Phil Wickham & Brandon Lake on Sharing the Gospel and Taking ‘Summer Worship Nights’ to Hawaii in 2024

Posted on Friday, March 22, 2024 by Lindsay Williams

Conversation with Phil Wickham & Brandon Lake

Individually, Phil Wickham and Brandon Lake are two of the biggest names in modern worship music today. Together, they’re an unmatched force for the Gospel. Need proof? Look no further than the duo’s “Summer Worship Nights” tour, returning this August following an unprecedented inaugural run in 2023. The wildly popular co-headlining bill will bring a nearly two-hour set to 17 new cities beginning Aug. 1, 2024. Featuring special guest Hulvey, this year’s installment of “Summer Worship Nights” is slated to visit major markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles, before wrapping on Aug. 28 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Air1 recently sat down with the award-winning artists for a joint interview ahead of the tour’s pre-sale, which officially launches today, Mar. 22, 2024. Wickham and Lake logged onto a Zoom call from their respective homes in San Diego and Charleston, eager to talk about reprising their collaborative outing. During the exclusive conversation, the two hitmakers gushed about being one another’s biggest fans, shared how they love creating life-defining moments for people and divulged whether or not they’ll be debuting new music on “Summer Worship Nights 2024.”

Air1: It would have been really easy for you to put a typical tour together where Brandon does his set, Phil does his set and then you come out and do one or two songs together at the end. But that’s not the vision behind “Summer Worship Nights.” You guys are both on stage together, singing one another’s songs nearly the entire night. Why was collaboration so important for you as you sketched out this particular tour?

Phil Wickham: It actually didn’t take much prep for me, because I’m a huge Brandon Lake fan, so I already knew all the songs.

Brandon Lake: Likewise. I already knew all of Phil’s songs.

Wickham: When my band and I go and do conferences, we play “Graves Into Gardens,” and we play “Praise You Anywhere.” So honestly, it took work, but it wasn’t like starting from scratch.

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Lake: If it was any work, it was more so I think with the band. We took half of my band, half of Phil’s band, and merged them together. So, some of these guys have been playing together for a long time; some of them were meeting for the first time. It’s very difficult putting two drummers on the stage and trying to figure out how to make that work so it doesn’t sound like sneakers in a dryer. But honestly, we felt favor on the tour, even in rehearsals, with how much the band gelled. It should have been more difficult, but I think because this is something God had already written into history, there was an ease about it. We had been praying over it, and even coming out of the first rehearsal, the guys were like, “Man, it already feels like we’ve been playing together for a long time.”

And again, Phil and I prefer one another. When someone steps out, it’s easy, I think, for one of us to take the second seat. And so, yeah, it really wasn’t that difficult. And we write songs together. So I would say half of them were ones that we’ve either written together or we’ve been in a text like, “Check out this new song I’m working on.” We’re already familiar with everything.

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Air1: Why has sharing the Gospel and giving people a chance to respond become such a significant value of the “Summer Worship Nights” tour?

Wickham: Well, it’s not something I’ve done regularly. I’ve done it before, but it’s been more of a spontaneous thing. But, leading up to this tour, I honestly just think the Holy Spirit was speaking to us both. I can’t remember who texted who first, but it was like, “Hey, these rooms are going to be so full of people. It seems like a wasted opportunity if we don’t give them a chance to say, ‘I want to follow Jesus.’” We never second-guessed it. It just felt so right, and we were both so excited about it.

Lake: I’ve had a big heart for seeing people get healed on these nights. I think the Church should be a lot more like a hospital than a country club where all the saints come and hang out. I think it should feel like a hospital where the sick come and they’re healed. And the best chance for someone to get a breakthrough, I think, is in the presence of God. And then when you add a few thousand people who are joining their faith together, that’s an amazing opportunity, an amazing atmosphere where God is just moving. But I remember thinking, “Where’s this moment going to be where we could minister to people?” And then, it was almost like I was corrected as we were practicing and playing and praying, because God was like, “Hold up. Yes, I’m going to heal people, but more than anything, I want to heal hearts. I want people to get saved.”

We also have a chance to make a multigenerational impact, where it’s not just the person getting saved in the room, but where it’s going to affect the way they lead their family, and maybe their children get saved because of someone getting saved that night. I think that’s goal number one. Beyond just worshiping God, the goal is to see the lost be saved. 

Think of any general in the faith. They had a moment where they said “yes” to Jesus. And a lot of them have said that it was at a conference, it was at a worship night, it was at a gathering where they felt the Lord speak to them and they responded. And so every night’s an opportunity for another Phil to be born again, for another Brandon to be born again. And so I think the more we leaned into that idea, the more we realized, man, salvation is the whole point.

Air1: Last year you guys wrote “People of Heaven” exclusively for this tour. Are you writing a new song for this string of shows?

Lake: Well, we didn’t mean to, but lately we’ve been working on this song that we are really excited about, and we talked about actually debuting it on this tour. I don’t want to give it away, but I think it’s really special. It’s totally opposite of “People of Heaven,” sonically, but it’s a beautiful blend of our styles. I’m pumped about it and hope we get it ready in time for tour.

Wickham: I’m pushing for it. It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve written in the last two years. I absolutely love it. So I think it’s going to be an amazing moment. It lights my heart up every time. I can’t wait for people to hear it and sing it with us. 

Air1: You’re ending the tour in Hawaii! Have you ever played a show there before?

Wickham: It’s been a long time for me. I’m trying to think… The last time I played in Honolulu, I was probably 19 years old at a Calvary Chapel church. I’ve gone to Maui a few times and played in a church there, but it’s been a long time, so I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome.

Lake: I’ve never been. I’m scared I’m going to stay and I’m never going to come home.

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