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John Cooper: Kids Equipped for Not-so-Christian Places

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 26, 2022 2:02 am

John Cooper: Kids Equipped for Not-so-Christian Places

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 26, 2022 2:02 am

How do we equip our kids so God thrives in them and spills over to others? On FamilyLife Today, Dave & Ann Wilson host Skillet's John and Korey Cooper, who chat about losing fear and steering kids to God.

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We always told our kids, ever since they were tiny, that we don't have any aspirations for them outside of them serving Christ, and whatever that looks like, loving the Word of God, adhering to the Word of God, loving the law of God. And if God calls them to do music, that's fine. If God calls them to do something else, that's fine, even when it comes to higher education and things. So we've always been very clear with our kids.

We don't really care what you do as long as you honor God. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at or on our Family Life app.

This is Family Life Today. All right, so I've been walking around the house playing some music. You recognize that?

No, but did it hurt your feelings when I came out? Yeah, that's an acoustic version of a heavy metal sound. I was reading my Bible and that keeps going on and on. I'm like, what is happening right now?

Why are you playing that? Well, you know, because it's my new band, Skillet, and you fell in love with it after you listened to it. It's good.

Yeah, and we've got the frontman and his wife, John and Corey Cooper, who are in the studio at Family Life Today. Welcome to Family Life Today. You've never been here, have you? Never been here. Excited to be here, right, baby?

Totally. Yeah, you guys are on tour. They're from the band Skillet. I'm sure many of our listeners know you, multi-platinum.

I did not know this when I'm studying about your life. The most downloads of any song? Monster, is that true? Not the most, but for a rock song, it's certainly at the top of the list. I like how you're being humble, not the most in world history. No, no, but for a rock song, it's very high up the charts. So I always tell people, Skillet is the biggest selling band that you've never heard of. When I see the numbers, I'm like, how have we sold that? We're not that big. People don't know who I am. But John, you have two Grammys. That's kind of big.

Well, actually, two Grammy nominations. Way to go, Annie. She just brought us something. No, you're good. You're good.

We always lose. I think that's pretty remarkable news. Thanks for reminding us. I feel triggered again.

Wow, that didn't take long. We're here for therapy. I thought you were the nice people. I'm going to write a book on this.

The day I was triggered at family life. That's what we're here to do. And Corey, you're in the band. I am in the band. Yes, yes. I play guitar, keyboards and basically whatever is needed.

You know what I'm saying? Programming. You can call yourself a help meet to the rock and roll. I'm the help meet to Skillet's help meet.

I don't think most wives could actually be doing what you're doing, though. You must be an incredible musician. And you guys have been married how many years?

25 years. She is an incredible musician. She plays keyboards and guitar live. And for anybody that knows Skillet's music, they probably have noticed that it is sort of a mashup of really hard music, but it's also melodic.

It has a softness to it on the production. It does? Yeah. Well, some people will notice that. Maybe not everybody. For hard rock it does.

You'll like refuge. That might be all. Well, for hard rock it does. You would agree though, right?

Yes. Sometimes we're considered a metal band, but we're very melodic for a metal band. And we have a lot of strings and stuff. And so Corey, I always say, Corey brings that to the table. I'm the metal side.

That's cool. She's the softer alternative side. I call it the happy side. She brings the emotion to the music. I bring the metal to the music. And we cook up something.

You see how I did that? We cook it up in a skillet. So I'm like the under the garlic. You're like the egg.

You're not garlic. Well, Annie, you know, when we were prepping for our interview with you, you know, I put on your music and I'm grabbing my guitar and I'm learning your stuff. And I tend to play it loud. And, I mean, I'm doing this for a half hour.

I told John, I'm trying to work on and read all these books and prepare. She's like, can you turn that down? Can you please turn that down? Can you play another song? I'm like, no, I got to learn Monster. I got to learn this song, you know. We didn't get to do it.

You never know. But man, I love, I mean, what you do. And it's just what you said.

It's got this hard edge metal, but there's this, even the cello and the strings. I actually played upright bass in the symphony orchestra in high school. So I have an appreciation for that.

And you blend that, which is so rare. Well, thank you. That's so cool that you played upright bass.

