Christian Living


Casting Crowns’ Mark Hall on The Very Next Thing

Not many churches can claim a Grammy Award and 10 million records sold. But, Casting Crowns' can. In fact, it's in the running of the student ministry that lead singer Mark Hall gets inspired to write new music. The band's upcoming release, The Very Next Thing, is no different.

Recently, Hall spoke with CBN.com over the phone to share a little bit about what God's been teaching the youth group, how it inspired new original songs, and an update on his health after beating cancer.

On the story behind Casting Crowns' new record, The Very Next Thing

Mark Hall: The question that I was answering in the last record [Thrive] was, 'Why are we here?' And we're here to know Him and make Him known. But, the question that I'm hearing a lot now is, 'What do I do next? How do I do this?'

Everything that you hear in church seems to be very big, very broad, giant declarations: 'We're going to go all in for God. We're going to be on fire. We're going to give Him everything. We're going to lay it all down.' [We say these] big things, just giant statements of all these things we're going to do, but no one knows what the first step to that looks like and they're not sure when it's supposed to start.

Following Jesus is just doing the very next thing He says to do, and following Him step-by-step…. What the record's trying to say is that we're all in a different stage of next…. It's time for the book of Acts to happen. It's time for steps to be made and steps to be done.

On how Mark Hall is taking this message to heart personally…

Hall: When I was in Bible college, my big thing for God's after I graduate. So I'm just going to sit here and get prepared and get ready for some big giant thing to happen. All the while, I was tripping over people God was putting in my place, opportunities God was setting before me to follow Him in the moment.

We're so worried about tomorrow that we're tripping over today. That's what I've done a lot in my past instead of saying I'm placed right here, right now, and the very next words I speak could encourage somebody, could lift them up. I can love on them and I can reach out to them. The very next words I speak could be words of love. So it's realizing right here, right now, where I am, this is where I need to bloom. I need to bloom where I'm planted.

On how being filled with God makes life easier…

Hall: When I'm in the Word and I'm guarding my time with God, and I'm talking with Him, He becomes sort of the well that I draw from, and what I find is when I'm drawing from Him and then I get to people, I'm full already. When I'm empty and I'm not spending time with God, I need people to fill me. I need them to appreciate me. I need them to give me purpose. I need them to love me better. I need them to hold me up.

When I'm drawing from Him, and He's that river flowing through me. Now when I show up, I'm seeing people differently. I see not just what this person does, but I can see the heart behind it and maybe the hurt behind it. I hear what this person says, but now like James I'm quick to listen and slow to speak, and I can speak to the heart of what this person is saying moreover, instead of just what the words are saying. So the more plugged in and diving in I am to truth and drawing from Him, it seems like when I get to people, all that's left to do is pour into them.

I guess my goal is to simplify things. You can wrap your hands around the truth of what your calling is. You need to know Him, you need to make Him known, and you need to do it right now, where you are with who you're with.

On The Very Next Thing song you're just going to love…

Hall: The one that's probably going to connect with people the most is a [new] song called "Oh My Soul". It's the song that I started writing the night I found out I had cancer. So the song, "Just Be Held", I had written a year and a half, two years before cancer happened. That really became my song as I was going through it.

But songwriters, you know, we bleed lyrics. That's what we do. The very night that I found out I had cancer and my kidney was going to have to come out. I just sat down on the piano and was looking at the verse where David says, 'Why so downcast, oh my soul. Put your hope in God.' So the song is me just having a little argument with myself and giving it to Him.

On his health these days…

Hall: I'm good. I've got a couple other issues. I've got kidney disease in the left kidney that I'm trying to get better because I'd really like to keep that one. And I've got some colon issues happening and all kinds of old stuff. But, I'll make it.

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