Stacy Compagner: For those who do not know The Steeles, tell us a little bit about yourself and your ministry!
Jeffrey Steele: Well, we were pastoring a church in Mississippi and singing on the side. I was writing songs as well. We did an independent recording or two, and Dottie Leonard at Daywind took an interest in us and signed us back around 1992 or so. There is a long story, but things really took off for us…we had several number one songs and a great run in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Then, we felt the call to go back into the pastorate around 2006 or so, and THAT was a great success as well. Then, we felt the call back to the road! We were independent again, and in 2018 we had the Number One Song of the Year. Last year we signed with Stow Town Records, and many years later…here we are. Lots of stuff happened in the middle of all that, and that is another sit down all together…
SC: How did you all get into gospel music?
JS: Mostly it was a hobby that just grew and grew, and there were some big helpers along the way. I would say Dottie was a huge part of that. Her “vision” was very instrumental.
SC: So how does your music ministry tie into or work alongside your church ministry?
JS: Well, Brad is our son. I am the Senior Pastor, and Brad is the Worship Pastor at our church. Music is a HUGE part of our church, and we sing a lot of our “new” songs at the church. We feel like we have the best of both worlds. Our deal with StowTown allows us to do both, and quite frankly, we see a lot of lives changed. And that is why we got into both fields to begin with.
SC: You have a song on your newest CD that says, “The roads that once didn’t make sense now seem crystal clear. I know faith is greater than doubt, and love greater than fear. I’m thankful for the journey. The journey got me here.” Can you recall any moments throughout your ministry journey where things just didn’t make sense, but after going through that journey, you now know and can see evidence that God was doing great things?
JS: “Thankful for the Journey” is a song that’s a co-write with myself, Brad, and the great Joel Lindsey. Of course it talks about the journey of our lives and centers around all the times we thought it ought to be a certain way, but God had other ideas. His way is always best, and as we look back over the events of our lives, we see that. MOST of those things were very personal, and we like to remember and praise God for those things, but we DON’T like to talk about them because they WERE so personal. Rest assured though that Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible, and God still knows what’s best…for ALL of us.
SC: Tell us about one of your funniest or most memorable moments on stage?
JS: We were singing at the NQC one year on the Breakfast Cruise on the Ohio River. The thing started at 8:00 AM, which is 7:00 where we live, and when I say I don’t sing well at 7:00 AM, THAT is an understatement!! I could barely make a sound. We’d already signed the contract though, so here we were. We went out and started singing, and I felt so bad because I literally could NOT sing, and the boat was sold OUT!! About two words into the first song, I was singing and listening, and it dawned on me…I sounded GREAT! I mean better that I ever had. I was thankful but didn’t understand it. Same thing on the second and third song! Then I saw it. On the FRONT ROW, Tony Gore was sitting there with a microphone singing every word of every song! He is a dear friend, and we worked with them all the time (in fact they were booked on the same cruise that morning), so he knew every one of our songs. When I figured out what was going on, we had a huge laugh. God will always provide!
SC: What interests do you all have outside of music and ministry?
JS: Me and Brad love to write songs, and we love sports! Sherry loves to do interior decorating.
SC: What has God been teaching each of you lately?
JS: To be patient. If it’s the plan of God, NOBODY can stop it, and in due time, we SHALL reap if we don’t faint.
SC: You also have a song on your CD titled, “A Song to Remind You,” which reminds us of God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. What is one reminder you want to leave with everyone today?
JS: “A Song to Remind You” is another co-write with me and Brad and our very good friend, Scotty Inman, from Triumphant. We wrote it on Skype and Instant Messenger. Back and forth and forth and back. If I was ever going to remind anyone of anything, it would be simply this… Don’t ever give up on God. He is always listening, and He ALWAYS has the answer in His own time and His own way. All we have to do is trust it to Him.