He has been a youth minister for 25 years. He has been the lead singer of one of the most popular Christian bands in America for more than 15 years.
He has sung songs on movie soundtracks and his band, Casting Crowns, has won multiple Dove Awards, Grammys and many other awards for their work.
But when a doctor told Mark Hall he had cancer in 2015, none of that mattered anymore.
“When a doctor tells you that you have cancer, all you hear is that you are going to die,” Hall said. “That is when you find out where your roots are. Your feelings can change, but you have to have your roots in your faith.”
After the diagnosis, Hall found it much more difficult to be on that side of ministry.
“I have always been the one who helps other people in those situations,” Hall said. “I didn’t know how to handle being the one who was in the situation. I closed up and shut people out.”
Hall didn’t want his struggle to affect his children, his family or his church. He realized that he needed to let people minister to him the way he has ministered to others in the past.
He also turned to the one therapy that he has always used to work through issues – writing songs.
“When you are a songwriter, writing is how you process things,” Hall said. “That is when I remembered the words of David and began writing ‘Oh My Soul.’”
The hit single came straight from Hall’s heart as he worked through being diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Psalms 43:5 says,
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Hall built out the lyrics with his inner monologue as he convinced himself to lean on his faith and not the feelings that were causing him fear.
One line in the song says, “Oh my soul, you are not alone. There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.”
That was Hall reminding himself that his roots are firmly established in his faith in God.
Castings Crowns is touring with Zach Williams – the winner of the Best New Artist award at this week’s Dove Awards ceremony – and they will be in concert at Firelake Arena on Nov. 11.
Hall said the band would be sharing a lot of their new album, “The Very Next Thing” but they will always play fan favorites from previous albums too.
“We know a lot of people love those older songs and that they mean a lot to them,” Hall said.
The new album has been well received and even earned the band the title of Best Contemporary Christian Artist at this week’s Dove Awards. Even though the band was playing at the ceremony, Hall said they had no expectation of winning an award.
“That really came out of nowhere,” Hall said. “We were sitting in the back in the middle. We didn’t expect to win. But it meant a lot to us because that is an award where people in your industry, who do what you do, recognize the work you have done.”
Hall said he loves to share the message of the gospel and the comfort a faith in God brings even when life doesn’t go the way you plan.
“We don’t worship God because, if we do, everything will be awesome,” Hall said. “Just because you love Jesus, your life won’t always be easy. That just isn’t how it is.”
Hall pointed out that even Philippians - the letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Phillippi, also known as the Book of Joy – was written from a prison cell.
“Sometimes God calms the storms in our lives, and other times He goes through them with us,” Hall said. “But no matter which He chooses, we will praise Him because of what He has done for us.”
Hall said he still loves touring and getting to share that message of hope.
“My family travels with us and I still get to stay engaged with them and my home church,” Hall said. And he is engaged. Hall walked into his office at his church during our interview only about 12 hours after performing in Nashville and winning an award this week.
He said Casting Crowns concert crowds often look like a church.
“We have people from 7 to 70 and some who have a strong faith and others who may not have any experience with faith and would never go to church,” Hall said. He said the band balances the need to “put on a good show” with delivering a message that they were called to share more than two decades ago.
“We always share with people about Jesus’ love for them and that God gave them gifts to use and that they aren’t just part of an audience,” Hall said. “We also tell people where the songs come from, what we were going through at the time and what scriptures they come from.”
There are still a few tickets available for the show at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1523818-casting-crowns-very-next-shawnee/ or you can call Firelake Arena directly.