Pastor Phil Stephens
Pastor Stephens has been the Lead Pastor of Southside Assembly since April of 2005. He was born and raised in Montgomery, AL where he felt the call to ministry when he was 17 years old. As a young boy, he gave his heart to God at a Royal Ranger Pow Wow when he was 9. He began preaching at his home church in December 1972 when he was 17. He attended Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida the following year where he graduated in 1978 with a degree in Pastoral Ministries.
Pastor Stephens met his wife, Deborah, at First Assembly of God in Montgomery, AL when Deborah was nine and Pastor Phil was 12. Deborah's parents were in the military and were stationed at Maxwell Air Force base in Montgomery for eleven months. During that time Deborah had asked God to let her meet the man she would marry. Little did she know that God was answering her prayer. Together they have been Youth Pastors in Florida and Indiana and served as missionaries in Mexico City, Mexico. Additionally, they have pastored churches in Hartford, Alabama; Sylacauga, Alabama; Bastrop, Louisiana; Ozark, Alabama, as well as Excel, Alabama before coming to Southside AG in Lakeland, Florida in April of 2005.
Pastor Phil and Deborah have been married since 1976 and have two children; Tim Stephens and Christina Brumbalow and six grandchildren. Tim and his wife, Cinthia pastor Callaway Assembly in Panama City, FL. Christina and her husband, Keith pastor Excel Assembly of God in Alabama. Pastor Phil and Deborah are spiritual parents to Ryan and Brandy Faircloth and have adopted their kids as grandchildren bringing the total grandchildren count to eight.
Pastor Stephens' favorite scripture is 2 Chronicles 7:14 because it gives both the challenge leading to God's blessings and spells out God's desires for His people. Pastor Stephens expresses, "It is my prayer to truly be obedient to the Holy Spirit as He directs us as a congregation. I can envision a congregation founded firmly upon the principles of God's Word, pursuing Him passionately, being real before God and man, being organized in our purpose and ministry to our community, and Pentecostal in our testimony. It is my heart that our community will KNOW that we exist and feel blessed by our presence."