By Belinda S. Ayers
you ever bought a CD for one song? Here is the scenario. You hear the
song over and over on a Christian radio station and soon you are on a
mission: "I have to get that song!" This happens to me
more than I would like to admit, which explains why CDs currently cover
every available surface of my bedroom, the floorboard of my car and my
desk at work. But it is rare that I buy a CD for "that one song"
and find that I enjoy all the other songs on the album as well.
The self-titled national debut album from Casting Crowns is one of those
The Atlanta-based band has been topping the Christian music charts in
recent weeks with their powerful song "If We Are the Body,"
a catchy tune encouraging believers to be Christ's hands and feet by extending
a warm welcome to those outside the church walls. My first impulse after
hearing that song several times was to immediately purchase the album,
but before I had the opportunity I was given the CD as a gift.
soon discovered that "If We Are the Body" is only the beginning
of the rich treasures found on this CD. Produced by Stephen Curtis Chapman
and Mark A. Miller (lead singer of the country band Sawyer Brown), the
album opens with a hard-hitting charge to the church written by Mark Hall,
the band's lead singer. "What If His People Prayed" is not only
musically intense, its powerful lyrics challenge the listener: "What
if the church, for heaven's sake/Finally stepped up to the plate/Took
a stand upon God's promise/And stormed hell's rusty gates?"
Passionate lyrics are one of the album's greatest features. Most of the songs
were written by Hall, a youth minister who never dreamed he would be traveling
around the country with a band. During his 12 years in youth ministry Hall
had always incorporated music into his ministry. His bold lyrics that were
first written for his students cut straight to the heart of issues that challenge
both seasoned and new Christians today.
"Who Am I" reminds believers that they are nothing apart from Christ.
"American Dream," one of the album's most energetic songs, exhorts
listeners not to neglect their families in pursuit of wealth and careers.
"Here I Go Again" encourages believers to overcome their fear of
sharing the gospel: " 'Cause here I go again/ Talkin' 'bout the rain/And
mulling over things that won't live past today/And as I dance around the truth/Time
is not his friend/This might be my last chance to tell him that You love him."
The inspiring ballad "Voice of Truth," co-written by Hall and Chapman,
encourages Christians to trust Jesus' voice when He calls them out of their
comfort zones, and to replace their fear with faith as they face the giants
in their lives.
The seven-member band returns to their roots of praise and worship with the
last four tracks on the album. Although not as intense musically, these four
songs maintain the album's spiritual momentum by offering upbeat praises to
With their combination of no-nonsense lyrics and energetic pop music Casting
Crowns reaches across generational lines challenging believers to live out
their faith at a deeper level. This is a band to watch as God continues to
use them in the years ahead.
about how the band was formed.