Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall says the band hopes their new album, The Very Next Thing, will encourage Christians to step out of their comfort zone and seek God’s plan for their life.
When talking about the title track of the album, Hall said just as the Bible does in Scripture, the band also wants to remind people that there is a next step for everyone.
“All through Scripture we see that all of us believers are in a different stage of next, there’s a next step for us, and that’s something that we ought to be doing. We’re a great generation which is great in many ways, but it’s lazy in many ways too,” Hall told The Christian Post.
“There’s something to do with what God has put in you. We’re all in that stage and that’s what this record is, it’s all different stages of next in people’s lives and what God can do through it,” the Georgia native said, adding that he thinks the book of Acts should be renamed the book of works so people can see that they actually do have to do something.
Hall said the title chosen for the record was intended to counter the feelings of bondage that many believers are trapped in.
“I think most believers get this feeling that they’re stuck. That they’ve made a couple of bad decisions some years ago and now there’s no way to get back,” he said. “They feel like this old version of themselves that was so awesome and loved Jesus is a level that they’ll never get back to. So we tend to numb out and we just kind of sit there and say, ‘I guess this is just the way it is, this numbness that I feel.'”
Hall is a youth leader at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in south Atlanta, and says he frequently discusses this topic with his family and the families he ministers to.
“Anytime Jesus ever approached anyone in Scripture, they were a wreck, they were a mess, and He never told one of them to go back and fix it, because you can’t. He never told anyone to go back and undo and make up for it. What He told them to do was, ‘Follow me from here.’ That’s what He said to do, and what I see in Scripture are a bunch of people way worse than us, taking Jesus at His Word and turning around and following Him. You can follow Him from doubt, you can follow Him from anger, you can follow Him from failure,” he said.
The new album features a song titled, “What if I Gave Everything,” which echoes what the talented singer-songwriter is talking about concerning nominal Christianity.]
“The song is really for me, the prequel to ‘Voice of Truth’ because ‘Voice of Truth’ is one of the first songs I ever wrote and it came from that feeling of, ‘What is my problem? I know God’s real I know this is true, why am I just standing here?’ You can kind of hear a little bit of that frustration in ‘Voice of Truth.’ I wanted to go back to that because that’s where we all live,” Hall said.
“So many of us as believers, including myself, we’re sitting in the pew halfway through the service going, ‘Man, this is it — I’m so tired of living the way I’ve been living. I’m going to take a stand, and I’m going to do awesome, and I’m going to tell everybody about Jesus and next week they’re going to have me up on the stage to share my testimony of the awesome things that have happened.’
We’re planning our acceptance speeches for our humble award, then the song is over and we’re just still standing there,” he said. “We’re just a fired-up audience watching someone else’s adventure every week. That can’t be the way we live our lives.”
Hall said when teaching youth he always references the Scripture found in Acts where Paul becomes Saul on the road to Damascus. He talked about Paul’s Journey for the first couple of years after he got saved, noting that everyone was afraid and people were even looking to kill him. The singer said most Christians would have turned their back on their faith right there.
“It’s going to be a dangerous life to live by faith,” he said.
When Casting Crowns first started making music and became successful, Hall admitted that he was constantly calling his management to see how well the band was doing and to find out if people were liking their music or not.
“It kind of started getting to me, if I’m going to live by the sword I’m going to die by the sword. [Because] one day I’m going to call up and the CD is not going to be doing well and things are going to be going in a different direction. It got my focus off. So right in the middle of our first record, I let my management team know and everyone else know that I don’t ever want to know again how we are doing and how things are going as far as radio goes, or sales goes. I don’t even want to know. So every once in awhile some big moment will happen and they’ll give us a plaque and everyone in our band is kind of just blown away because they didn’t even really know any of this was happening,” he revealed.
Casting Crowns has now released eight albums and are still surprised every time God honors their work with accolades. Their secret to their success is to share with others the blessings they have received from above.
“All I know is to do what God has called us to do. As long as He’s singing songs to us we’re going to be singing them to people. I feel that when He blesses us, we bless others. So we’ve gotten to be a part of building schools and hospitals and bridges and things in other countries that we would have never been able to do if those CDs weren’t being sold. It’s just one of those deals where it just gives you one more chance to give it back to Him,” Hall concluded.
Casting Crowns will hit the road this month on “The Very Next Thing” tour presented by Compassion International and Museum of the Bible. The tour will feature label mate Matt Maher and special guest newcomer Hannah Kerr.
Casting Crowns has achieved sales milestones including one RIAA 2x multi-platinum album, four RIAA platinum albums and were recently honored for having sold 10 million albums.