Preview 2020: An Interview with The Franklins
Barbi & Terry Franklin, world-renowned gospel singer songwriters and revival leaders from Nashville, TN, will join us at our 2020 Tour Preview on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA. We had the opportunity to get to know them a little better. We hope you’ll enjoy this interview and join us for our 2020 Tour Preview.
We’re excited to have you as part of our annual Preview in 2020. Do you visit Pennsylvania often? We understand you have some family in the area…
BARBI: We always enjoy coming to Pennsylvania and look forward to coming back! Terry and I have some distant relatives and a number of friends across Pennsylvania. Over the years we have given concerts in various cities throughout the state – it has always been one of our favorite places. I can’t think of any prettier place in this nation!
TERRY: Early in our ministry we traveled in a motorhome, towing a small utility trailer. Every time we came through PA, Barbi would want to visit every flea market and garage sale we could find that sold antiques or Amish-made furniture. That little trailer would go back to Tennessee full of various items from the area: wagon wheels, old metal milk jugs, beautiful rocking chairs…We have a LOT of Pennsylvania in our house!
Where did you grow up?
BARBI: I grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
TERRY: I grew up in North Miami Beach, Florida. Barbi grew up in the North, and I grew up in the South….now, we live exactly halfway between those two places, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tell us a little about your family…
BARBI: I have 3 sisters and a brother. All of us sing and play either violin or cello. My dad was a professor at Wheaton College for a number of years when I was very young. He was also a gifted Irish tenor singer. In 1963, my mother entered him as a contestant on “The Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour” and he won the national championship singing, “A Little Bit of Heaven.” As a part of winning he was asked to sing at a large hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. He worked up a few songs with our whole family (we were already playing and singing in harmony together – I was just 3 years old at the time, and played a 1/8th sized violin). “The Murk Family Musicale” was birthed. From there, we traveled for many years to come as a family all over the United States and in dozens of countries around the world. The Chicago Tribune wrote us up as “Chicagoland’s equivalent to the Von Trapp Family Singers,” which was funny because mom made all our dresses and still reminds me of the famous and sweet Maria from “The Sound of Music,” one of our family’s favorite movies.
TERRY: I grew up around music, but in a different way than Barbi. Both my parents were involved with Barbershop Quartet singing. My dad was the Lead singer of “The Suntones,” the 1961 International Champions of a yearly contest held by the Barbershop Quartet Society. They were innovators in their field. For 10 years they appeared weekly on “The Jackie Gleason Show,” a CBS television show that was taped each week on Miami Beach. My earliest memories are of dad’s group rehearsing in our home. Both mom and dad loved to sing.
Barbi and I have 2 grown sons who are skilled musicians, singers and songwriters. For many years we included a few acapella songs we would sing as a major part of our programs. They are both now married to sweet girls and we have one grandchild, so far…
Are there any other musicians in the family?
BARBI: My sisters and brother all sing and play string instruments, and now we have multiplied into 58 family members just between the 5 of us siblings with our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and spouses. Most of us have continued to use our talents either in itinerant, full-time ministry, or in local churches. My parents were very intentional in training us in God’s Word in a loving and practical daily way. As we grew up, we sang in many of the largest churches in America and traveled to many mission fields with our Christian message of hope for families. My parents always felt their children were their disciples to train up in the love and admonition of the Lord. I have beautiful memories of those years and was so privileged to marry a godly man who felt called to raise our sons in the same way. We truly LOVED traveling the world with our sons… Now that our sons are married, we’re on our honeymoon again, traveling, just the two of us, wherever God leads us to go.
Would you share your earliest musical memory and your musical influences…
BARBI: Terry and I both share a common passion for any kind of harmony singing. In fact, when we first met we were amazed that we were both admirers of the same vocal group, “The Singer’s Unlimited,” who were not super well known at the time. We both had all their albums and knew all their songs! I also loved Barbra Streisand’s singing. As a teenager growing in my relationship with Jesus, I was inspired by early Contemporary Christian Music pioneers such as Steve Camp, Randy Stonehill, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Keith Green, and many more.
TERRY: Perhaps because my dad was an entertainer, we had record albums from almost every genre of music, from The Beatles to Beethoven! My mom loved Brazilian jazz, which was popular at the time, so I heard a lot of that. Also, AM radio stations of that day played everything – a Rolling Stones song would be followed by a song from Percy Faith, or Anita Bryant! But after seeing Hovie Lister and The Statesmen Quartet, I became a devotee of southern gospel quartet singing. It had elements of my dad’s barbershop quartet music with its close harmony… but with rhythm… and a message. I had given my heart to Jesus as a 9 year old boy, so the message was—and is—very important to me.
Do you write your own music?
