At first glance, you might not think clean-cut evangelist Will Graham has much in common with married rock stars John and Korey Cooper.
But all three share a passion for what matters most: introducing people to Jesus Christ.
Since 2009, the Coopers’ band, Skillet, has partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in proclaiming the Gospel around the country. Most recently, the Christian rockers joined Will Graham in Fairmont, West Virginia, and Des Moines, Iowa—where hundreds accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.
Ahead of the evangelistic events in West Virginia, the Coopers sat down with fellow musicians, The Afters, to talk about how Christ’s life, death and resurrection can still give you hope today. In honor of Skillet’s new, full-length album—which releases on January 14—be encouraged by their conversation.
Q: Why do you choose to write songs about Jesus and your faith?
John: “I was 15 years old when my mom died from cancer. … I learned a ton about the faithfulness of God through Christian music. … It got me through my hard times, and I always thought, ‘If I had a chance to write songs for other people out there hurting—in whatever various ways they’re hurting—then I would love to do that for God. I would love to make art that could bring glory to God.’ As a believer, in reality no matter what you do for your job, … whether you’re a plumber or a school teacher or a songwriter, we are supposed to do what we do unto the glory of God.”
Korey: “There’s something spiritual within music. There’s something of the soul. There’s just some power in it. But we want to use that for the glory of God, because I don’t really want to do music for the sake of music. … Let’s get the message across of like, ‘Hey, there’s something more than what you’re living. There’s something more than what you’re seeing. And you can connect with God right now.'”
Q: How does the Gospel apply to current events?
John: “This has been a really strange year, and I think that people are asking questions. … ‘Is there something eternal? Is there something that matters? Is there an answer for this?’ … The Gospel is relevant to people wherever they are at, and so John 3:16 is never going to stop being relevant. It is the Good News. … Wherever you’re at, God is with you and the Word is alive and relevant to you.”
Q: Why do we need Jesus?
Korey: “Only one person, one man, God-man, can live up to the holy standard of God. There is a holiness standard, and there’s wrath of God on sin. So He’s given you a way to appease that—but you can’t do it in and of yourself. And you should know enough that if you try, you’re going to fail. This is the great news. This isn’t about you, but some people don’t like that because they want to earn something.”
Q: Should Christians address unbiblical views of the Gospel?
John: “Once you have separated Jesus Christ from the Bible, it’s a philosophy. [If you say] ‘I’m into Jesus, but I’m not into the Bible,’ well now you’ve divorced Christ from His own words. We are not worshipping the same Christ. I don’t hate you for that, but I would like to be clear about that. And then we can have a debate—in love—about it. … Not to bring division, but to bring clarity, that some people would be saved and be brought into the faith, maybe for the first time.” >>Read John Cooper’s Decision Magazine article on this subject.
Q: Why do you participate in evangelistic events with the BGEA?
John: “Getting to play music for Christ is awesome. When you think of all these great Old Testament examples of music—the army, but the musicians go first. … Think about the wall of Jericho. Think about King Saul tormented by demons, and he calls for an anointed musician to come and play.
“Being a part of the Graham Celebration is always exciting, because there will be people who have never heard the Gospel before hear it. … And maybe they only came to hear Skillet play. I hope so. I hope people came only to hear us play, and they get to hear something so much better than Skillet.”
>>Watch the full interview between Skillet and The Afters: