12 concertIn a recent conversation with songwriter Mark Hall of Casting Crowns, we laughed over the irate response to their first single to Christian radio back in 2003. The song was, “If We Are The Body,” which asks us — the church — if we are collectively here as the hands, the feet, the heart of Jesus, why are we not reaching, touching and going to everyone, everywhere?

Within weeks of the time the song played in Fayetteville at WCLN, we received a call from a missionary home on sabbatical who asked, “Who is this band, and what gives them the right to level this sort of judgment?”

No more an affront to Christians than saying “We need to clean up this city” to a town council, the song was as much a surprise to the band as a first radio single as anyone else. During our phone call, the man who penned the song commented that the record label made the decision, and that they realized the band would be coming out swinging.

Casting Crowns, after nearly 20 years of Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, Grammy nominations and No. 1 songs stacked as high as one could hope, are bringing their unique sound — now a staple of Christian radio and playlists far and wide — to the Crown Theatre on Saturday, March 14.
Lead man Mark Hall and his wife, Melanie, still serve as youth workers at their home church in south Atlanta, and they only do so many dates per year — always ending up back home for their weekly gatherings on Sunday.

Casting Crowns began as the student worship band that Hall formed while he was serving at First Baptist Daytona Beach in 1999. Since then, they have moved their home base to Georgia, amassed a string of chart-topping songs and albums and developed a musical following others merely dream of.

The “Only Jesus” Tour features another songwriter who also brings his share of radio hits and accolades to the table. Matthew West, who came on the scene about the same time as Casting Crowns has scored numerous top 10 singles and was the 2018 Gospel Music Association Songwriter of the Year.

The performance at the Crown is March 14 at 7 p.m. Visit www.crowncomplexnc.com/events/ to buy tickets.

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