What a great instrument. He's cool. You guys don't even know how cool he is. I think that I have some idea now. I'm just glad my wife still thinks that after 40 years. The fact that he likes skillet gave me an idea of how cool he just might be. That's how I judge all humans, you know what I mean? The band that almost won two Grammys, you know.

The band that almost had the biggest song in the world. Way to go, Ed. No, I love it. It's great.

It's great. You're not just married. You got kids. How old are your kids? Tell us a little bit.

We do. We have two kids, daughters 19 and my son 16. So, you know, they grew up on the road. We were never going to have kids on the road. We were going to do skillet. And then when we got older, more mature, we were going to have a family and settle down and probably be youth leaders.

That was kind of the plan, roughly. And then God started speaking to us about, you know, kids on the road. And John started having dreams about us having a baby and I was like, oh no, I'm not doing that on the road. And then, you know, God just started to speak to so many people, not even me.

It was other people saying, you know, I just had a dream last night that you had a baby. I'm like, oh man, like it's everywhere, everywhere we went to the point where I'm like, I don't really even need to pray about this. This is so clearly the Lord, you know. So thus my daughter was born. Three years later, we have my son and, you know, they just love the Lord. And they've grown up on the road with crazy rock bands and crazy rock tours and Christian tours, you know.

It could be Mercy Me or it could be God's Mac or, you know, who knows. Metallica. And they're just great.

They're great people. Yeah, sometimes I tell people we're having the, they're like, what did you guys do this weekend? It was a summer festival. It was a beer and Bible weekend. Friday night with casting crowns, Saturday night with Metallica. You know, it's like the crowds are so very different.

It could be very starkly Christian on the Friday and then a metal crowd on the Saturday. And our kids had a good time because they got to grow up around all kinds of different people. And I think that was really important because they were learning how I think they would watch us be friends with people who don't love Christ. Friends with people who might actually might want to rip the pages out of our Bible if they had a chance. People that are like, I'm not really into that, but they saw us befriend people who don't agree with us on things.

And that's a wonderful thing. That's the way we have to share the gospel with people that are so absolutely needy. And I'll tell you one quick story and then I'll shut up and you can ask me questions or whatever.

But like for instance, I remember my daughter was about six. We were going on tour of the band, secular tour, and one of the bands on the tour, the singer's brother had killed himself about seven days prior to the tour. So as the tour was starting, it was known, hey, this has just happened.

People are suffering, not believers, not religious at all. And we were praying for him at night. But, you know, as an adult, I don't know what to say to him except for, hey, I'm really sorry and I don't know him. But I don't know what to say.

It's the greatness of watching kids though, you know, because they're so disarming. So my little six-year-old daughter came up to him. She never met him before. And she said, hi, I'm Alex. She said, I want you to know we pray for you every single night. We pray that Jesus is healing your family, healing your heart. And I was sitting there thinking, this is the way you do evangelism.

My daughter's teaching me because you get older and you start getting like, well, I don't want to this. But it's just the purity of, hey, I'm praying for you. Every night we pray for you.

And God can do a healing work in your life. And that was really beautiful. So it's been a great experience with the kids on the road. And I don't know if they know how cool we are, but that's okay. I wish the audience could see you guys because you're beautiful people. Oh, thank you. And you're tatted up.

I love that Cory has this gorgeous purple hair. If anybody has a cool parent, it's you guys are the coolest. Yes. Oh, that's nice. You talked about having kids on the road. What about marriage? You know, how does that work in your life?

Has that been easy, hard, a struggle, good, highs, lows? I'll let Cory answer because you always get the real answer when the wife answers. I mean, I think it's all of the above.

No, it's not. It's awesome. I mean, in general with us, 95% of the time we're on the same page. So that has made things easy, which is funny because they're very different personalities. Like when we first started dating, all of our friends were like, what are you guys doing? Because he's kind of crazy and you're so quiet and deep thinker and he's just wild and whatever.

But I kind of wanted someone who's a little bit crazy and funny because I'm just so serious. How old were you guys when you started dating? I was 23. Yeah, we got married. You were 24 and I was 21.

