Chung Lao: Siby, how’s it going?
Siby: It’s going good and God is awesome =)
Lao: Where did you grow up?
I grew in my hometown of Philly. I love it here
and don’t ever want to leave. Unless of course if God calls
me out of here…that will be a very difficult day for me, if
Lao: Pick one word that describes you.
Lao: Tell us about the “Siby Varghese Band”, and how
you got started.
Well, I wish I could put the whole story of how
God called me into ministry and how the band got started
into a few words or lines, but that is pretty difficult.
But I will try...
Since I was very young, I knew God had a purpose
for me beyond what I thought I would be doing for a living.
I loved architecture, construction, and getting my hands
dirty. So before you knew it, soon after high school, I
decided to major in architectural engineering as I began my
college career. After about a year into it, God began to
speak to my heart and I knew that this wasn’t where He
wanted me. I began to seek Him and His direction for my
life over the next few months during the summer of 2005.
After an entire summer of praying and seeking His direction,
the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart about going into
full-time ministry, specifically in the areas of missions
and music. And the rest is history...
A whole lot happened in between…but then in
September of 2007, Billy, Bradley, and myself met at a
Popeye’s Chicken for lunch after a Sunday morning church
service to talk about ministry. After about 3 hours of
pouring our hearts out to each other about our hearts for
God, missions, ministry, and music…we officially formed as a
ministry and band. Over the next 3 months, the band grew to
5 members with the additions of Dany and Joby. And we also
added 3 people to handle the technical and organizational
aspects of the ministry: Bear, Liffy, and Staicy.
Lao: You mention John 3:30 as a guiding reference in
the mission of your band. Tell us about that.
John 3:30 has been a verse that has been speaking
volumes to us over the past several months. The verse says,
“He must became greater, and I must become less.” Billy
spoke about this verse in a message he delivered at a local
meeting in Philly, and from that point on, it began to stick
with us. More than just a verse or a pretty saying, it
began to evolve into a lifestyle and mindset for us
personally and collectively as a ministry. To shift the
focus of what we’re doing from us to where it belonged:
Jesus Christ. And our prayer has been continually to let
our faces be washed away by His glory. What we consider a
successful evening of ministering is when people say “Wow
that was an amazing encounter with Christ…” and not “Wow the
band sounded great…” We want people to experience Christ,
not music, when we minister.
Lao: You guys have been together for a while now. Now
that you’ve been on tour, do you find you appreciate each
other more, or have you gotten on each others last nerve
A little bit of both. Some good, some not so
good, and some just weird. But I’ve grown to love all these
guys more through it all and appreciate the heart and
commitment each one of them have for the ministry. When we
began the band back in September ’07, Bradley prayed a
prayer during one of our prayer and writing sessions that
pretty much asked God to let us grow from learning from each
other on this journey that we are embarking on…and that’s
exactly what has been happening. It’s been an amazing ride
so far and I know it’s just going to get better. The
awesome thing about it is that God has somehow brought this
amazing unified spirit among us. That’s something we really
value and try to maintain through open communication and
Lao: Who are some of your musical influences?
Many artists influence our music style,
especially since we all have our own musical tastes and
preferences, which we love because it adds to the diversity
of our style. A few include: David Crowder Band, Mute Math,
Switchfoot, Lifehouse, John Mayer, Hillsong United, Dave
Mathews Band, Gavin Degraw, Sting and a ton more…
Lao: As “Indians”, there are certain stereotypes that
our parents, the world, gives us in terms of what our
occupation should be. What gave you guys the courage to
step out there and create this band, and say, out with the
stereotypes, and in with the decision to move forward with
Well, for me personally…back in 2005 when I
decided to step into full-time ministry, it was a very
difficult time in my life because at the time, my family was
having a very difficult time accepting it. There were many
nights where I wouldn’t sleep and just sit in silence before
God asking Him to settle everything and speak to the hearts
of my parents. Now, they are my biggest supporters and it’s
amazing! During that time in my life, I had a decision to
make that made me choose between the desire of my parents v.
the call and purpose for which I was placed on this earth
for. And weighing those out pretty much gave me my answer.
