top 40 inspo
Casting Crowns: The 'Lifesong' of Mark Hall
By Kristi Watts
The 700 Club
“One of the neatest things that has happened to the church is the movement of worship over the last several years.”
This new breed of Christian music has brought worship to a level that has lured a new generation back to the church.
Among the brightest worship bands is Casting Crowns. A seven-member group made up of all youth pastors.
Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns, has gained a huge fanbase -- mainly because of the way he eloquently paints pictures of God’s Word through his lyrics.
His passion for his music stems from his own struggles as a child. He has an uncanny ability to give those hurts a voice that speaks to today’s generation.
I sat down with Mark to meet the man behind the music. What I found was II Corinthians 12:9: “For my grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
“I remember going to Sunday school, and they’d put you in that little circle of people and make you read verses ‘cause the teacher never studied her lesson,” laughs Mark Hall. “I started to realize that I couldn’t read like everyone else. Scientifically between the page and what my brain says, I lose my spot."
Mark was tested for attention deficit disorder as a child. He says, “I passed the only 100 [percent] I ever got on a test in school. I was like ‘yeah!’ Mama’s like ‘no…’"
To cope with it all, Mark decided to play the class clown.
“I’d be the funny, forgetful guy. You kinda work around things. You kinda create your own self," he says. "I’ll just be a clown, and nobody’ll ever really notice that. It didn’t hurt until later.
“Once Satan figures out where those buttons are, he hits them. I always tell my teenagers, the first thing he wants you to know is that you have a problem. The second thing he wants you to know is you’re the only one with the problem.”
Mark confides that the feeling of being alone put a burden on him
“I’d go to church, and nobody had problems at my church. Everybody was sick; we prayed for hearts, lungs, gizzards and everything at prayer time but nobody had problems. So I figured, ‘I’d better keep my mouth shut.’ I turned into an older believer that masked all of our freckles and our warts and we try to act like everything’s fine when it’s not.”
Eventually the pain had to show. Mark says that a couple of things exposed the true issue that he was dealing with.
“One we went to a big student ministry conference. This guy gets up and starts talking, ‘I’m dyslexic’ and starts to make dyslexic jokes.
“I’m sitting there going, ‘How can you talk about this?” Here I am 21, a minister now. Still never told anybody I dealt with this stuff, and he’s talking about his weakness up there. I thought, ‘Man, no one’s going to listen to you now. Who’s going to care what you have to say once they figure out that you’re dumb like me.’
Mark couldn't shake what he heard, and he began to realize the truth when he talked to one of his students.
“He was talking to me about something he was struggling with. I was like, ‘Man I struggle with that too.’ He looked at me like, ‘You have problems?’
“Right then I realized, ‘What am I communicating?’ I’m a big plastic person up there telling them all to be perfect when perfect is unreachable. You can’t identify with it, you can’t be like it, so you give up.
Mark knew what he had to do. He had to be transparent.
“I started reading about Paul," he says. "He had thorns in his flesh, and he prayed over and over for God to take them away. God said, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. And my power is made perfect in your weakness.’ He said something in that next verse that I never thought of: ‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, ‘cause I know the power of Christ rests on me.’
Mark says that God started teaching him a lesson that day. "‘Mark, I don’t need you. I want you. Do you think that all of your fears are worrying Me? Mark, I’m going to do something in the world, and I just want to know if you will come.’”
Since then, Mark put aside his insecurities, took that step of faith and answered the call that’s on his life.
Today, Casting Crowns is one of the most successful Christian bands out there. Both of their albums have won them several awards including GMA’s Songwriter of the Year and a Grammy for Best Pop/Contemporary Christian group.
Even with all those accolades, Mark defines himself as “a broken person made whole.”
He says, “I still fall down, and I still make a million mistakes, but what I’m seeing is, it doesn’t bother the world that we sin. It bothers the world that we act like we don’t. It hurts our fellowship, so I don’t have anyone left to impress anymore.”
Purchase Casting Crowns' latest album Lifesong.
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