So we were probably 23 and 20. And where was your faith? Where were you spiritually? We both got born again. We were around five years old.

So I was a PK, but I wasn't a wild one as most of my PK friends were. We were both absolutely sold out for Christ. So that wasn't something that happened later. And I think that that's how we connected based on one thing and one thing alone. And that was that we both wanted to live for Jesus and not just live for Jesus. We wanted to make a difference in the world for Christ. And so all the other differences, our friends were like, what?

We were like, yeah, but that's all that matters. Living for Christ. Make a difference in your generation for the kingdom.

Make his name more famous. And the fact that you're a really deep thinker and pensive and quiet and I'm insane and not a deep thinker and no filter. It was like, we'll work on that later. We were definitely very much united in our passion for the Lord.

Like, this is everything. If I don't get married, that's fine. If I do get married, that's fine. Whatever will serve his kingdom better in my lifetime, that was it. And so if it is better joining me with someone and we can be more effective for the kingdom that way, then let's do that, too.

So, you know, that was kind of like sold out basically. That's very kind of passion and purity. You were very influenced by that, too. What's her name? Elizabeth Elliott. Thank you, Elizabeth Elliott. We've had her on here years ago before we were the hosts. Wonderful.

A great friend of family life. So you guys pretty much have won a Grammy, like Elizabeth Elliott. That's exactly what we've done. As I listen to you, I think, man, it's so cool. Our story's so similar. We wanted to get married and we wanted to glorify God and reach everyone we could with the gospel.

Together. Yeah, and expand God's kingdom, whatever that could look like. And so it's really cool to see, like, God took you into your gifts of using music to reach people for him. And I don't know if we have any gifts, but we're like, whatever we have, God, we're giving it to you. They're all yours.

You know, here I am, send me. Which just sounds like your story. Did your dad, your pastor dad, like right away say, John's the guy, I'm excited about this? Or was there a little pushback?

Because her dad barred me from the house based on my reputation. I'm not kidding. Wow. And he wasn't a pastor, but he knew this Dave Wilson guy is a wild man. I don't want him near my daughter. What about you? My dad's, you know, he didn't say much. He just prays. He's like, okay, if this is where God's leading her, you know, we'll see. And John met with him and said, I'm into your daughter.

I kind of want to date her. And he was like, okay, we'll see. So he never really said much to me. And I think he, you know, talked to John's pastor because John was from Memphis.

I was from Kenosha, Wisconsin. So called his pastor just to make sure, is this guy okay? Because he seems a little crazy. And they were like, he's great.

So that was fairly seamless. He was always awesome to me. Always from day one, he was just great. But that's just Tim. You know, Tim's just, he's a Holy Spirit man, you know?

So he's like, we're going to pray and the Spirit's going to lead and we trust. And he never, he never gets worked up about anything. Otherwise he would have been worked up about me, I'm sure.

Your music's pretty intense. He never had any push back or the road. Of course, you didn't know probably then that you'd end up here on the road and stuff.

Sure. He just really never sweated those things. Tim never seemed to have any issues with the whole, like, that music is too loud or too this. He just was like, when I, when I say I'm kind of, I'm not joking. When I say he's like a Holy Spirit man, he's just like that kind of guy. Like God can move through this. He's just always full of faith. He's one of those guys that's always optimistic, always full of faith. Always kind of, maybe he didn't quite understand the music, but he knew that God was in it.

I think that's what I'm trying to say. It might not be his thing, but he's like, God's in this. God can work through a donkey. God can work through John.

Which is good, by the way. What great advice for parents as we are listening to you guys when our kids come to us with this crazy, wild plan, you know, that we're praying. That we're asking God, like, what do you think of this, Lord, instead of this is what I think.

We're asking him first. I would say that was a huge strength of my parents. They both were like, all right, my kids are in God's hands. So they prayed for us all the time. They led by example more than they led by giving counsel and advice. Not that they didn't, but it was kind of like, all right, you have a path and I want to put you in a position where you can hear God's voice for yourself. And read the word and find him and then have the faith to just do the crazy stuff if that's what God's called you to do.

