For more than 12 years, Phil Joel was the long-haired bass player with the contemporary Christian band, the Newsboys. In early 2007, Phil left the group to pursue a new ministry: deliberatePeople (www.deliberatePeople.com), an organization he and his wife, Heather, founded in 2004 to help people turn their passion for God into a plan to daily pursue him through prayer and Bible reading. MP talked with Phil and Heather about what the ministry means to them.
Your ministry encourages people to be intentional about pursuing a deeper relationship with god. what got you started?
Phil: We were living the American dream—a fantastic house, wonderful jobs, a new baby. But we realized our relationship with God wasn't what it should be. There wasn't any big sin or problem. We just saw that our pastor was far more passionate about God than we were. We wanted that passion.
Heather: We knew we could either choose to pursue that passion, or ignore it and continue on as we were. So we approached our pastor and said, "What do we do to really know God the way you know him?" He gave us a one-year Bible reading schedule, which we got excited about.
Do you do the readings together?
Phil: We do them at the same time in the morning, but we go to separate rooms to read, pray, and journal. At first the idea of regular Bible study terrified me—too much structure. But it's an accountability system that ensures we throw ourselves into God's presence every day.
Heather: Probably two out of every three days we meet together afterward. We'll say, "Hey, did you read that?" or "I wrote this down today—I really felt God speaking to me."