It is not every day a concert sells out in
"You would think he was the guy next door," said
The church's website barely makes mention of the group. Hall's staff biography only tells you he collects old comics, loves playing tennis and played the Easter Bunny at the mall as his first job.
"He won't talk about himself," Metcalf said. "You have to drag it out of him."
On the band's website, you also are not likely to find much mention of the group's accolades, which include a Grammy, a dozen Dove Awards, an American Music Award and top honors from Billboard.
In June, they accepted K-LOVE radio's Fan Award for Artist of the Year.
Standing as an usher in the back of the auditorium, Wainwright knew all the Casting Crowns' words even without looking at the scroll of lyrics on the big screen.
She sings many of their songs during worship at
"They're an awesome group," she said. "They've been very instrumental in contemporary Christian music."
Church groups and families with children made up the bulk of the 2,675 people in attendance at the
"I've never had that many people help volunteer," said Metcalf, who was bombarded by people who did not jump fast enough to buy a ticket.
A group of girlfriends from Perry was fortunate enough to snag front row seats and arrived about an hour before the show to claim them.
More than a dozen people showed up at the door, hoping to buy tickets.
Most people had gotten the word about the sell-out crowd.
"It's not all that usual, especially to sell out that far ahead," said Macon Centreplex manager
The last performer she could recall playing to a packed house was
Thompson has tremendous respect for Hall's commitment to his church.
Even when Casting Crowns is on a major tour, they plan to be home by Sunday morning.
Hall focuses on his students the first half of the week, and performs the second half.
Their fall tour features Mandisa and Sidewalk Prophets and kicks off next month in
The whole "Thrive" theme grew out of a youth trip, Hall explained on the group's website.
"Hanging out with teenagers and hanging out with families in our church in
He listens to people struggling through life.
Exploring a massive 300-year-old tree with the kids in
Hall's mind was bombarded with scripture references and his musical message started taking shape.
He started compiling songs to encourage people to dig deep into God's word and discover who they are in Christ, and find the strength that brings.
"We're seeing God do some pretty awesome things on the road," Hall said. "Seeing a lot of cool things happen with dads, families coming together."
He makes it clear in his biographical information that he strives to keep his priorities straight under his own roof, which is sometimes on a sleek black tour bus shared with his wife and kids.
It is not exactly the life of a typical youth pastor living in the
"We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives. It's time for us to more than just survive. We were made to thrive."
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