Skillet’s John Cooper is known as the hard-rocking frontman who isn’t afraid to talk about Jesus. But a decade ago, he faced a crossroads in his career where he was promised more fame if he would stop talking so much about Christ.
That moment, he told Focus on the Family’s broadcast in an episode released Monday, took place around 10 years ago when Skillet was rising on the rock charts.
Cooper also discusses the moment in his new book, Awake and Alive to Truth.
The discussion involved Cooper, an agent, a promoter and another music businessman who was a “mover and shaker,” Cooper says in his book.
“After a gig, we were on tour with some mainstream acts – very popular acts. We were opening,” Cooper told Focus on the Family. “And we were just beginning to kind of hit a little bit [in popularity]. This guy, in his defense, he was being very nice. … And he pulled me aside, and he said, ‘John, I want to tell you this, because no one else is gonna tell you. You guys, I believe, could be the biggest band in the world. … You guys have the look, you’ve got the sound, you’ve got girls in your band … And you guys also sing about very spiritual things.’… And he’s saying, people really want spiritual music, and you’ve already got it, you’ve been doing it.”
The conversation then turned to Cooper’s faith. Skillet, a rock band with multiple crossover hits, is composed of Christians.
“And he said, ‘So it’s your time. But you have got to disassociate from Christianity. You’ve got to stop talking about Jesus so much. … Don’t do Christian interviews, don’t do Christian music festivals. If people ask you what your songs are about, I’m not telling you to lie. Just don’t offer up the information about Jesus.’
“And then he said something else. And this is what got me, and this is what I think is interesting. He said, ‘But John, think about the good you could do for your faith. If you got rich and famous, think about what you could do for Jesus, if you stop talking about Jesus.”
Cooper told Focus on the Family it was a “turning point in my career.”
“I went to the bus. I told my wife about the conversation. We prayed about it. And it was … almost instantaneous. I know that that is not the Lord.
“He was trying … to get me to be quiet, and it had the opposite effect.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.