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Meet the Christian Mega-Pastor Who's Trying to Bring More Faith to Hollywood

Faith

"...the power to influence popular culture for Jesus Christ."

Hollywood is known for it's wild ways. Many young actors and singers, finding themselves jaded by a chaotic lifestyle filled with glitz and glamor, often lose their way and find themselves in morally-compromising scenarios.

Considering the dire need for more Christian influence in the entertainment industry, a lack of much-needed mentorship, and protection from the hazards of the fortune and fame, Phil and Tammy Hotsenpiller decided to launch a movement that they hope will have a profound impact on Hollywood.

{la}god -- the outreach and Christian worship initiative that the husband and wife duo has created -- makes no bones about its intent: The gathering is all about praising Jesus Christ and encouraging young performers to do the same. The invitation-only gatherings have become so popular that a related music group (called {la}god Music) was created and has recently released its first Christian music album.

Recently, the Blaze caught up with Phil, a Teaching Pastor at Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Southern California, to discuss the unique work he and his wife are engaged in. He explains that the group is best described as, "a gathering of young Hollywood actors, writers, producers, models and musicians that seeks to be a cultural influencer in the entertainment industry."

The group is more than a mere Bible study. Each month, young actors, models, singers and entertainers converge at the W Hotel in Hollywood where Phil and Tammy lead them in worship and discussion. When asked where he got his passion to launch the effort, Phil says that he wanted to do something different -- "something that no one had ever done before."

The event, of course, isn't just an industry meetup. Rather than creating an enjoyable surface gathering, the husband and wife give the event a Hollywood feel, while hoping to dig deep and make a profound spiritual impact on the lives of young actors, singers and entertainers.

"{la}god identifies and disciples talented entertainment industry leaders and professionals who possess the power to influence popular culture for Jesus Christ," Phil explains. "The {la}god project provides a place where young Hollywood artists, directors, models and professionals can be encouraged and influenced for Christ through events, mentoring, and prayer."

{la}god was spawned after Phil pitched a movie at Warner Brothers. Following the experience, he realized how easy it is to speak about Christ in the entertainment realm so long as it's done in a culturally-relevant manner. "Most movie 'pitches' last one hour," he explained. "After spending 3.5 hours with us I realized that something had happened that was a precursor for a ministry to the industry."

And then there's {la}godMusic -- a music group (a list of members can be found here) that has come out of the monthly meetings. "I wanted {la}god to be a place that could birth creative projects," Phil explains. "I noticed that we were attracting some the hottest professional studio touring musicians and songwriters in pop music today."

So, Phil approached one of the guys and asked about his interest in launching a Christian music label. Within weeks, a group was established (comprised of some of the Hollywood Christians who had been attending the meetings) and 14 songs were demoed. In November, {la}godMusic soft-launched its album on iTunes and hit #20 on the charts within 12 hours.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish with {la}godMusic, Phil says, "To do something truly unique! To see a collaboration of talent come together from the secular music industry and join together in worshiping God." He's hoping that, as a result, fans will draw closer to the God he has come to know and love.

Phil is also praying that that people will see the major impact that his music group and fellowship meetings are making on young Hollywood. Funding, of course, is always a challenge, but he believes that it's essential to instill Judeo-Christian values in the industry.

"God has put His favor on this project {la}god and {la}godMusic in some amazing ways," he says. "I’m confident that God will continue bring more and more young actors and entertainers our way and that He will raise up people who will support this effort for God’s glory."

The {la}godMusic album is available now on iTunes. Below, please find some preview tracks from the album, entitled "Shake the Earth."

"Marvelous Love"

"Resound"

"River of Your Delights"

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