Hey Crowns friends! By now, if you haven’t heard, I have left my friends and family in Casting Crowns. If you hadn’t heard before the previous sentence I’m sure you’re asking the same question I’ve been asked a number of times already which is “Why”. I’d be lying if I said my family had nothing to do with it. But I’d also be lying if I said my family had everything to do with it. Allow me to explain.
Previous to Casting Crowns, at about 19 years old, I felt a call into the ministry. At the time I wasn’t really sure what a “call” was. All I knew in my heart was that I didn’t have the desire to be a graphic designer, computer animator or male model anymore (that last one was a joke). What I desired to do from that point on was to serve in the local church in some capacity. I started serving as Mark’s youth intern thinking where God wanted me was youth ministry. A few years later Casting Crowns took off. We were signed in 2003 and, well you know the rest. Within those first couple of years in Casting Crowns I married my sweetheart Christy and moved to Rome, Georgia where she had 2 years left of college. I loved Rome and served with the students at West Rome Baptist Church where I was asked to lead music for the students. I didn’t know at the time but now I can see God was molding me not only more in His image but also for the next season He was bringing us into.
About 3 to 4 years ago the desire started to burn again to be in the local church. I prayed fervently for that desire to leave me. I mean after all I was in Casting Crowns! I know people who dream about doing what I’ve been allowed to do. I fought it for a long time and eventually gave in. I told my beautiful bride Christy about it and at the time she was supportive but not really feeling the same desire. So I prayed again for the desire to be taken away or to change Christy’s heart. 2 years ago we were driving home from youth camp and Christy called me crying. She said, “I’m ready if you are”. So began a process of praying together and seeking God’s will on when and where. During this time our good friend Bobby McGraw sent a message via Facebook just asking how camp went and how we were doing. Christy explained all that was going on in our hearts and he asked if I’d be willing to come lead worship one Sunday at Sugar Hill Church where he is the Teaching Pastor. A few weeks after leading worship at the church Pastor Chuck Allen called and asked if we could get together over coffee. As we talked over coffee I started to feel more of a draw towards Sugar Hill Church and after talking about it with Christy we knew Sugar Hill is where we needed to be. I won’t say every encouragement Pastor Chuck gave me that day, but the one I will never forget is, “I didn’t know we needed a worship pastor until you lead that day”. Unfortunately I couldn’t be a worship pastor and do Casting Crowns. Rather, I could but I felt the Spirit’s warning me that my family would suffer.
To keep the rest of the story short but still give God the glory, through November up to this point, our son Noah was born December 2 and came so quick and easy (we got to the hospital around 6am and he was here at 6:58) we were home within a couple of days. I know that may not sound like something major enough to state but we later realized how much of a blessing that was into planning our exit from one season and entrance into another.
We put our house on the market and it sold a month later without taking too much of a hit.
Josh Mix, who has taken my place in Casting Crowns, graduated in December not sure what he was going to do after college and having a desire to do something with music. Mark approached Josh a few weeks before Josh graduated.
A now friend of mine here at Sugar Hill Church was volunteering his time heading up the music ministry and in November told Pastor Chuck that he needed a little bit of a break from helping head up the music ministry. This was around a week after talking to Pastor Chuck about coming on staff at Sugar Hill.
I was praying for my family to find a home church. They live in Buford Georgia, which is the city right next to Sugar Hill. They don’t have a choice. My parents’ son and my sister’s brother is the worship pastor at Sugar Hill Church!
We have found the house we’ve been praying for (it has a basement!) and moved in yesterday!
There are several more prayers that have been prompted and answered but the ones listed are a few to give you the idea of just how the Spirit has been working.
In addition, the more I get to know my new position and the people I serve alongside with here at Sugar Hill Church, the more I see why God placed us here to serve and placed us here to learn and grow.
I am so grateful for the 13 years serving with and learning from Mark, Melodee, Juan and Chris, the decade with Megan and the 3 years with Brian. Without Crowns I don’t believe I’d be at Sugar Hill Church. Through them, I have known my Jesus more intimately and therefore heard Jesus much clearer than I would have without their example, their accountability and their love.
To Crowns fans all over the world, thank you for all the support you have shown over the last decade and I love you all!
photos by: http://iveymischelphotography.com/