GMA: from Wayne Watson to Mark Hall

Featuring Ryan Dahl Posted on April 21, 2008

Just got back to the hotel, on the edge of midnight, after a long day of worship, ministry, and relationship building.  God allowed for Debby and I to speak into the lives of some soul thirsty Christian artists in very powerful ways.  You'll be hearing from some of these artists in PraiseCharts Live very soon, I'm sure.  We had lunch with Marty Magehee, who is going through a process of rediscovering his music and ministry on the other side of 4HIM.  Marty is a man with a message about real life in the real world - where people desperately need a real relationship with God to survive and thrive. 

After a long afternoon drive through the rolling hills of Franklin, we had a short dinner and then Wayne Watson came to join us at our table.  Wayne is a well known Christian artist from the 80's and 90's who still has a message and a voice to be heard.  While sitting with Wayne, talking about life, music and ministry, a man came by the table to introduce himself, and he was thrilled to actually meet Wayne in person, saying what a profound impact Wayne had on him in the past.  Who was this man but Mark Hall, from Casting Crowns.  It was like two generations of Christian music sharing a moment of connection together.  Mark left an imprint on Wayne and myself in that moment that I don't think he'll ever know - or, maybe one day he will.  We listened to Wayne's new album coming home - he still has a voice, and his heart and passion are more pure than ever.  Wayne has a desire to reconnect with the church again through his voice and music, and we are excited to be able to offer him a place through PraiseCharts in the days and years ahead.

Mark encouraged us to come out to the songwriters showcase that evening in the ballroom, which was the crowning jewel in a long day.  More than a dozen song writers and artists graced the stage with an acoustic flavor of their signature songs for 2008.  Bart Millard (Mercy Me), Chris Tomlin, Rush Of Fools, Casting Crowns, Leeland - the list just went on an on, and we all felt like we were in their living room.  Even the industry pro's claim this is their favorite night of the week.  I think I was the only one standing in a crowd of 2000 while Chris sang "my chains are gone," but I didn't care.  Leeland gave an intense, passion filled expression through his song "Tears of the Saints".  Last week I was nearly moved to tears listen to the song "Undo" on the radio, thinking about my own need for God's grace in my life.  Then tonight, there they were, Rush Of Fools, singing on the stage with their acoustics, as if they were in my living room.

The capstone of the night came at the end, when Mark Hall stood under the spotlight, with his eyes closed, singing "East To West."  Sometimes the messages we find so hard to receive and internalize, he said, are those that we heard in the early years of Sunday School.  The basic message of forgiveness is still at the foundation.  And so, I'm calling it a night -- forgiven, and refreshed.