PLANT CITY Mark Lowry said he never wanted to be labeled as a Christian comedian.
He prefers to be known as a storyteller whose tales happen to be funny.
“I never meant to be a comedian,” he said.
Lowry brings his “Unplugged & Unplanned” tour to Plant City’s First Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Thursday. He said in a telephone interview that the tour is aptly named because all he knows for sure is his opening and closing numbers.
The rest is like a meandering “rabbit trail” of songs, stories and humor.
Lowry is no stranger to Plant City as he’s appeared a few times with the Gaither Vocal Band and on his own at the Florida Strawberry Festival. He said he has grown fond of Plant City’s strawberries and looks forward to his return – even if the fruit is out of season locally.
Lowry, 55, said he has been performing as a singer since he was 11. His story-telling evolved from the early days in his career when he performed in churches and had to fill in awkward periods of silence between recorded sound tracks for his songs.
“Churches always get somebody who’s 10 years older than God to change the soundtracks,” he joked, so he often had lots of time to fill.
He found that his stories struck a humorous chord with audiences and they became a regular part of his performances.
He said he’s had a varied career, including penning in 1984 the Christmas classic “Mary Did You Know?” which skyrocketed in popularity when country stars began recording it in 1991.
That song will be be part of his repertoire at the concert at the church, 503 N. Palmer St. Special guests pianist Stan Whitmire and gospel singer Warren Barfield will also perform.
Tickets are $20 for general admission, $25 for Gold Circle perferred seating and $18 for group admission of 10 or more.
Tickets can be purchased at the church office, by phone at 1-855-223-1008 or online at www.fbcpc.com or www.museconcerts.com.