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was in fact God’s
will for me to pursue ministry, but I didn’t want to go
forward without the approval of my parents, and thankfully,
I didn’t have to. After months of prayer to God and many
nights of debating and sometimes, heated arguments, God
began to work in both my heart and the hearts of my
As a second generation Indian in America, I sort
of understand where my parents are coming from and the
purpose for which they came to America. It makes me love
them more (if that’s possible) because I realize the
sacrifice they had to make to give me a better life. My
parents were living a very comfortable life in Dubai, but
they moved out to Philly in hopes that my sister and I would
be happy. And looking back at what they must have gone
through when I decided to go into full-time ministry really
makes me appreciate them. A lot of times we think they are
trying to hold us down, when in reality they just want the
best for us. But…if God has another purpose for us, we have
to pray that God would reveal that to them as well.
Lao: On that note as well, it’s become rather cliché
for people to say “Follow your Dream.” What advice would
you give to young people out there, regardless of race, who
are struggling with these decisions of what to do with their
I totally believe in that saying and try my
hardest to even live by it. However, I also believe that we
should be very careful when following those
dreams…especially when talking about ministry. If God has
called you to do a work, then do it…but don’t jump into it
like you’re just buying a pair of shoes. I’m only now
beginning to realize what ministry is about, after 3
years…and I can say without hesitation that the past 3 years
have been the most difficult of my life, and I’m pretty sure
it’s not going to get much easier.
A lot of times, people only see the ‘glamour’ of
ministry and the positive aspects of it…but there is a lot
behind it. All of that said, we have to realize that
ministry does not only consist of preaching and leading
worship, but can be done through secular jobs as well, and
most importantly…through our lives and attitudes towards
people. If we can’t minister through our lives without that
of label of ‘Pastor’ or ‘Evangelist’, the label won’t help
much. Follow your dreams, but make sure you pray and
understand God’s will and timing before stepping into that
Lao: What’s in your pocket right now?
Chapstick and a wallet that has -$3 in it. How
is that possible? I’m still trying to figure it out too.
Lao: Tell us about what happened with your leg, and
how that has affected your life.
This is also very difficult to summarize within a
few lines…but here’s a short summary:
After a leg injury during a basketball tournament
in April of 2007, I was rushed to the ER as my left leg
began to swell rapidly. I was diagnosed initially with a
hematoma blood clot and was given crutches and pain
killers. Over the next 24 hours, I visited the ER two more
times due to increasing pain, swelling, and hardening of the
area that had been swelling but was given the same diagnosis
and gave me another prescription to relieve the pain. The
next day I had two finals to take at my college so I drove
to school with the pain was continuing to increase. After
taking my first final and traveling just a couple hundred
feet on crutches, I began to sweat profusely and felt like I
was going to pass out. I immediately got in my truck and
began driving to my uncle’s house. After two days of
resting at home, I was scheduled to a specialist for a
second opinion. The specialist seeing the situation, the
orthopedic specialist immediately called the hospital and
told them to prepare a bed for me and told me to go to the
ER immediately because he feared it was not just a blood
clot, but what was called ‘compartment syndrome.’
In the event of compartment syndrome, the muscle
and nerves in the leg (or area of injury) begin to compress
and tighten, and unless it is treated by releasing the
pressure within 24 hours, the leg needs to be amputated.
When the pressure level reached 40 for compartment syndrome,
it is considered severe, when they checked the pressure of
my leg, it was over 120. Before going into emergency
surgery, the doctor prepared me to be ready to not have my
leg when I woke up…that was pretty weird. Okay…let me speed
this story up!! =)
When I woke up, my leg was still there…very
bloody and wrapped up like a mummy, but it was still there.
