Phil Hopper's story began on a Kansas City interstate in December, 1989. After spending years as the prodigal son, he was coming home for Christmas break from the University of Kansas where he went on scholarship to play football. It was a cold, snowy day, and he got forced off the road by an 18 wheeler and crossed over the median into the oncoming lanes of traffic.
Completely out of control, he crossed back over the median and saw he was about to collide with another 18 wheeler. At that moment, he resigned his life and knew he was about to die. Phil knew there was a heaven and he knew there was a hell and the last thought he had right before impact was, "I don't know where I'm going, but I guess I'm going to know now." Miraculously, he lived. But that is the day Phil says he died. He went to a funeral in 1989, and that funeral was his. That day he repented of his sins, died to himself, a resurrection took place, and a new man lived.
He graduated from Kansas and began a career in law enforcement with the KCPD. He would spend 8 years on the streets of Kansas City as a SWAT Team member and supervisor, where he would earn the 1997 SWAT Officer of the Year Award, the Distinguished Service Award (the second highest honor on the PD), as well as the 1997 Channel 9 Gold Award for Valor. What Phil could not have imagined is that God all along was preparing him for ministry through the unique experiences he would have in law enforcement. The small church he had joined with his family was without a pastor in the fall of 1999, and they asked Phil to fill in and preach one Sunday morning. Phil thought it would be "one and done." Phil had only preached twice in his life up to that point, but four months later they called him to be their pastor, and in March 2000, Phil left his career in law enforcement to begin pastoring a small, struggling church in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
Phil has seen God do miraculous and marvelous things in the last 18 years, growing that small church from just a few dozen people to a mega-church of thousands. Phil likes to say, "If we can explain it, God didn't do it." Only when you attempt the improbable, do you get to see God do the impossible. It's this risky faith that Phil believes God honors. Phil has recently authored a book entitled, Defeating the Enemy which is a study on the tactics and strategies of Satan as he wars against God's people. Phil uses his unique experiences from his career in law enforcement throughout the book, as he believes the same principles used to overcome an enemy we can see are the same principles we use to overcome the enemy we can't see. Through surveillance and intelligence gathering, you can learn your opposition's moves. That is how you defeat any enemy, by knowing ahead of time what they're going to do. Too many believers live in mediocrity and captivity when Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In Defeating the Enemy, Phil articulates the strategies of our adversary so the believer can learn to live victoriously and triumphantly.
Phil and his wife Christa have 3 children, Jake (and his wife Abbi), Makay (and her husband Daniel), and Josh.