Pop Gospel Musician-ary and Evangelical Minister Rick Stephenson ushers in a new era of collective worship, breaking through the mere motion of prayer to expose real raw emotion for congregants. Through his music ministry he creates a sacred space for true spiritual praise to take place.
Rick’s refreshing platform offers numerous outlets including worship leadership, artistry as a prolific, award-winning songwriter with a vast catalog of modern, influential songs and a new business paradigm for the Christian music market. Up next for the ministering musician is releasing a powerfully distinct album to be entitled; New Day, which will showcase different sides of Rick’s invigorating musicality. In addition, Rick is about to launch his innovative monthly worship music subscription service, Vessel-2-Vessel Inc.
“God is a God of NOW. He speaks to us through what we are experiencing at this moment,” explains Rick. “To connect with Him, the worship we bring needs to transcend mere melodies and the songs we sing must provide that opportunity. They need to allow us to move beyond the physical realm of just singing a song into the involvement of being present with our feelings and desires.”
Rick is a certified minister through the Assemblies of God. Parallel to his preaching and teaching career as a guest minister, he’s established himself as a gifted songwriter with a stirring modern rock appeal. His adult contemporary Christian catalog has garnered him favorable comparisons to Chris Tomlin, Matt Maher, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jason Gray, Rich Mullins, and Bebo Norman. He’s had the distinction of winning songwriting awards from the Song Door International Competition, Great Lakes Songwriting Contest, and Write About Jesus.
To spread God’s message, Rick has emerged as an innovative entrepreneur. As such, he founded a ministry organization to address addictive behaviors especially in teens via; Zombie Rescue Mission, Inc. and more recently he’s been building a robust profile having founded the publishing and record label N-Siteful Music, Inc. To date, he’s released four of his own albums on N-Siteful, but eventually the label will support a roster of faith-based artists. Rick is also readying the launch of Vessel-2-Vessel Inc., a monthly worship music subscription service. The company will be both an outlet for Rick’s own bountiful creativity, and a voice for up and coming songwriters through the offering of Christian songwriting contests, seminars and retreats.
Rick’s accomplishments as a minister and music professional are powerfully contextualized by his humble personal story. He was born in Libertyville, Illinois and raised in Rockford, Illinois. From the age of three to seven he lived in a physically abusive foster home. Upon being adopted at the age of seven by parents with an active religious faith, Rick first felt the presence of God. “I remember going to church and hearing ‘There is a God and God loves you’, which impacted me greatly. I hadn’t known anything about God or experienced real love before that moment, so it was an intriguing thought to pursue.” Rick confides. And purse it he has! In fact that very pursuit is evident in every facet of Rick’s life, personality, profession and ministry.
Rick’s path towards a career in ministry and music may have been destined but it was also obscure. Along the path, there have been both overwhelming challenges that could have caused him to give up and defining moments of profound revelations shining down from above guiding him through the darkness. At age eight, he began studying classical piano but disliked the rigidity of lessons so he began making up his own music. “If my mom heard music coming out of the piano, she thought I was practicing. She just didn’t know that I was improvising,” Rick confesses. “I would fall asleep at night wiping away tears of heartache and loneliness, and then drown myself in the music of Top-40 radio. I would dream of a music career but it wasn’t encouraged. Rather the ‘safe’ route was promoted and obediently pursued by me,” admits Rick.
During college, Rick was spiritually lost. “I ran from God. I was searching but also struggling with depression and very low self-esteem. I was looking for power to change my life,” he discloses. It was during this time that Rick experienced a very low and dark side of his existence. As he slowly climbed his way out, he began to drift along a numbing quest for redemption through business pursuits. “Sure, I obtained the accounting degree, as well as both Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant accolades, to prove I was ‘good-enough’ but the longing remained.” It would be years later before Rick would nurture and fine-tune his ministry and musical gifts.
In 1994, like a spotlight shining down from a coal black sky, Rick had an illuminating moment. Deep in prayer and locked inside the love of God during worship, the past receded into darkness and the future beaconed. He was attending a worship service by gospel artist Vicki Yohe, and it was then that he realized his fate was to spread God’s love through musical ministry.
But before he completely vowed to dedicate his life to the Lord’s message, he attended a healing/faith crusade. Prior to the service, he prayed to God saying that if it was God’s will to use Rick as a vessel for His message that God needed to confirm it as part of the service. At the time, Rick was suffering from neck and back pain due to a prior car accident. During the service, as the preacher prayed for those with physical needs, Rick simply requested prayer for his physical ailments and so the preacher prayed. Rick was instantly healed and upon walking away the preacher abruptly stopped and addressed Rick ‘You will excel at that which you aspire to do as long as you pledge your allegiance to God and God alone covenant brother!’ That was over 20 years ago and ever since Rick has been faithful to the light!
