Casting Crowns’ Hall talks focusing on Jesus, less on ourselves

Casting Crowns lead singer Mark Hall performs April 21, 2017, at the McAllen Convention Center. (Henry Miller | hmiller@themonitor.com)

Casting Crowns lead singer Mark Hall performs April 21, 2017, at the McAllen Convention Center.

Imagine way back when John the Baptist was asked who he was and how to tell the world about him, his response was nothing more than, “I am a voice in the wilderness.”

That’s it? No selfie or Snapchat. No Tik Tok or Facebook or Instagram, either?

“He didn’t say that because he was over spiritual, it’s because he met Jesus,” said Mark Hall, lead singer for the band Casting Crowns.

Casting Crowns will perform at 7 p.m. tonight at State Farm Arena as part of the Only Jesus Tour — the final weekend of the tour with a stop in College Station on Saturday. The band has other performances scheduled, but the Only Jesus Tour will resume in September.

“The closer you get to Jesus, the less you want to talk about yourself and more about Him,” Hall said.

Hall and other members of the group also have a “day job” — more like weekday jobs — as youth pastors at their church in Atlanta. It’s there that Hall was inspired to write the title song to the album. He often writes about what he’s teaching teens and families, and this struck him as the perfect time.

Casting Crowns’ seven band members all have active “day jobs, as well,” remaining active in student ministry in the Atlanta area and tour according to their local church commitments. Serving his 25-plus years in youth ministry, Hall maintains his role as the student pastor at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in Atlanta.

“We’ve been talking a lot about why we are here, our generation right now,” Hall said. “We focus so much on ourselves and making a name for ourselves and being remembered.

“How do you want to be remembered by the world? I don’t think our heroes in faith would’ve said anything about making a name for themselves. If I point this record to myself, I can only take it so far. But if I decide that Jesus is the point and I’m here to point to the point, then my life has purpose.”

Casting Crowns has sold more than 11 million albums and is considered one of the most prolific bands in music, among any genre. They have one multi-platinum album, five platinum albums seven gold album and more. The band is Billboard’s top-selling act in Christian music since 2007.

That’s what makes the theme of the album, and of the song, so time specific: it speaks to many generations, many groups and organizations and people who may have lost their focus, turning it inward toward them then outward to Jesus.

“The theme that continued to come up while working on these new songs was that God is already at work in our lives, and He has a plan that He places us in so that others can know Him,” Hall said. “We are here to show the way to God by how we live, how we react to difficult situations, how we handle trials and troubled relationships. Our hope is that through these songs, you can see what it looks like when Jesus is our only source, our only solution and we are pointing to only Jesus.”

In an interview a few years back, Hall talked about how families are broken so often, even if the family is intact. He said members of the tour are noticing that all ages, all family members and cultures are going to the shows, and the band’s prayers are focused on healing families.

“We want to draw families closer to Him and point to Him.”

Casting Crowns has had 27 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Christian charts. “The Voice of Truth,” “Lifesong,” “Courageous” (from the movie with the same name), “East to West” and “Praise You in the Storm” are some of the group’s growing list of popular songs, where those tunes turn into a concert with the band and the audience oftentimes in four-part harmony.

“I think the tour has caught people at a time when they needed to really hear this — selfie wasn’t even a word a few years ago,” Hall said. “That’s not a statement meant to put anyone down. He’s being pointed to to free you up. We don’t have to be the biggest or to be perfect or the strongest or prove anything to the world. I want to let God speak through my life.

“A long time ago, if we acted perfect and without any problems, it was like we were trying to make God look good. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. It’s the scars, it’s your story that show the world how big His love and forgiveness is. ‘Look, God has stayed with me despite it all.’ That’s what people need to see.”

Opening tonight for Casting Crowns will be Austin French and Zach Williams.

For more information, visit gotfaithmusic.com.

IF YOU GO

CASTING CROWNS
The Christian rock band will perform as part of the Only Jesus Tour, along with Zach Williams and Austin French. The event is part of the Got Faith Music Concert Series.

WHEN 7 p.m. Friday

WHERE State Farm Hidalgo Arena, 2600 N. 10th St., Hidalgo

COST Tickets start at $25 at ticketmaster.com