Casting Crowns Interview

1. How did you get involved in music and songwriting?

I grew up singing in church with my Dad as a kid. Songwriting just happened one afternoon. I was always making up stuff in my head and suddenly realized... "Hey...I think I just wrote a song!" Then my little musical mind wanderings became more focused. I went to

Baptist College of Florida and majored in Church Music. God sharpened me there.

2. Growing up, when/how did you discover that you had dyslexia?

Actually I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADD. I spent most of my school years in Learning Disabled classes. (Great Class Name for a 12 year old, huh?) My mom never told me I was dyslexic and found out the name for it in college. I know just knew it took me longer to do things and I couldn’t read real good and I had to go to special classes.

Instead she encouraged me to try hard and stayed on me about getting work done. Thanks to my mom, Learning Disabled was never who I was. It was just where I went to class.

On top of that God began teaching me a very important truth. God doesn’t need me. He wants me. I had this picture of a God who was building an army and He needed the best of the best. He was going to fight the devil and needed the gifted and the strong and I was neither of those.

I began to see through the life of Moses, Joseph, David, and Paul

(2 Cor. 12) that God wasn’t looking for talents at all. He was looking for hearts. And if he would have wanted a warrior to kill Goliath he could have used Saul, but he used a shepherd instead.

God knew exactly what He was doing when He made me and He knew exactly what He was getting into when He placed me in the ministry I am in. That is the why “Voice of Truth�a song on the CD that is very special to me.

Believers today are listening to the wrong voice and that why God places people like me on the stage in front of them.

The message is this: God doesn’t need me. He wants me. Sorry that was so long. You touch a passionate spot with that question.

3. How did you get involved in youth ministry?

God moved me towards students in college. I immediately hurt for them (teenagers) Luckily I haven’t forgotten one moment of what it is like to be a teenager. I feel their hurt and need to be understood and accepted. My students aren’t my ministry, they are my friends.

4. What has been the most exciting thing that has happened in your ministry?

Seeing the light come on in a young believers’ eyes. Seeing the death of religion and the birth of a real relationship with Jesus. To most

students and adults as well, Jesus has been gone too long to seem like a real person. This is where religion steps in. God becomes a book and Jesus becomes an example. Stories, Guidelines, Steps. Problem is you can't draw strength from a book and you can't be forgiven by a story. Jesus has to become a real person to you. You must have your own walk with Him. Seeing that happen fires me up!

5. On the debut record, the first two songs set a spiritually intense tone.

On "What if his people..." you talk about how people sometimes make the wrong choices when it comes to seeking guidance. How has prayer guided your decisions?

It goes back to people and our need for a relationship. It just seems more real when a living breathing person is talking to us(even if it's on TV). And there are some really smart people out there. Problem is that when life decisions are being made and world views are being formed, the voice that I am listening to in that moment becomes very important. When a person has a true friendship with Jesus, he becomes their source.

6. Musically, there's a bit of Dave Matthews and Steven Curtis in there. Who are some of your musical influences?

Steven is definitely a strong influence. Haven’t heard Dave Matthews. I stopped listening to secular music about 10 years ago. I'm not at all saying that Dave's a bad guy and I'm not saying that all secular music is bad period. For me it was a conscious pointed attack on my thought life. Gal. 6 says that if I want my new life to grow, I should plant into it using new life things. Music is

very powerful and has always had a big affect on me. I then read Phil. 4:8 and saw that if a band and their music made it through the Phillippian Filter - it made it into my head.

Andy Stanley once said, "There's good and there's bad, but that's not my queue. But rather what is the wise thing to do." That changed my life. I always looked for the line between right and wrong so I could camp out on it. So I started trying to choose the wise thing. And that changed everything.

So now I listen to SCC, Switchfoot, TobyMac, TAIT, Delerious, Blindside, Third Day