Casting Crowns makes music with the goal of encouraging and lifting up the church. This is evident with their latest album "Thrive" (2014). The album contains songs like "All You've Ever Wanted," "Thrive," "Just Be Held" and "Broken Together." The songs have ministered to listeners and band-members alike, most recently Mark...
For years, Mark Hall (lead singer and youth pastor) has comforted others who were going through hard times, delivering encouragement and hope through music, prayers and ministry. Now he's found himself on the receiving end of other's comfort due to a kidney cancer diagnosis in early 2015. He shares about it with the K-LOVE morning show here:
The band cancelled their performances for a month while Mark had surgery and recuperated. At one point, they shared, "We never realized when we wrote the song "Just Be Held" it would be our current testimony for what we are going through right now. God always has a way of preparing our hearts."
Then, on April 16, 2015, Mark sent the following tweet: "1st night back on stage since surgery 4 wks ago: I think I left a few of those high notes in my other kidney."
While music has always been a part of Mark's 20+ year 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 with his voice and the straightforward Christian message of songs like “If We Are the Body” and “Who Am I,” Mark Miller (of Sawyer Brown) and Steven Curtis Chapman convinced Mark that he needed to pursue music full-time. While Mark was definitely open to the idea, his only concern was would he 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 a slew of 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 explored musical horizons with a more rockin’ sound on the title track. The most important thing remained 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 album Come To The Well, features the songs "Jesus, Friend of Sinners," "Just Another Birthday," "Already There," and "Courageous." "Courageous" was written for the movie by the same title. The song and the movie encourage fathers and husbands to take their responsibilities seriously and seek God for help. "The warriors have become the watchers," Mark explains in an interview with K-LOVE's Scott and Kelli. "We gotta get out of our seats; we gotta get back in the game and love our families."
Casting Crowns is based out of Atlanta, Georgia and their church youth group is named Thrive. In many ways, this group inspired the album, Thrive. Mark likes to encourage people to let their roots go deep and their reach go wide just like a large tree the youth group saw on a trip they took:
"Sometimes believers are all roots, they're wanting to know more about God, they're learning about theologies, they want to know about everybody's opinion and all the different books ... they're all about knowing stuff, but they don't love people. So, everything they know doesn't go anywhere." Mark continues, "And, a lot of times you find believers that are all reach. They're going to go feed people and save people and do and do and do and do. But, there's no root system in their faith ... we looked at the balance, the tension between letting God define you and knowing who you are before you get out there, to the world. That's who've we've been ever since. Now it's finally in song form so we can share it with the world."
Thrive, the youth group, can be heard singing background on the song "Thrive" and "Dream For You."