But for all the success, accolades and excitement, there are still some folks scratching their heads, wondering what it is about this unlikely band of ordinary Joes and Jills that makes them so extraordinary. Why is what they’re selling so irresistible?  

They certainly don’t look the part. And let’s just be upfront about it. These seven people certainly aren’t fashion magazine material. Better still, they wouldn’t want to be. Megan Garrett and Melodee DeVevo personify “the girl next door.” Warm, conversational women who care more about their relationships than the latest trend in clothing or the newest fad diet, they are average-sized women who, like most of us, struggle to see themselves as God sees them and not as society expects them to be.

“From a girl’s perspective,” Garrett says, “it’s intimidating to see all these perfectly beautiful singers, even in Christian music. I’m close to six feet tall. I’ve never been a small person. Melodee and I try to look nice when we go on stage, but at the same time we don’t get stressed trying to do the heels and the bling-bling everywhere. Magazines and TV make you feel so inadequate, so it’s encouraging when young girls and women come up to me saying, ‘It’s really encouraging to me to see a real-size person on stage for once.’ I think that’s one of the reasons I am who I am … for this season we’re in.”

The guys in the band, meanwhile, don’t have chiseled faces or six-pack abs, and aren’t too concerned with whether their clothes match or not.

“Honestly,” says drummer Andy Williams, sporting a shaved noggin, “what you see is what you get with us. We’re not the band that gets off the bus looking like rock stars. We’re usually in our sleep pants and t-shirts and flip-flops, with our hair – well, everyone’s hair but mine – all over the place, so being cool is pretty much out of the question.”

“There’s nothing glamorous about a slightly overweight, 35-year-old father of three,” says Mark Hall of himself. “But we certainly don’t want to seem like bitter ugly people. We’re just who we are when we show up. We’ve had stylists for photo shoots, someone to help us pick out a shirt every once in awhile, but that’s just because there are a lot of guys in the band, and we don’t know how to dress.”

Unassuming, self-deprecating and the first to poke fun at themselves, Casting Crowns doesn’t give a whole lot of thought to what constitutes “coolness.” They’re too preoccupied with being real and following God. Without that, there would be no music and no ministry.

“When they wake up and when they go to bed, give or take a few grouchy moments, everybody here is basically, ‘This is who I am, and I’m not going to pretend,’” says Mark’s wife (and the road manager) Melanie. “The people you see on the stage are the same people I see on the bus every day.”

After all, they agree, this whole music adventure is not about being seen. It’s more about being heard. “Most people who go to a Casting Crowns concert hardly even open their eyes anyway,” violinist Melodee DeVevo says with a grin. “I mean, we could have choreographed movements that would be wasted on the audience because it wouldn’t matter. Our fans are not in the room because somebody looks cool, or because they want to be like that person; it’s because of the songs. It really is their worship moment.”

With last month’s release of sophomore project, "Lifesong," there’s a whole host of record label people eager to prove that the success of Casting Crowns’ debut was no fluke. That all the accolades (and all the album sales) of the past two years were only the beginning of even bigger things to come. That there’s a whole lot more extraordinary stuff where that came from.