The Collingsworth Family: Unforgettable Moments & Music
We’ve had the pleasure of traveling on multiple cruises with the six talented members of the Collingsworth family. Since launching their music ministry 36 years ago, Phil and Kim Collingsworth—along with their children—now perform multiple times a week all over the United States. They’ve appeared on many Gaither Homecoming events and graced stages from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville to venues in Sweden and Norway. Along the way, each family member has become an expert traveler.
“Travel is simply a way of life for those of us in the music profession,” patriarch Phil Collingsworth says. “It is quite necessary to tour to facilitate our career, thus traveling becomes an intricate part of what we do.” Despite the family’s busy schedule, Phil sat down to share about their ministry, and the role travel plays in their lives. Below are a few highlights and stories from Phil.
Sharing the journey with friends
So many times, along the pathway of our traveling, we’re reunited with friends from years past. It’s also incredible to share unforgettable moments with our fans. A few of my favorite memories are:
- Traveling to the state of Montana and reconnecting with my college roommate, who pastored a church in Bozeman. What a lot of laughter and memories!
- Performing in Carnegie Hall with a huge group of our followers. It felt surreal singing in that famed venue like we were living part of history.
- Meeting folks in Western Canada. They really inspire us because they are hungry for faith-focused music and come out in large numbers. This incredible response to purchasing our music is a tremendous encouragement.
Moments, memories, and funny stories
One of the funniest memories of travel is when our bus alternator went out just as we completed the Grapevine [famous freeway route] and entered Los Angeles. We rolled to a stop as the bus died, and ended up in front of a woman’s driveway in the heart of Los Angeles. Her first reaction was to let out her two pit bulls and call the police. Wow! Welcome to Los Angeles.
Another memory I can’t help but chuckle over is when we crossed the border to Canada, years ago. One of our daughters-in-law realized she was still in possession of a personal safety product—a taser! Those are not allowed into Canada, so unfortunately she had to surrender it to the border agents. She had to enter the building and sign off on the device. When we asked the agent what he planned to do with the taser, he joked that he would send it to the Queen.
Growing as You Go
What I appreciate about traveling is how it expands your mind as you experience other cultures. I’ve found that this helps validate the extreme difference knowing Christ makes in our lives. Traveling causes us to rely heavily on our faith in God, especially to help us in situations over which we have no control.
Music That Ministers
The stories and testimonies of our fans encourage us to continue in our ministry of music. Recently we got a private Facebook message from the wife of a young pastor in Ireland. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Late one night, she was struggling to breathe and the words of our song “Gotta Get to Jesus” entered her mind, repeating over and over and comforting her just when she needed it most. She shared how much our music had ministered to her. The next week her husband contacted us, letting us know she had been promoted to Heaven. What an honor to have ministered to her in the final days of her journey on earth, and what a powerful reminder to keep our eyes focused on God and the people around us.
Getting away from the familiar is a catalyst for creativity. Many, many times our experience of different locations and hearing different speakers has inspired a hook or line for a song. This is especially true of the scenic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.
Travel changes us and can draw us closer to God
We hope you enjoyed these stories and insights from Phil Collingsworth. If you want to get away with God and experience the joy of exceptional travel experiences, click below to check out our upcoming events.