Life began for Tom Lanza in humble surroundings. His parents and grandparents were both immigrant coal miners. Hard work and survival is entwined in the roots of Tom’s family tree. As with most families in that day, music was the means of lifting your voice and your heart and forgetting hardships through song. Tom states, “some of my most memorable times were when Dad and Mom along with Aunts, Uncles and friends would gather around the piano and begin to sing those good ole’ Gospel songs. It was a time of joy and laughter as the entire family used their individual talents, to join together in corporate family harmony. Those memories are forever etched in my mind. The first song I sang as a child was sitting on that old piano bench. My sister began to play…’Come Home, Come Home It’s Supper Time.’ Several of my Uncles who used to play for Perry Como when he sang on the “Wheeling West Virginia Radio Show” would join in with her as I sang. It was at that moment I knew way down inside, even though I was a child; singing would be one thing I wanted to do with my life. One day I’ll hear that song echo from the other side of heaven, and we’ll all go home because it will be Supper Time. I’ll join in and sing it with the first one I ever hears sing the song, ole Red Foley. The rest of the family will join in and sing that song I love so much “Super Time.” Only this time we’ll sing it around the throne of God and not around an old piano bench.”
Tom says it was in his teen years his passion was to be around livestock. He began riding young, wild range colts and fell in love with horses. As Tom leaned back in his chair, he began to laugh, as he told me, “I must have been nuts back then. But I was pretty good at riding and I always liked a challenge.” Tom’s love for ranching led him to purchase his first ranch at 20 years of age. He began trading alarge number of horses, cattle and goats. Long hours, hard work, and ranching 7 days a week didn’t leave much time for God, music, or anything else. “God was merciful to me” says Tom; “If I had died in my godless condition I would not have been ready for heaven.”
God had plans for this ole’ rancher. God had a young lady named “Sue” that would become Tom’s life partner. Sue was born in Hiltons, Virginia, in a place called “Poor Valley,” just a stone’s trow from the home place of the Carter Family. June Carter Cash and Sue’s mother went to school together. It was Sue who would make a decision for Christ after she and Tom were married and she would live a life that would be an example to Tom. Tom’s parents were dedicated church people but Tom never had time for the church. But, after Tom and Sue settled down in their Southern Missouri ranch, Christ and the church became a big part of their lives. Tom says, “I would take my guitar to church and sit on the front row and play along with the band. From time to time the pastor would ask me to sing a song. It wasn’t long until I began singing at other churches, camp meetings and local rodeo events. I was also invited to sing on TV and radio. It was at this time we began traveling across America, Canada and wherever the road would lead us to lift up Christ in song.” Tom thought, as most singer do at some point, life would be better in Nashville. So he and his family made the move to Music City. This would become their home base. The doors of opportunity began to open for Tom in Country music. He made friends with many of Nashville’s most popular performers. He even appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. It looked as if Tom would have a future in Country music, but God had other plans for Tom’s life. Tom was on his way to California to sing and do some Bible teaching in several churches. Tom says he loved teaching and was really excited about what God was doing in his life. He stopped off to see a friend in Texas and was asked by a minister if he would be interested in being pastor of a church. Tom says with a smile…”I thought the guy was nuts.” But a few days later I felt very strongly in my heart that this is what god wanted me to do. I really didn’t understand because I had no experience and was so happy traveling around singing and teaching with my family.”
But once God gives you an assignment, the Holy Spirit lets you know the will of God for your life. I always wanted to please God and do what he led me to do. So I said, “OK Lord, have your way in my life.’ I put music, career, and Nashville on the shelf and focused all my attention o the church God had called me to pastor. I also continued in my passion for ranching. The everyday life of a cowboy is what makes life worth living. I continued to train young horses; I love to watch them excel. I also love the roar of the bulldozers and tractors as we clear land so we can raise more cattle and livestock. The ranch will always be part of my life. It’s there many times God speaks to me and gives me great revelation. It was there one day, after a few years of being a pastor, I heard God say to me, ‘If you don’t use your gift of music, you’re going to lose it.’ It was at this moment I knew God was not finished with my music. I had put other things ahead of my love for music for a long time. But now God was calling me to sing again. I said Lord, “If you want me to record again you are going to have to help me. I had lost touch with musicians, songwriters, and producers. I didn’t have any commercial material to record even if I wanted to record. God heard my cry; in just a few weeks songwriters began to send me songs. People like, Mike Murdock, Gordon Jensen, Steve Shirey, Merle Ewing, Suzi Cano, Linda Roberts, James, Adrian, and Mark Payne. James Payne became a personal friend to me, encouraged me in my singing, and started sharing original songs with me. Every song James Payne has written for me that we have released has charted on Christian Country or Southern Gospel Charts. God has given me some wonderful people who have helped me to follow God’s dream and vision for my life. I am eternally grateful.
The music ministry of Tom Lanza has literally taken him around the world. It has led him to many Scandinavian Countries, Europe New Zealand, and various other parts of the world. Tom has been asked to sing an minister in 500 seat auditoriums and little quaint country churches and Village Squares. Tom says, “It’s so amazing to see lives being changed by the power of the Gospel. He recalls, “I went to a school in New Zealand with my guitar and a rope. I sang a few songs and did a few rope tricks and the kids came alive. I watched as God transformed them by His power. The last time I was in New Zealand the staff told me that Tom Lanza Ministries drew some of the largest crowds that have been drawn there …for that I praise God!”
“Recently the Lord spoke me to take Christian Country music and Ministry to the world through television,” says Tom. “For the last several weeks we have been in production of a new worldwide television program called, ‘From Texas USA, The Tom Lanza Show.’ We have a production studio at our church Harvest Family Church International Outreach in Conroe Texas. We also do a lot of filming right from my ranch. The singing and teaching will be broadcast not only on network television around the world but also by internet. Anyone with a computer can listen to the program. We are endeavoring to take advantage of 21st century technology to spread the message of Jesus to the world. Our church family has given liberally of their finances, talents, and time to help us launch this vision. We have several programs completed with guests like James Payne, Roger McDuff, Gordon Jensen, and others.”
Tom Lanza is a great example of this one message…”God has a plan for our lives if we put Him first and let Him lead the way.” Tom believes that every person has a divine purpose and destiny.
With tears in his eyes Tom told me that he believes harvest time has come to the world. It’s time to see as many people as possible, saved, healed, and set free by the anointing of God.
The Lord has allowed Tom to continue ranching. He is the founder and CEO of a complete Quarter Horse breeding and training facility in Grimes County, Texas. He raises Beefmaster cattle and roping steers. Tom and Sue have carved out a niche of heaven on earth on a few hundred acres in Grimes County. Grimes County is called, “The Land Of Milk And Honey.” Tom has a great reputation among ranchers for owning some of the finest stallions and broodmares in the livestock industry.
Tom Lanza is a blessed man. God has given him one of the best wives in the world. He has also given him four wonderful daughters that work with him in Ministry. He calls them his four blessings. He also pastors one of America’s great churches. Tom Lanza has a voice that is smooth as an early morning lake. He has a heart that is a big as Texas. When you shake hands with him, you know by the calluses he’s no stranger to hard work. He sets high in the saddle. I know his childhood hero, Roy Rogers would be prod to ride with him. I know he is also proud of the new song that Tom has just released to radio entitled, “Roy Rogers Was King,” You can feel the heart of Tom Lanza, the cowboy, as he sings this song. I hope all DJs will give this song a spin. It’s destined to be one of your most requested. After all there’s a little cowboy in us all. The world needs more men today like Tom Lanza.