About Cross Point Music
In the heart of Music City sits a church that believes everyone’s welcome, nobody’s perfect and anything’s possible. It’s a mantra that’s carried Cross Point Church across the past 15 years of its existence and a vision that’s shaped its primary musical expression, Cross Point Music, into a collective that seeks out collaboration both inside and outside the walls of their church.
Cross Point Music—a collective of nearly 400 volunteer musicians, vocalists and songwriters anchored by worship leaders Mike Grayson and Cheryl Stark—serves the 10,000 people who call Cross Point home across six campuses in Nashville and surrounding areas like Franklin, Bellevue, Dickson, Mt. Juliet and Hendersonville. Helmed by lead pastor Kevin Queen, Cross Point is a multi-site church for the spiritually curious, a place for people to find and follow Jesus. Moreover, their robust web presence reaches people around the world through digital discipleship and online evangelism.
“At the core, we’re passionate about worship and want our songs to give the church words and melodies that help express their relationship with Jesus,” says Cross Point Music Coordinator Cheryl Stark, who previously served as a country writer for Sony/ATV and is married to Apollo LTD member Adam Stark.
Given their location and previous experience in music, both Stark and Grayson felt impressed to provide a space of connection and creativity for Nashville’s bevy of songwriters. In October 2019, Cross Point Music launched a first-of-its-kind songwriting community that immediately drew more than 75 songwriters across music genres. The collective kicked off with a six-week songwriting course led by Dove Award-winning songwriter Krissy Nordhoff. Their vision is to educate songwriters about the craft of songwriting and the business of music, as well as connect fellow songwriters for co-writes in the hopes of cultivating lasting relationships and creating new works of art.
“Nashville’s ‘Music City,’ and we attract so many songwriters from all over the world, but we were sensing that there’s a great need for community and growth for the individual songwriter,” Stark explains of the community’s genesis. “Hopefully they’re building relationships and growing in their craft, but also, our hope is that God awakens them to the God-given gift He’s given them.”
Now, amidst a season of social distancing, Cross Point Music is continuing to gather their songwriting community through virtual co-writes and educational sessions. However, members of their songwriting community don’t necessarily attend church at Cross Point. In fact, they rather encourage people who aren’t a part of Cross Point Church to join the group, because they want Cross Point Music to grow into a collective that’s broad and inclusive.
“We realize the responsibility we have to pour into the creatives in our community. For most of these people, we only have them for a short season, so the prayer is that they feel like during their time at Cross Point, they were poured into; developed as a songwriter, a singer, a player; and that God was in the center of all of it,” shares Cross Point Music Experience Director Mike Grayson, who has lived the life of an artist himself as the former frontman of MIKESCHAIR.
“We believe a song can come from anywhere, so that’s not just those faces you see on stage or leading songs. We’re really intentional about the fact that it’s not an exclusive club,” Grayson continues. “When you start inviting people from other churches into the mix, what you start to realize is the Holy Spirit is working in a bunch of different spots at once. And then the next thing you know, you’re writing a song that serves so many different people when you thought, Oh man, I was just writing for my church.”
Nowhere is this sentiment more apparent than on Cross Point Music’s latest single, “Never Stop Singing,” which was born out of one of their initial songwriting camps. Stefan Cashwell, from Atlanta’s Maverick City Music, leads the song’s recording. Cashwell penned the song alongside fellow songwriter Mary Beth Sudduth and Cross Point Franklin pastor Kevin Robison.
“We just knew immediately he’s the one who’s supposed to carry that song,” Grayson shares. “The vision for Cross Point Music isn’t an exclusively Cross Point member thing. We would love to showcase unity in the Church. It really does come down to whoever is supposed to carry that song for that season.”
“Never Stop Singing” serves as the title-cut for Cross Point Music’s newest EP and first with Centricity Music, slated for January 2021. The four-song collection includes three other originals organically birthed from the worship emanating from Cross Point Church. Along with Spence Parkerson, Cashwell collaborated with Stark and Grayson for cornerstone track “Heaven Is On The Way,” offering words of praise for life’s hardest moments with a chorus that declares, “I will sing when I don’t feel it. I’ll believe before I see it.”
Giving voice to both those who have seen prayers answered and to those still sitting on the other side of an unanswered prayer, “Even More” was conceived during one of Cross Point’s weekly prayer hours in which Stark began jotting down phrases from a prayer led by former NFL Tennessee Titans player Tim Shaw, who battles ALS. “During the prayer, Tim asked God to allow us to lean into even more of who He is,” shares Stark. Meanwhile, living out Cross Point Music’s vision of uniting various congregations, Grayson took his pen outside his home church to write “You Are” with creatives from Craig Groeschel’s Life.Church in Oklahoma.
The tracks form a tapestry that weave sounds from different churches but beat from the same heart—offerings filled with transparency, yet often free of resolution. If the lyrics of Cross Point Music’s songs feel gritty, it’s because they are. “We don’t want to just write beautiful songs with beautiful melodies and beautiful words,” Grayson admits. “We don’t necessarily try to be provocative in our lyric; we just want to be honest. We want to speak to the reality of where people are in the hopes that God will meet them there and then take them forward. The point of writing these songs, yes, is for Sunday; but it’s really so people can take worship outside of Sunday into their everyday.”
Get in Touch