If God calls you to face a giant, you have faith to face that giant. And so they were kind of much more hands off as far as counsel, but they were definitely prayerful and in faith. Like, if this is where God is leading them, we will pray for them and watch what God does with their lives. Have you found that you're able to do the same with your kids?

Are you, like, seeing that? I mean, you've got a 19-year-old and a 16-year-old, they're starting to get ready to leave. What's that like as a parent for you guys? You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with John and Corey Cooper of the band Skillet on Family Life Today. We'll hear their response in just a minute. But first, I want to let you know about a special group of friends who help make conversations like today's possible. They're called Family Life Partners. Partners are a generous community of people who believe in our mission and give financially every month. And thanks to some of those heroes, really, right now, if you sign up to give monthly, you not only receive all the benefits of our partner program, but your donation will also be doubled for a year up to $300,000.

So what's that mean? It means if you give $25 a month, the impact is actually $50 a month. And if you give $50, it becomes $100.

You get the idea, right? And on top of that, when you give this month, as our thanks to you, we'll send you a bundle of resources, including two books. One called A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas. And two, Not Part of the Plan by Kristin Clark and Bethany Beal, who were guests earlier this week. So become a monthly partner, have your gift doubled for a year, and get a bundle of books.

It's a win-win-win. You can give today at or by calling 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word TODAY. All right, now back to Dave and Anne with Jon and Corey Cooper and what it's like having sons who are getting ready to leave home. I mean, we talked about this, but we just naturally both agreed on this, that we would never push our kids into something because it's what we wanted them to do. And when we always told our kids, ever since they were tiny, that we don't have any aspirations for them outside of them serving Christ.

And whatever that looks like, loving the Word of God, adhering to the Word of God, loving the law of God. And if God calls them to do music, that's fine. If God calls them to do something else, that's fine, even when it comes to higher education and things. And the reason I say that is because there was an incredible, an immense amount of pressure when I was growing up upon all of these aspirations that you're meant to do. Whether it's higher education and this, that, and the other. And I'm not even saying I'm against higher education, except that I'm not smart enough to have been higher educated. But there was this feeling of, if you don't go to college, then your life is forfeit.

If you don't get a job making a lot of money, then your life is forfeit. I had this feeling sometimes in the church that I grew up in, to be frank. Sometimes I thought, I think some of these church leaders would rather me, wear a suit and make money than to actually live for Christ.

And I found that disgusting. I found that to, that kind of raised up the John the Baptist spirit in me, if there is such a thing. That sort of feeling of like, that is absolutely not what Christ has saved us from. He didn't save us from a dressing code situation. He saved us from sin and death. And so I very much rebelled against that because it smelled like Pharisee to me.

And I didn't dig that. And so we've always been very clear with our kids. We don't really care what you do, as long as you honor God.

And for both of my kids, that is going to mean higher education because they're both really, really smart. But that was our thing, right? So we just made it an issue when we were, when they were young, we would worship with the kids. We would teach them how to pray when they didn't, well, I don't really know what.

Well, then we'll show you how to pray. We would teach them and we would say, well, go to the Bible for answers and this, that and the other. And so at this point, by the time they were 12, 13 years old, they were very, they would definitely sense the leading of the spirit. And my daughter has always been just like wise beyond her years sort of thing, you know?

Yeah, I mean, I think as a human being, right? You don't reach a certain place where suddenly I can understand God because I'm smart enough or I'm mature enough, right? He relates to you wherever you're at.

He meets you where you're at, to where you can have understanding of Him. For us, it was like, all right, you have God forming people together in the womb. You have John the Baptist, who's filled with the Spirit in the womb. You have God relating to babies and children. And so for us, it's like, all right, as soon as my kids are here, we're going to be facilitating them being around God and His presence and His Word.

And all that I can feed into them while I have them with me, we're going to. So yes, we would have worship times with them two, three years old. We're like, here we are. And for whatever their understanding was, even when you go to church, and it's like our church doesn't have a separate little kids' church. So they're just there in worship with us, which can be boring for kids because they're like, I don't really get what's happening, whatever.