In 2002 with his faith reawakened, Rick began to seriously revisit music from his spiritually centered vantage point. The songs came slowly and with much difficulty at first, but undeterred by the struggle, he began to hone his once dormant skills. He set out to write fresh Christian music that he felt had the power of contemporary Top-40 but addressed faith and worship in an intimately truthful way.
Since, Rick has issued three independent albums of original music (Sanctuary of My Heart, Love Beyond Reason and My Everything), as well as one holiday CD entitled Christmas is Jesus. Now he embraces the release of "New Day", an arena-ready modern rock record produced by Sean Hill (Jamie Grace, Brad Guldemond) in Atlanta, GA. Lastly, an additional surplus of finely crafted songs will be issued under the Vessel-2-Vessel umbrella. These tracks will showcase his bold and diverse creativity and be offered via a monthly worship music subscription service. Songs from this body of work are available for other artists to perform and record, as well as to be promoted in worship among the body of Christ no matter if it is in a Church worship service, small home group or other public gathering.
Reflecting back on his journey in worship and ministry, Rick recalls going to a songwriter’s weekend intensive early on in his return to music. After presenting a song he knew was in its infancy, he endured a raw and painful criticism from the session instructor. Upon its conclusion, Rick walked out to the parking lot where tears flowed. “I prayed to God and said ‘If I’m not meant to be a songwriter, then Lord take this desire out of me, I can’t handle it.’ Within moments of this prayer, I was flooded with numerous song ideas and melodies, confirming to me God’s desire. Now after all this time, I am humbled by the creativity and ideas God provides to reach His people and I am blessed to be a part of what He is doing.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY:
"Our congregation appreciated and were blessed by Rick's ministry. Rick has a great voice to minister in song and a great heart to invite people to draw closer to the Lord. He created an atmosphere of intimacy among the people, preached on the Holy Spirit and invited them, if they had not yet done so, to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Several responded and received, while others are inquiring further. I am pleased to recommend Rick's ministry to any church large or small."
Pastor Randy Carey
Praise Assembly of God
Beaver Dam, WI
"Rick is a man of integrity and is filled with passion for what he does. His desire to serve others through his music and share the gospel is inspiring and admirable. A true singer/songwriter with a message to tell. A musical storyteller."
The Inner Vizion
Spring Hill, TN
"He was sensitive to the moving of the Spirit while playing and singing and let the Holy Spirit have His way during worship. We were blessed with the songs he wrote and sang at our services. Rick truly has a passion for music and preaching the Word of God. We appreciate all he did and recommend him."
Ann Marie Salzer - Pastor
New Life Community Church
West Allis, WI
"Rick… Your heart for God is so evident through each and every song. I know it rejoices the heart of God. Your sincere desire to honor and glorify Jesus is so apparent in the entire CD!"
Marsha Headly - Worship Pastor
Victory International Fellowship
"I love your music and play it often on my computer! I’m also planning to buy several CD’s to give as gifts. God has given you a wonderful talent!"
Diahann Loh - Owner
Adunate Word & Web Design
"Just wanted to let you know…I listen to your CD each morning on the way to work. I realized the first week, I listened to the words, and really enjoyed/appreciated what you had written. The next week I really listened to the melody. Don’t know which one is my favorite yet. Hope you continue with your passion to write and sing about HIM."
"Had a chance to listen to your CD, very impressive, not only did it have a very high production value but the music was actually worth listening to. Often music from that genre is sappy and a real turn off. The music seemed very polished and professional! I will definitely listen again!"
John A. Coyle
"I am genuinely pleased to give my sincere and heartfelt recommendation to the ministry and character of Rick Stephenson. He leads with sincerity and humility. It is not a performance when he worships, but he is interested in getting out of the way to allow God and the Holy Spirit to minister to those in attendance."
Mike Pieart - Pastor
New Life CommunityChurch
"Rick just performed at a Lighthouse event… he was a very pleasant man to work with and has great communication skills with the audience. His music is self-penned and blends real well with the Word of God. I would recommend him for any event you may have."
Mark Fechter – President
West Bend, WI
"Congratulations on your Honorable Mention… The more we listen to your music, the more clear it becomes that you have a place in the contemporary Christian market. You were made to write this kind of music. Just so enjoyable, thank you for sending your music to us.
You have fans in Nashville."
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