While most of Casting Crowns' songs are written to encourage the church, their song "Jesus, Friend of Sinners" is meant to challenge the body of Christ to look inward before pointing out what's wrong in those around us.
"When I first read the lyrics to my wife, Melanie, she gave me that cocked eyebrow look and asked, 'OK, are you sure you can say that?' explained lead singer Mark Hall. "While it’s true this is one of the more direct songs we’ve written, it also speaks truth. And I think believers should speak truth to each other as long as we do it in love."
While music has always been a part of Mark's long career as a youth pastor, there’s nobody more baffled by the success of his band than Mark himself. He never could have expected writing and playing songs for jam-packed audiences older than, say, 15 or 16.
Impressed the voice and straightforward Christian message of songs like “If We Are the Body” and “Who Am I,” Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown and fellow artist Steven Curtis Chapman eventually convinced Mark Hall that he needed to be pursuing music full-time. While Hall was definitely open to the idea, his only concern was that he’d still get to be a youth pastor, something he’s continued to do while recording and touring with Casting Crowns.
Now with a congregation larger than he ever imagined, Casting Crowns, which also includes Juan DeVevo (guitar, vocals), Melodee DeVevo (vocals, violin), Hector Cervantes (vocals, guitar), Chris Huffman (bass), Megan Garrett (keys, vocals, accordion) and Bryan Scoggin (drums), has made five studio albums that challenge Christians to live out a faith that’s anything but status quo.
With their project, Until the Whole World Hears, they’ve explored new musical horizons as well with a more rockin’ soundtrack on the title track. Above all else though, for Mark Hall the most important thing is the Message; that the whole world needs to have a personal relationship with Jesus. “I want to shake people up and help them see that Jesus is not a religion, and God is not a book,” Mark says in the band’s official biography. “You can’t pray to a book, and you can’t draw strength from an idea or standard.”
The band went on to produce a live album based on the project, which includes the "Until the Whole World Hears" music video, teaching videos from Mark Hall, and the story of Hall's adopted daughter, Hope. In addition to the title track, all of the songs on the album display amazing depth. "Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)" is actually a "reinvention" of a hymn that lead singer Mark Hall grew up listening to, entitled "One Day." Additionally, the song "To Know You" is rooted in Romans 8:29, "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters," and explains that God's biggest goal is to conform us to live like Jesus.
Casting Crowns' latest album, Come To The Well, features the aforementioned "Jesus, Friend of Sinners," as well as "Just Another Birthday" and "Courageous," which was written for the movie by the same title. The song, as well as the movie, encourages fathers and husbands to take their responsibilities seriously, and seek God for help. "The warriors have become the watchers," lead singer Mark Hall explains on an interview with K-LOVE's Scott and Kelli. "We gotta get out our seats; we gotta get back in the game and love our families."
Their latest song, "Already There," is a great reminder of the fact that God is in control of every aspect of our lives. “The closer I get to God and the more time I start spending with him, I’ve come to understand that thought things seem so random and out of control to us, it all makes sense to him,” Mark explains. “He’s not governed by time, He’s already there.”
Casting Crowns is currently on their highly anticipated Come To The Well tour and recently received two 2012 Billboard Music Awards: Top Christian Artist and Top Christian Album. “What we do is inspired by our faith in Jesus, our home churches and the incredible people we get to interact with on the road,” said Hall. “We feel honored that our music would be recognized in this way.”
The band is also nominated for two K-LOVE fan awards in the categories of, "Group/Duo of the Year," and "Artist of the Year."
Whom Shall I Fear