Mark Schultz: God's Instrument
By Sandy Engel and Lisa Ryan
The 700 Club
Mark Schultz grew up in a small town where he was an all-around
jock. He was so popular that he got away with playing football and singing
in the chorus. Yet when Mark moved to Nashville to make it as a songwriter,
he was pretty much told to pack his bags and go back home. But now Mark
is having the last laugh.
MARK SCHULTZ: I have been there. I know what fear is
all about," he says. "The fact that I would be on the ballot for 'Male
Vocalist of the Year' I just laugh so hard because, you know, I
LISA RYAN (reporting): But no one else is laughing.
In addition to being nominated for a Dove Award, singer- songwriter Mark
Schultz has had four No.1 hits.
MARK SCHULTZ: Youve got to understand where this
I dont know how to play the piano, but I play the
piano. I picked it up by ear. And I play on the black notes, the little
black keys. I say this in concerts, too: I do that because theres
not as many of them as white keys, but you have to be able to sing in
a certain register. On the white keys, you got lots of options; on the
black keys, youre pretty much singing in one place, and thats
where I taught myself to sing because the black keys are a little more
raised up and theyre easier to hit with your fingers.
LISA RYAN (reporting): Strange but true as I found out
first hand when I met Mark in the chapel of First Presbyterian Church
SCHULTZ: Every song that Ive written has come out of this
LISA RYAN: Really?
MARK SCHULTZ: I came here nine years ago to be a songwriter,
and I ended up being a youth director of this church out of nowhere. The
youth minister said, 'There are six grand pianos around this place, so
why dont you find one and write songs and in your free time just
hang out with the kids?' I think he knew I was going to fall in love with
the kids, and so it was just his way of making me stay. I fell in love
with it, and Ive been here ever since.
LISA RYAN: What did your time working with kids and
the youth of this church do for you?
MARK SCHULTZ: I learned more from the kids then they
could possibly learn from me. Every one of the songs Ive written
is about them or about their parents.
LISA RYAN: What inspired the song 'Hes My Son'?
MARK SCHULTZ: That was a song that was actually written
for Martin Baird. Hes 14 years old, and hes a member of my
church. Martin had been diagnosed with leukemia, so the next year and
a half I walked through life with a family who was possibly going to lose
their son. I was in this chapel, and I said I want to write a song that
kind of expresses what theyre going through so they dont feel
like theyre alone, by themselves. Martins fine now. Hes
in college and hes in remission, but Im amazed to go into
concerts around the concert and people come after the concerts just in
tears and say, 'You may think youve written that song for the Bairds
or thought you did, but you wrote the song for our son or our daughter
or for my husband.' So, Im amazed.
LISA RYAN: How does God use you in that way?
SCHULTZ: You know what? If I knew, I would almost be disappointed
because I would try to manipulate that. I think that the greatest thing
for me is that I wrote the song 'He Is My Son.' I say I wrote the song
because on the CD it says 'He is My Son' by Mark Schultz, but the fact
of the matter is I had nothing to do with it. .Gods using a stupid
guy because I have no idea. I just go and I play a song, and its
amazing to me and Im grateful for that. I dont understand
it, but Im grateful for it. I mean, I cant think of that stuff
on my own. I think its just in those moments when Im here
at one oclock and I say, 'OK, God, everything that Ive thrown
up, I just hate it.' Then all of a sudden something like that comes out,
and then I go, you know, what if Im 80 and all Ive done is
come up with a song like that because You gave it to me? Im really
OK with that. Thats a life well lived for me.
LISA RYAN: Tell me a little about your childhood. You
were adopted, werent you?
MARK SCHULTZ: Yeah, when I was two weeks old. I got
the best parents in the world. If you listen to my songs, you hear my
mom in there, you hear my dad in there, you hear me honoring them. I was
even thinking about writing a song about that, too, to say it must have
been so hard to give birth to a baby and say with tears in your eyes,
'Theres so much I want to give you that I cant give you, but
Im going to love you.' The chorus of the song is 'You gave me the
opportunity to fall in love. You gave me the opportunity to see the sunset.
You gave me the opportunity to know God. You gave me the opportunity to
breathe, to have life. Thats amazing to me, so every day Im
grateful for that and grateful that Ive got the parents Ive
got because its a gift all the way around.'
LISA RYAN: Youre going to write that song, right?
MARK SCHULTZ: Yeah. The more I think about this interview,
the more Im realizing from being adopted to writing these songs,
man, it wasnt my life to begin with being here. These songs, I cant
claim any of them and say theyre mine. I cant. Its a
gift from being born to getting the parents that I got to the songs that
God gives me. I just feel like theyre borrowed. And Im grateful
LISA RYAN: How did you become a Christian?
MARK SCHULTZ: Being a youth director at this church,
I mean, I grew up in a Christian home and it was great, but it wasnt
until I got here. I remember sitting on my bed when I first moved to Nashville
LISA RYAN: Wait a minute. You said you grew up in the
church, became a youth director in a church, and you didnt really
come to the Lord until you were youth director?
MARK SCHULTZ: Right. I remember coming to Nashville,
and I was in a horrible hotel when I first moved to town. I was sitting
on the edge of the bed, and I had no money. I had just graduated from
college, and I told my parents, 'Im going to go to Nashville and
try it for a year.' All of a sudden it just hit me what a mess I was in.
I just had tears running down my eyes, and I said, 'God, I have messed
up big time. Im way over my head. If Youll get me out of this
pickle, I will write songs for You. I will be Your guy. This is Yours,
LISA RYAN: So it wasnt until you got really desperate
MARK SCHULTZ: Yeah. I got to tell you. The difference
is I think you can know something and then you can rely on something.
God said, 'Heres the thing: Dont get your identity from a
song, dont get your identity from where you live, and dont
ask people to come into that hole you got inside you and try to fill that
up and say this is who I am.' He said, 'Clear all that out and let me
come inside you and fulfill you and be who you are. Hold onto Me because
that doesnt change.' I was meant to have this place right here filled
by God, the One the doesnt change, the One that gives me life, and
the One that gives me my personality and everything that I hold onto during
the roughest time. Maybe thats all He wants me to know through my
whole life, through writing songs -- it aint about me. Fill that
with Him and the thing that doesnt change.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.