Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall initially didn’t want a movie made about his band. And if one were ever made -- he says, jokingly -- he wanted Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, or Morgan Freeman to portray him.
“I don't have any car chases or shootouts in my story,” he says, laughing.
Eventually, though, Hall did relent to the idea … sort of. Hall agreed to have the Casting Crowns' history re-told in a documentary that spotlights not only the band’s history but -- more importantly -- the stories behind the songs. The film also includes live performances of some of their most popular tunes.
That documentary, Casting Crowns: Home By Sunday, debuts in theaters on Nov. 30.
“I finally told them, I said, ‘If you make the film about the songs, and we can tell the stories of people who've been impacted by the songs, I think there's something to tell there,” Hall told Christian Headlines.
“And as I started telling my story, I started realizing, ‘Okay, there's stuff in here, too. Being an LD [learning disabilities] kid that never wanted to be in front, but God made me get out front -- that was a pretty big deal,” Hall said, referencing his early diagnosis of dyslexia.
In its 20-year history, the band has sold 13 million albums while winning four American Music Awards, one Grammy, two Billboard Music Awards, and 18 GMA Dove Awards. It released its latest album, Lifesong: A Celebration of the First 20 Years, this fall.
The band has soared to the top of the charts multiple times while balancing ministry and life back home. For the band’s entire existence, Hall has served as a youth pastor. He currently is on staff as youth pastor of Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga.
Many of the band’s songs, he said, were born out of his ministry.
“If I wasn't in the church, the songs wouldn't have been written,” Hall said. “So the songs are just kind of overflow. Because it all comes from something I'm teaching, something [I’m] teaching students, or I'm one-on-one with some of the guys that I meet with, or things that have happened in our families.”
Hall never considered quitting his church ministry, he said.
“People think teenagers are scary. No -- grownups are the scary ones. … And if you love a kid, and you spend time with them, and you know their name, and they know that you're calling their name out to God, you can speak truth into that.”
He wants moviegoers to realize the members of Casting Crowns are not just ordinary but “less than ordinary.” When people finish watching the film, he said, he wants them to tell themselves, “If they've got a ministry, then I've got a ministry.”
Photo Courtesy: Provident Films.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.