It's 7:30am Friday morning, just 12 hours ago, Shaun Groves was in Tulsa, finishing a concert. This morning he was a guest on Tyler Christian Radio station KVNE.
In 2001 Groves burst onto the contemporary Christian music scene. Five Dove award nominations would followed his first album, Invitation to Eavesdrop. Now he is about to release his third record.
"I credit people here in Tyler," Shaun told the KVNE audience Friday Morning. "If there is anything good in me its because God used people here."
Shaun was raised in Tyler. The Robert E. Lee grad now lives closer to the music scene near Nashville, but East Texas is never far from his thoughts.
"People in Tyler are not that much different than anywhere else in the U.S.," says Shaun, "but that is my point of reference when I sit down to write a song. I think about that person I knew in high school, that person I worked for at Chik-Fil-A, you know. That's who I know, that's such a huge part of who I am, I can't get Texas out of my veins."
That's just one of the reasons Groves came to Tyler's Friendly Baptist Church to kick off the release of his new album, White Flag. As natural as he looks on the stage, Groves says its not always been his dream.
"I had no epiphany of oh I'm supposed to be on a stage one day," says Shaun. "You know it was just, I think I'm supposed to write songs, so I did that. Maybe I should move to Nashville and I did that. I think I should take this job and I did that. One small choice after another and I end up on a stage."
Another choice that Groves has made is to keep his music grounded in the Bible. The songs on this new album are based on the Beatitudes in Jesus Sermon on the Mount. The idea came from a youth Bible study he leads back in his home church, along with his belief God wants much more from believers than we sometimes taught.
"I mean this is Jesus saying, all right if you want to know what it means to be a Christian, here it is. This is what it means, forget about what your pastor told you, forget about what your culture told you, forget about the bumper stickers and the t-shirt version of your faith. This is what matters to God about following Jesus," says Shaun. "I wanted to make everybody ask the same questions I am asking now. How on earth do I get back to a Sermon on the Mount Christianity and away from a club Christianity that I've always had."
While Groves believes he this is where God wants him today. He also believes that all aspects of his life is a ministry. That's why he wants to be connected more with people than success. And is willing to leave the stage behind, if he ever loses that perspective in his life.
"So I'm home 4-5 days a week. I only play on the weekends. I want my wife to still like me. I want my kids to know what I still look like. And I want to have a church, I wanna be there on Sunday mornings helping out with the two year olds. I want to be there on Tuesday night teaching the Bible study. I want to get to know my next door neighbor. I want to know the people in the drive thru's... I want to be connected to people."
Clint Yeatts, KLTV 7 News. firstname.lastname@example.org