is called to connect people with God through music. “I hope to inspire a moment where they can encounter God, worship him and encounter the truths of who He is,” he told Horton. “The only way that can happen is through the truths of scripture. Usually, it’s not word for word in my songs, but hopefully every word I say can be backed up with a scripture verse.”
“His lyrics make you think about God in a different way,” said Marielle Solis, junior medical laboratory science major. “They’re very poetic and he uses a lot of adjectives to describe God or heaven. I hope that people get the same feeling that I do when I listen to his music.”
Wickham’s seventh and newest album, Singalong 2, was released in October of last year. The second of his live acoustic albums, it was recorded in the church where his father served as worship leader to an audience of friends. The album was available online for free for a limited period of time when it was first released to raise support for Compassion International, the Christian child development organization he will represent at Union.
Compassion International connects children living in poverty with sponsors who provide food and education for them and their families through monthly donations. “Compassion works exclusively in partnership with local churches in developing nations to deliver a holistic child development program,” explains their website. “By working holistically with individual children to address their spiritual, economic, social and physical needs, we present every child with an opportunity to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.”
Now working on his next album, Wickham will visit Union to raise support for the nonprofit organization. “I appreciate the genuine aspect of a real journey with Christ,” said Melendez. “He doesn’t do just praise songs or deep songs, it’s a mixture of both. That really helps out in understanding God in daily life: knowing that He’s there, He’s willing to take me back and He’s worthy to be praised.”
Wickham will perform in the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church on the campus of Union College. The church is located at the corner of 48th and Prescott and the event is free and open to the public.