A lot of families near us, the kids would be playing with toys or whatever. We're not going to do that because I want to teach my kids to be reverent in the presence of God. This is His presence, and He's holy. And then John would explain, while the music's happening, he would explain a concept that they could understand, like the love of God. Within this song, they can understand that. It's like how you love your Care Bears or how you love your toys.

They're precious to you. That's how God loves you, or whatever. So that they can understand and so that they can respond in their understanding to who God is and His character. And so we just would feed them with that all the time, praying with them at night, pointing out, it's kind of your job as a parent. God is going to be all over your kids, and it's your job as a parent to kind of point those moments out. So my kids on the road would be super encouraging to people and really bless someone. I would say to them, hey, that's God using you.

That's actually God using you. Oh, wow, that's so cool, Mom. Pointing out who they are, their identities. As a father, as a mother, you can see what their strengths are. Pointing those things out, strengthening them, and strengthening them and their weaknesses.

So that's kind of been our goal all along, is pointing them to God, because He actually loves them more than we do. I think parents can be fearful of, like, I'm going to mess up. Maybe I haven't done enough. Maybe I've done too much. Blah, blah, blah, blah. I'm like, all right, what I don't want leading me in my parenting is fear. So if that's at the heart of something, I just want that out. I want faith to lead me. I know that God cares for them more than I do.

And He's going to complete the work He started in them. I just have to kind of keep steering them in the right direction. You know, it's interesting, as I listened to you for the last few minutes, I thought, man, we just had a parenting clinic. Yeah, we did. No, seriously, I'm listening to it like, if I'm a parent listening today, rewind and listen to the last three or four minutes, because you just walked Christian parents through a vision of what our call is as Mom and Dad to raise sons and daughters who are warriors for Christ in the kingdom.

I mean, that's what I just heard. And part of me thinks, well, you had this vision because you're on a bus and you're touring together that it's our role. Well, parents that aren't on a bus touring together, it's still your role. It's not the Christian school. It's not the church. Although those are awesome and wonderful and they help, but we are called as Mom and Dad to raise warriors for the kingdom, and it's on us to even take a worship song and say, hey, let me help you understand this if you're five.

If you're 15, it may be different. You just roll out a beautiful picture in my mind of the vision for Christian parenting. Way to go. That's beautiful. I was always passionate about teaching my kids what the songs mean, as you just said, when I was growing up.

And this isn't, I'm not dissing on anything. My mom did all of this for me. My mom was awesome and taught me about the Bible and stuff. But I do remember singing these hymns, which I love now. I absolutely love those hymns now. But I remember as a kid thinking, I just don't know what this means.

Yeah. Plunged into victory. What are we, plunging? I don't know what, you know, and so I love that song. But as a kid, I was like, plunge me to victory. So now, you know, I've always made, even when my kids were two and three, I would say, when we sing this lyric, this is what it means. So that your kids say, oh, and then I say, so now what I want you to do, I want you to say to Jesus, thank you for, and then what the song means, thank you that you gave me victory through Jesus, through the cross, you know, things like that. Really is very much a Puritan model, actually.

I'm a big fan of the, we're a big fan of the Puritans. And I think it's a great encouragement, as you just said, I'll just say this real quick, for Christian parents, the Puritan model was, that's what you do. Learn the Bible from the time you're in diapers. And that's the job of the parents. It's not the job of the school, the Sunday school, it's not the job of the church, it's the parents' job. So let's do our jobs and let's raise up this generation, man.

Come on, now. That's Dave and Anne Wilson with Jon and Corey Cooper from the band Skillet on Family Life Today. Jon's book is called Awake and Alive to Truth, Finding Truth in the Chaos of a Relativistic World. You can get it at or by calling 1-800-358-6329.

That's 1-800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. If you know anyone who needs to hear today's conversation, you can share it from wherever you get your podcasts. And while you're there, it'd really help us out if you rate and review us. All of us are tempted daily to be quiet or deny or compromise our faith because the world today is comfortable with a watered-down Jesus. Well, tomorrow Dave and Anne Wilson are gonna be talking again with Jon and Corey Cooper about the temptation to be silent when we know God wants us to speak up for Him. That's tomorrow. We hope you can join us. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-11 13:01:18 / 2023-01-11 13:13:20 / 12

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