BARBI: Terry and I have always written most every song we have recorded. In our programs we do include well-known songs by others, particularly ones where we want the audience to join in and worship along with us. People have often asked us, “Do you both sit down and write the songs together?” That sounds incredibly romantic, but the answer is “no.” Usually one of us writes the majority of the song and brings it to the other. We then make edits, cuts, additions, etc. until we get a final version of the song we both like. It took us awhile to be comfortable allowing each other to do this, but ultimately, giving each other leeway has led to better songs. So, that’s why you see both our names on most all our songs.
TERRY: Songs we’ve written that folks might be familiar with are “Out Of His Great Love,” which was recorded by The Martin’s and won a Dove Award. “Calvary Came Through,” which was recorded by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Gold City and many others, was nominated for a Dove Award. “Show Me the Cross,” “God of All Gods,” “For God So Loved,” and many others, have all been recorded by various artists. Since 2011, our ministry took an intentional turn toward emphasizing prayer and fasting. Since we began in 1985, our theme has always been: “Inspiring Love in the Home & Revival in the Church.” But, when we saw revival firsthand in Egypt, one that began with a movement of prayer and fasting, spread across the Middle East, it inspired us to pursue prayer and fasting here in America. Prayer movements are multiplying across our nation, which we believe will ultimately lead to another Great Awakening. We believe this is our country’s only hope!
[Click on slideshow below.]
Tell us about your ministry of Love Sings…
BARBI: Our ministry theme, as Terry mentioned, has always emphasized family and revival. Love Sings Ministries (formerly known as Heart for the World) is both a ministry to marriages and families, along with a deep, heartfelt desire to see God bless our nation, once again, with another Great Awakening – a sweeping, nationwide revival that causes the Church to be all we should be to see God’s Kingdom advance. Inspiring love in families and revival in churches are not two separate goals. The fact is, when I experience revival in my heart, allowing Jesus to have full reign in all I do, I become a better wife and a better mother, as well as a Christ-centered, godly Christian. Revival changes everything!
TERRY: Barbi and I lead marriage retreats all across our nation and we’ve ministered in 40 nations around the world. I think we actually led one of the first marriage seminars ever held in Pakistan. That was pretty interesting! We recently released a 6 part DVD marriage teaching called, “Love Sings – The Artistry of Marriage.” It was produced and distributed by The American Family Association. We used music as a template for teaching scriptural truths about marriage.
How has music helped you in your life journey?
BARBI: Most people can think of a song, or even just a melody that has helped them through trying times, or, when experiencing some victory, that has given them the ability to express their joy. I’m grateful God has given us music, especially worship and praise we can express to Him. It has been there since the beginning of Creation. When God is describing the very start of our world in Job 38, He says, “…when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” in verse 7. Worship was there from the outset! And, when we love and worship God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we experience His presence! His presence changes us, delivers us, gives us joy, and fills us with a peace we can’t even comprehend. It also helps unify us with others who also worship Jesus.
TERRY: The scriptures speak of God giving us new songs. As a songwriter, I’m grateful for this truth! But, I’m also thankful for old songs, often hymns I grew up with, that I find myself singing. I’m drawn to their rich theology. Many were written in a time when literacy was less common than in our day, and folks didn’t have recording devices to listen to the Bible or sermons on audio tape. The way they got their theology was from songs, those old hymns.
When you play for people, what is it you most hope they take home with them?
BARBI: I pray that folks will sense God’s presence; that God will use our worship and the lyrics of our songs to lead them into a closer walk with Him. I pray that if they don’t know Jesus as their Savior, they would turn to Him in repentance for the forgiveness of their sins. I pray that Christians will be inspired and convicted to live a completely surrendered life to God, with integrity and love in their homes and families, and take seriously the call to fast and pray. God intends that our churches truly be houses of prayer, but many of our churches no longer even have corporate prayer meetings. Our churches must begin praying again! God invites us to partner with Him, and nothing eternal will be birthed in our churches without prayer. So, we hope our music and ministry will inspire a renewed hunger for God in each person listening.
TERRY: I pray that marriages will be strengthened and healed. I also hope that folks will be inspired to pray and seek the Lord more, perhaps start a prayer meeting in their home or church, or join a bible study in order to hear God’s voice through His Word.
If you could give me 3 words, what would they be?
BARBI: “God’s Holy Presence.” That’s all I want. His presence changes everything!
TERRY: “Praise The Lord.” Praise is powerful! Barbi and I start off every day now reciting three scriptures of praise: “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise will continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1) ; “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” (Psalm 103:1) ; “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) It has often changed the atmosphere in our home, hotel… or wherever we are at that moment from a spirit of heaviness and despair to an attitude of trust and faith with anticipation of all God is about to do.
More About Barbi & Terry Franklin:
Click here: https://www.lovesings.com
Watch pre-release from The Franklins new 2020 project “Your Presence: Songs of Worship and Prayer”
More music here: https://lovesings.com/music