“If you have a friend on the outside looking in about what the Bible is, what faith is, this is the night for them,” said Mark Hall, leader of Casting Crowns.
He should know.
Three years ago, “The Story” tour embarked on its first outing, utilizing the Christmas period and a cast of well-known contemporary Christian and gospel singers to musically tell the story of the Bible.
This is the second year that Hall and Stockbridge-based Casting Crowns are participating in the tour, which plays Philips Arena on Saturday. They’ll be joined by a children’s choir and orchestra as well as Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Nichole Nordeman, Selah, Rawsrvnt and renowned author and pastor Randy Frazee.
Hall credits “The Story” book, written by Frazee and Max Lucado, as the inspiration for the tour.
“A problem many of us have with the Bible is that it isn’t chronological, so what Randy did was take the Bible and put it in order, so the story is a chronological walk from Genesis through Revelation by character. So you’ll start with Adam and Eve, then to Abraham, then to Moses,” Hall said. “It shows you that the Bible is a story about people.”
During “The Story” concert, the musicians will first appear as a group for a Christmas set. Each act will then perform individually before the unveiling of “The Story.”
On the CD of “The Story,” Hall and Casting Crowns member Megan Garrett portray Abraham and Sarah on the song “Who But You,” and will replicate that performance live.
“The show is multimedia,” Hall said. “You have a live orchestra playing and a movie screen behind the artists on the stage. Between each song, Randy ties everything together and shows you how these stories relate.”
The tour launches Friday in Nashville and wraps Dec. 15. It’s not a long run, but one of the few times that Hall, a youth minister at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, will have to miss some Sunday services.
But his weekly teachings will be put to helpful use with the release of “Thrive,” a new Casting Crowns album due Jan. 28, and Hall’s book, “Thrive — Digging Deep, Reaching Out,” arriving Feb. 11.
“Every song we’ve ever written comes from something I’m teaching,” Hall said. “Six of the songs are about digging deep, and six are about reaching out.”
Because many of the topics on the upcoming release deal with heavier issues such as family struggles and addiction, Hall is setting up a website that will feature a page for each song with video and testimonials from listeners who want to share their experiences.
“We’re giving this stuff away to help families because families are a wreck. As a church, we’re telling them to go save the world, and they’re bleeding right there in the pew,” Hall said.
Hall’s book, meanwhile, his fourth, is a collection of his sermons that have been culled and edited by his co-pastor, Tim Luke.
“He takes all of my sermons and transcribes them. He’ll record me talking and meandering and pull it all together so it makes sense,” Hall said with a laugh.
The Grammy- and Dove Award-winning Casting Crowns — which also include Melodee DeVevo, Chris Huffman, Juan DeVevo, Brian Scoggin and Josh Mix — will embark on a spring tour in February to support “Thrive” with fellow Georgian Laura Story and Australia’s For King & Country.
But at the moment, the priority is “The Story.”
“It’s such a fun show,” Hall said, “that we had to be part of it again.”
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“The Story” tour
With Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Nichole Nordeman, Selah, Rawsrvnt and Randy Frazee. 7 p.m. Saturday. $20-$75. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.