Having served as a full-time youth pastor for over 25years, Casting Crowns’ front man, Mark Hall, continues to draw inspiration fromthe well of real life. “Because we have the honor of walking with people in ourchurches, we get to see what people are going through – the issues that areimpacting everyone now,” shares Hall. “It’s in these situations that ideas areborn for what we all need to hear right here and right now.” The local churchhas been the base for Casting Crowns’ music since their label debut release in2003. With more than nine millions records sold and the title of Billboard’stop-selling act in Christian music since 2007, it’s still where the music is created.Hall and his bandmates – Juan and Melodee DeVevo, Megan Garrett, Brian Scoggin,Josh Mix and Chris Huffman – continue to work in ministry in their respectivechurches. The local church is the heartbeat of the band and the songs are anoutpouring of that. The Very Next Thing,Casting Crowns’ latest offering, is a collection of intimate songs as well asupbeat, fresh sounding tracks with impactful lyrics centered around identifyingand acting on what’s right next to you.
“I think we all believe the gospel,” says Mark Hall, “weall want it, we’re just not sure what we’re supposed to do next. We’ve got thisidea of an awesome walk with Jesus out there somewhere, and we’re looking forthe bridge to get over to it. Serving God isn’t this giant dream a year fromnow. It’s not this thing He’s going to have you do in a month. It’s right now.Following God is the next word of love that I need to speak to somebody, thevery next heart that needs to be encouraged. Ministry isn’t on Sunday; it’s noton a stage. It’s you, where you are, doing the next thing God tells you to do.”
Along with this over-arching message, there’s also adeeply personal element to the record. Hall wrote the poignant and powerful “OhMy Soul” after being diagnosed with cancer in 2015. His first worry was abouthis family and he turned to the scripture in Psalms – Why so downcast oh my soul, put your hope in God.
“I remember thisscripture from David – it was just repeating in my head over and over,” Hallsays. “The song “Oh My Soul” is really an argument with myself. I’m speakingtruth to myself. The roots of my faith are talking to the storm in my life. Forme, one of the most special moments in the song is the bridge because you hearthe argument happening. I really wanted to paint the picture of that innerstruggle that we’re all dealing with. We know what the verses say and we knowhow the storm feels. It’s hard to bring those together. But one thing aboutdigging deep in the word is that when your roots are deep, they can’t beignored. Even when the storm comes, and as shaken as I was, it felt like thestorm kept just slamming up against something solid inside of me that wouldn’tlet it control me. It was the roots of my faith. It was the truth that I hadbeen soaking in and pouring into others for so many years. I got to speakscripture to myself.”
Casting Crowns has produced some of the most compellingsongs of his generation. Songs like “Voice of Truth,” “East to West,”“Lifesong,” “Until the Whole World Hears,” “Courageous” and “Thrive.” On TheVery Next Thing, the band continues to encourage and inspire believers withsongs that help strengthen their relationship with God.
“You can follow God from right where you are,” Hall saysof the new album’s central theme. “Inthe condition you are in right now, you can follow Him and He will make youHis.”