They were the words no parent wants to hear from the doctor: “Your son has 20 minutes to live… In fact, with all his complications and physical challenges, if by some miracle he does live, your son will never function as a normal person and will likely be severely handicapped his entire life.”  Those were the words Milton and Eunice Barfoot heard on that cold, rainy day in 1955 in Seattle, Washington.

What happened next is an absolute miracle that God performed in the weak and struggling 8 month old little body of Phil Barfoot.  By the time his parents Rev. and Mrs. Barfoot arrived at the hospital, Phil was completely and totally healed!  An extraordinary story that is well-documented in the “day-timer” of Milton Barfoot.

Phil calls it “God’s favor.”  “I never cease to be amazed at the favor of God.  It’s something I talk about and celebrate every day,” Phil says with a sense of awe and wonder.

Since that dark, overcast day in Seattle, Washington, God’s favor has followed Phil and his family every step of the way. 

A true Christian entrepreneur, Phil attributes much of his success to a phrase he learned from Robert Schuller while doing his internship at the Crystal Cathedral: “The secret to success is to find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it; find a problem and solve it.”

Phil has spent his entire career doing exactly that.

After serving as Minister of Music in a large southern California church during his freshman year at Southern California College (now Vanguard University), he got a call from the Dean, who told him that the Chairman of the Choral Department had just resigned and the University would like Phil to run the department until they found a replacement.

So, as a 19 year old student, Phil “filled a need” and helped the University while learning more that special year than any year of his life!

In his early 20’s, while a Minister of Music in Alhambra, California, the church was in need of a worship musical that was contemporary in style and that featured the choir as worship leaders.

Phil wrote a ground-breaking musical called IN HIS PRESENCE that was published by Manna Music and broke all sales records for the company as churches around the world embraced it, filling a need for authentic, celebrative worship.

In the mid-80’s, churches needed a more effective and efficient method of showing lyrics to the congregation of the new, popular worship songs that were becoming staples in the worship of thousands of churches.

In true Barfoot fashion, Phil jumped in and provided full-color pictorial worship slides that “filled a need” and were used in churches all around the world.

Phil says with passion: “Win-win are two words that describe any and all actions of our companies.  It is very important to us that everything we do is a win-win for all parties.”

In 1995, Phil sold both Phil Barfoot Music Company and SilverSpring Music Group to the Benson Company in Nashville.  As part of the sale, Phil became Vice President of Benson for 3 years.

Desperately missing the challenges and daily excitement of running an entrepreneurial company, Phil then sensed a need to inspire and equip growing Music Ministries around the globe and created THE ULTIMATE IDEA BOOK FOR MUSIC MINISTRY, which contained 500 great ideas for Music Ministries from churches around the country.

This concept flourished and soon the brand expanded to include dozens of ULTIMATE IDEA SEMINARS, THE ULTIMATE IDEA TAPE CLUB, and THE ULTIMATE IDEA BOOK FOR MUSIC MINISTRY VOLUME 2, a 9 ½ pound exhaustive manual, which included 1104 great ideas for Music Ministry from churches across America.

Phil has always had a passion to get the choir “outside the walls of the local church” in ministry around the world.  To further realize this vision, Phil formed Christian Copyright Alliance, a company that recorded over 100 local church choirs per year, expanding the ministry of local church choirs literally around the globe.

In 2010, Phil and Sheri were asked to put a Holy Land trip together.  After calling a few friends, that first trip resulted in over 250 travelers experiencing the Holy Land and performing Christmas concerts right in the heart of Bethlehem.

Again, sensing the need to expand the ministries of the local church choir, Phil and Sheri then started Celebration Concert Tours International, which has taken over 20,000 travelers on the following trips around the world:

Christmas in New York at Carnegie Hall – 14 years, Celebrate America at Kennedy Center – 7 years, Music City Celebration at the Ryman Auditorium – 4 years, the Branson PraiseFest at the Mansion Theater – 3 years, Worship in the Holy Land – 10 trips per year, The Best of Italy – 7 years, Music and Ministry in Eastern Europe – 5 years, Discover Spain and Portugal – 1 year, Experience Britain and France – 3 years, The Best of Scotland and Ireland – 3 years, Footsteps of Paul Greece Tour – 1 year, numerous cruises with artists such as Sandi Patty, Phillips, Craig and Dean, Geron Davis and Kindred Souls, among many others.

In late 2019, Phil and Sheri noticed there was a huge need in the Christian Community to provide a staffing company that matched great ministry talent with churches in a timely, efficient and effective manner.

Thus, Celebration Ministry Staffing was born.  CMS has quickly become one of the fastest growing church staffing companies in America.  The concept is unique, in that the company is built on long-term relationships and a team of advisors that represent some of the finest Worship Pastors, Pastors and Executive Pastors in America, all joining forces to help each church find the finest staff members for their positions.

From 2006 to 2021, Phil served as a Composer and Consultant for Lifeway Worship in Nashville, Tennessee.  In 2021, when Lifeway and most major Christian Music publishers closed their church music publishing operations, Phil and Sheri saw the obvious need to fill the major gap left by the exit of these companies.  Thus, CCT Music was born to continue to provide quality choral music for the local church choir.

CCT Music has partnered with Semsen Music as their major distributor to the church market.

2023 has seen huge growth in this company as they released a Christmas Collection titled THE BEST OF CHRISTMAS, along with 25 choir anthems under the new label “NEWWORSHIP COMMUNITY”, featuring 25 arrangements per year of the best and finest new worship songs being sung by churches around the world.

For years, Phil and Sheri and business partner, Daewoo Kim, saw the need for a state-of-the-art, premium quality recording studio in Nashville.  In September of 2021, Phil and Sheri purchased a top-of-the-line Carl Tatz-designed studio they named Studio 78 (the periodic table number for platinum), which has quickly become one of the most sought-after recording facilities in Nashville.

Much of the choral and instrumental music released to the church market is recorded there.  Located on the first floor of the Barfoot’s home in Brentwood, TN, the byline of Studio 78 is “a world-class studio with a hometown feel.”

Phil recently completed his fourth devotional book which features 365 daily devotionals written by 240 premiere Worship Pastors from all across America.  The fourth book is titled ENTER HIS GATES, which sold over 8,000 copies the first day of release.

Every once in a while, Phil still comes home and proclaims to Sheri, “I have a great idea!”  Sheri then rolls up her sleeves and holds on for the ride.  Sheri puts it all in perspective… “Find a need and fill it,” “Win-win,” and “God’s favor are concepts that live every day in the walls of our home.”

They now anxiously await the next chapter on the journey.

Ben Griffin.

Editor’s note: Phil and Sheri have three children, Amy, Aaron and Adam, and two grandchildren, Ellie and Austin.

Celebration Concert Tours International, Celebration Ministry Staffing, CCT Music

3326 Aspen Grove Drive Suite 300

Franklin, TN 37067

(615) 771-2665

[email protected], [email protected]

Studio 78

Daewoo Kim, Chief Recording Engineer

(615) 310-7707

Semsen Music

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