Apparently, the doctors found just enough blood flow in the
leg to keep from amputating it…how good is God? So
anyways…the doctors then told me that I would need many more
surgeries and that the ability for me to walk is not
definite. My leg at this point had a huge opening that was
left that way for almost 2 ½ months. I was kept in the
hospital for 2 weeks, went through 6 surgeries, had a
machine attached to me that sucked out blood from the open
area on my leg 24 hours a day for those 2 ½ months, and had
nurses visit the house on a daily basis to dressing
changes. It was get very difficult and my faith began to be
tested. After a long night of prayer and pleading with God
to somehow make my situation better, the Lord gave me peace
about it all and reminded me to be silent and know that He
was God. At that moment, I was completely and wholly
satisfied in Christ. I told Him that day that I didn’t care
if He healed me or did anything for me…as long as I had Him,
I would be okay and I would be happy. The next day, me,
Billy, and a few other friends were spending some time
hanging out and playing table tennis. After losing
terribly, I began to head back over to my crutches, which I
laid on the ground while I played (hopping around on one
foot). As I went over to the crutches, Billy’s fiancé
looked at me and asked ‘what are you doing?’ I responded
and said ‘what are you talking about? I’m going to get my
crutches…’ She looked at me again and said, ‘You’re
walking!’ I looked down, and I was in fact walking…out of
nowhere, I was walking. I couldn’t believe it and neither
could anyone in the room.
The day before my mom asked me if I could put any
kind of pressure on the leg, I tried, and I couldn’t because
the pain was too unbearable, but here I was that night,
walking…completely fine, without any pain. The one thing
that I constantly tell people when sharing this testimony is
that the greatest part about all of this is not the
healing…but the fact that God saw that I was satisfied in
who He was to me first, the night before…despite what He did
for me. Then agfter that is when He healed me. That’s a
revelation that God showed me that night and is continuing
to reveal to me daily: to be satisfied in Christ….not
because of what He does for us or what He could do for
us…but just because He is Christ.
Lao: Name someone you admire and why.
My parents (sorry, those are two people): For
their amazing character, love, humility, selflessness,
grace, and the list goes on…
Lao: List your favorites:
A. Food(s): Indian food is my absolute favorite! rib
eye steak, with a loaded baked potato and a Pepsi couldn’t
hurt though…well I guess it could do some damage.
B. Restaurant(s): I do like Outback Steakhouse and their Bloomin’
C. Countries to Visit/Re-visit: Australia, North Africa, Mexico, France,
pretty much the whole world!
I love building stuff and doing
construction! I actually converted the garage in my home
into a studio/prayer/practice room for the band. Basketball
and football are wonderful as well. I actually played
basketball last week for the first time since the injury
Lao: What job could you absolutely not do?
Septic tank worker.
Lao: We live in a generation of very cynical young
people, many of whom could care less about their walk with
God. What advice do you have young people that feel this
I would ask them to consider what the meaning of
life is all about and what life after this consists of.
That often strikes interesting conversation. Personally,
I’ve always considered personal ministry through lifestyle
to be the most effective form of ministry. When young
people, or anyone for that matter, see people who have
hearts of love and not just a drive to see conversions, they
are drawn to that.
Lao: What is something you cannot stand in a person?
Hmm…I would say pride.
Lao: Are we living in the End Times?
Yes I believe we are. I would go into this more
but it’s about 2:30 in the morning and I need to sleep
Lao: Define the ideal church, even if its not
I believe the ideal church will only be seen in
Heaven. However, just for hypotheticalness (I’m sure that’s
not a word) sake, the ideal church to me would consist of
people who are selfless, without pride, loving, and after
one purpose…that is to glorify God in all they do. Of
course evangelism and community outreach, etc…but a lot of
times, I think the church forgets some of the basic stuff
that is crucial and important.
Lao: Where can people find out the latest information
on your tour dates & how to support your ministry in
Our website is currently being redesigned and
will be finished by May. The website address is
www.sibyvargheseband.com and it can still be
accessed. On the website, there is also a link to our
myspace page (myspace.com/sibyvarghese) where we are currently posting our tour dates
and news. We are also trying to currently raise funds for
the ministry. Donations can be made by going to the band
website and using a credit/debit card securely through
Lao: You are working on a CD to be released this
year. Tell our viewers about it, and what they can look
forward to listening to!
We are hoping to release the new CD by August
2008. The overarching theme of the album will be in
relation to the verse in John 3:30. We’re trying some new
things with this album, some new sounds, and new styles.
We’re really excited about the album and are hoping it will
be the beginning of something new for us as a band.
Chung Lao: Appreciate your time Siby, lastly, leave us
with a parting thought.
Siby: Love God and love people. Simple and
practical, but very difficult to practice.
Lao: Thanks Siby, we appreciate your time. Next up on
is Jonathan Singh of the 2007 BSC Champion Philly
Ballazz. Keep in locked in right
here for that one. Much Love.