"That's hard to do when you've got eight records of songs with everybody having their favorites they want to hear."
The million-selling, inspirational-pop band visits Van Andel Arena on March 23 with guest artists Danny Gokey and Unspoken (details below).
The title song "The Very Next Thing" sums up the album's theme: don't wait for the grandiose thing you'd like to do for God someday – just do the very next thing He asks.
"One Step Away," a Christian radio hit, builds on the topic. "We have a funny picture on the video wall before we play that song," hinted Scoggin, 34. "The message is that too many people spend so much time backpedaling to a place in life where they can start over, instead of starting right where they are and taking that step forward."
As usual, nearly all their songs feature on-screen lyrics for singing along.
Among other of the new tunes: "Hallelujah" (with its big video moment in concert), "Loving My Jesus"( performed during an acoustic set on an intimate satellite stage), and "Oh My Soul," a song written by lead singer Mark Hall after his cancer diagnosis. (A cancerous tumor was discovered on one of his kidneys. He has since had the kidney removed and is currently cancer-free).
THE CROWNING LEGACY
From its ground-breaking 2003 debut album (which featured three No. 1 radio hits), Casting Crowns has built a solid track record of inspiring music with a heart of ministry.
Radio hits such as "Voice of Truth," "Courageous" and "Praise You In the Storm" still resonate with fans as well get regular spins on Christian radio.
Seventeen Dove Awards, a Grammy and four American Music Awards tell of their success. Four of their CD's have sold more than a million copies each (The entire band catalog has sold 10 million-plus). Casting Crowns continues its hold as Billboard's top-selling Christian act since 2007.
Yet Hall and the players do the band as a sideline. Hall remains a full time youth pastor. Most of their concerts are scheduled for Thursdays through Saturdays to minimize time away from home.
Five of the seven band members are involved in the same church - Eagles Landing First Baptist in McDonough, Ga.
Casting Crowns has performed several times at Van Andel Arena – the first in 2005 as an opening act for Steven Curtis Chapman (a relative newcomer Chris Tomlin was also on the bill!). The following year they played the Allegan County Fair. Several times the band has performed at the Unity Christian Music Festival in Muskegon.
HIS OWN STORY
Scoggin is not Casting Crowns' original drummer. "I met Mark and the band before they had all those national records and tours," he said of their early days. "I filled in for them for a couple of weeks and we just kind of stayed in touch over the years."
Also in youth ministry at a church in Milner, Ga., Scoggin got a call in 2009 from Casting Crowns with news their drummer was leaving and... would he be interested?
"At that point I was established with work and ministry, and it took a little longer to say yes than back in the day," he smiled. Currently he leads the worship band at one of the church's multiple campuses.
His own example tells of the scheduling the band must endure in order to remain part of the members' home churches.
"Last Saturday night we played in Pittsburgh," he offered. "After the concert I got some sleep, woke up at 3:30 to catch a flight (to Atlanta) and was on the church platform about 8 o'clock. It was nuts," he added. The band performs roughly 80 concerts per year, mostly in the fall and spring.
Scoggin said Casting Crowns' next step is to record its second Christmas album, to be released this fall. They're also planning a tour later this year with singer-songwriter Zach Williams ("Chain Breaker").
*Danny Gokey – Singer-songwriter with Christian radio hits "Rise" and "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again"
*Unspoken - Band with songs "Start A Fire" and "Higher"
*(There also are presentations expected about Compassion International and The Museum of the Bible)
Casting Crowns, with special guests Danny Gokey and Unspoken
7 p.m. Thurs. March 23
Van Andel Arena, W. Fulton St. downtown Grand Rapids
Tickets from $17.50 to $157.00 available via Ticketmaster outlets, at the Arena and DeVos Place box offices, www.ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000.