New Centricity Music band Carrollton released their debut EP, “Breathe In Deep,” on Feb. 11, 2014. For Justin Mosteller (lead vocals and guitar), Jeremy Menard (lead guitar), Michael Loy (drums) and Jordan Bailey (bass), using music to spread the message of hope found in Jesus is their mission. The band, whose roots are in worship music, took time to share their perspective on music and ministry, and how they are bringing the two together.
Q: What it is about leading worship that is so appealing to you?
A: All the members of the band are either full time worship pastors or volunteer worship leaders at our home churches. We find so much joy in joining with the church body in singing praise to our God. We like to say that the songs we sing are prayers with a melody. Nothing on stage we do is about us. As cliché as that may sound, it’s so true. We want to experience God in a fresh, new way every time we lead, and the beauty in that is we can. No matter how many times we sing “How Great Is Our God” or “This Is Amazing Grace”--the list goes on--God reveals himself to us in new ways with the words of those songs.
Q: Most of your backgrounds seem to be pretty strongly rooted in Christianity. Tell me a bit about how God is allowing you to use your stories, through your music ministry--including your recently released EP--and beyond, to reach listeners who might not come from Christian roots or may have never heard about Jesus?
A: Even though all of our backgrounds are rooted in Christianity, I think it’s safe to say we fail daily. Therefore, our stories are just like everyone else’s. The songs we write come from a very honest place. The songs on the record are a true testament of who we are and the circumstances we have faced. Over the past few years, there have been a lot of mountain-top experiences and there have been some dark valleys as well. Songs like “Holding Me” and “You Are Faithful” are songs that were written in moments of uncertainty and many questions. “Pass You By” is a song that reminds us to take in the moment we are in and make the most of it, because we cannot rewrite our past and our future is not guaranteed. We hope that our music will be good enough to grab the attention of listeners’ ears, and then the message within the song can relate to anyone, whether they have Christian roots or this is the first time they are hearing about Jesus.
Q: Jeremy, tell us a bit about what you mean when you say, in the band bio, that you “grew up in a self-described ‘religiously confused home.’” How has that upbringing factored into your life and your music ministry now?
A: When I say "religiously confused," I am referring to the beliefs my parents have about God. My mother has always been a strong believer, while my father has trouble believing that there is a God at all. My mother belongs to a Protestant church, however, my father was raised in the Catholic Church. Even though my dad doesn't attend church, he insisted that us kids be raised in the Catholic Church as well. Even though being raised in an environment where everyone kind of believed something different was confusing, and at many times led to my doubting the existence of God, it forced me to wrestle with God, which brought me near to Him in a way that I'm not sure would have been possible otherwise. For that, I am thankful. I'm also thankful that it gave me the opportunity to see how beautifully diverse the Church really is. The best way the Church can show the world the love of God is by having great unity even in great diversity. Unity in diversity is evidence of a value system that is otherworldly and ultimately points to the huge God who holds it all together. Our hope, as a band, has always been that our music would be something that unites people and points believers and nonbelievers alike to the God who is holding everything together.
Q: What motivates your calling, as a band, to minister at youth conferences and church services, and how is God growing and furthering that goal as time goes on?
A: It’s where we started as a band, and it’s still who we are. We have been together going on six years, and for the first four years we were only a worship band. We never played concerts or thought about the entertainment value of a concert. We were strictly on stage to help lead the church body. Fast forward to now, and we are playing concerts and having to think about how to engage and entertain the audience while presenting the message of hope and salvation that our Father gives us. There is refreshment in going back to events where all we have to do is just worship, nothing else. We have been blessed to partner with some great conferences and churches, over the last few years, which bring us in just to lead worship. We certainly hope that doesn’t change.
Q: What are you currently working on, what do you have planned for the near future, and how can people find out more about the band?
A: Regarding the band, we are gearing up for our busiest summer and fall we have ever had. We will be leading worship all throughout the summer with Christ In Youth “Move” and the North American Christian Convention (NACC) Student Convention. We will be part of a tour starting around the end of September. …We are very excited. Individually, three of us (the married ones) have already welcomed, or will be welcoming, new additions to our families this year, so that’s extremely exciting. By the time the last baby is born we will have seven band kids in the family.