I’m a full time youth pastor at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, GA. I’ve been there fifteen years! Any song you’ve heard from Casting Crowns over the years has come from what we are teaching in youth group. The concept of our last album, Thrive, came directly from our Wednesday night student Bible study. A lot of times the teenagers I talk to, really all of us as believers, understand what the Gospel is about and believe it. We’re just not sure where our lives meet up with it. When we say to ourselves, “I know I need to trust God with my life,” it’s a big giant concept. When a teenager hears that they need to be a leader, oftentimes they don’t even know what that means. They know they need to be “on fire” and “all in” and “whatever it takes to cross the line” and all these other big slogans we like to throw around. I think they believe it, I think we all believe it, but we’re not sure what we’re supposed to do next. We’ve got this idea that an awesome walk with Jesus is out there somewhere, beyond where we can reach. We’re looking for the bridge to get over to where He is. Our new record, The Very Next Thing, is about just doing the very next thing He says. Serving God isn’t this giant dream a year from now, it’s not this thing He’s going to have you do in a month. It’s right now. Big things for God aren’t something you achieve after you graduate or after you move on from the position you’re in or after you get that promotion. Big things for God is the person sitting next to you right now. God put breath in your lungs to sit next to that person right now and do something, right now. We want people to hear that they’re all in a different stage of next. There’s a next step from where you are. Following God is just the word of love that I need to speak to somebody, the very next heart that needs to be encouraged. Ministry isn’t on Sunday, it’s not on stage, it’s not only realized by people with certain gifts and abilities. It’s you, where you are, doing the next thing God tells you to do.
-Mark Hall / Lead singer of Casting Crowns
I appreciate Mark taking the time to guest post on the blog this week. More than that, I appreciate the message here in following Jesus one step at a time and doing the next thing He tells us. What a powerful message for each one of us as well as for the students that you lead. Make sure and check out the newly released Casting Crowns album “The Very Next Thing.” I’m also excited let you know about some awesome ministry tools that go along with the new Casting Crowns album. If you follow this link you will find a download for a free 40 day devotional that you can give to your students. Also, Mark Hall and the Casting Crowns team have created some videos and discussion guides to go along with the devotionals that you can use in a student worship service or other ministry environment of your choice. Using these tools, your student ministry can begin to walk through a journey together on what it means to follow Jesus in the very next thing.
-Ben Trueblood, Director of Lifeway Student Ministry