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Turning Up the Heat Under Skillet
of BrioMag.com

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If you’re gonna give anything to Jesus, make sure it’s everything you have." This is the message the members of Skillet want to get to the masses. "We’re about promoting radical Christianity," founding member John Cooper says. "We present the gospel in all our shows, but the passionate message of giving everything you have for Jesus is the heart of what we do as a band."

Skillet has shown this dedication in part by staging two tours without rock music and focusing instead on worship. This Memphis, Tenn., based rock band has had an impressive six No. 1 rock radio singles, more than 200 concerts a year and multiple Gospel Music Association Dove Award nominations in the past five years.

Band members John Cooper, Korey Cooper, Ben Kasica and Lori Peters are currently promoting their latest album, Alien Youth. Brio recently snagged them for a quick interview. Instead of focusing on their many accomplishments as a band, we got right to the juicy stuff and talked about dating!

It was a jackpot of a conversation topic, because John, lead vocalist and bass player, and Korey, keyboardist and backing vocalist, have been married for nearly five years.

Brio: What are your thoughts on dating?

Korey: My conviction was to not date. For me, I knew that there’s a time to be single and there’s a time to be married. If you are called to be married, you should make the most of the time that you’re single. I knew as a teenager that I wasn’t going to get married anytime soon. I devoted that time to the Lord. I knew He would bring my husband along when the time was right.

The Scripture that God always spoke to me as I grew up was, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). In every area of my life — whether it be my husband, my career or playing in this band — I try to delight myself in the Lord.

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Brio: How did you defend to your friends your convictions about waiting to date?

Korey: My friends who weren’t Christians didn’t really care, but my Christian friends all dated and thought I was weird. To my face they would say things like, "You’re keeping yourself pure, and you’re really going to have an amazing husband." But I found out later that they were also talking about how weird I was and that I was never going to get married.

John: That’s always the case, though, when you do something radical for Christ. People will say, "Oh, cool!" But Christian friends who don’t understand will freak out.

Korey: Whenever nonChristians would ask me about choosing not to date, I would say, "I want to keep myself pure for my husband, and I don’t want to have emotional scars." They thought it was really cool and wished they could do that. I didn’t get much persecution. Most people were pretty supportive to my face, even if they thought I was weird behind my back.

Now, what can I say? The proof is in the pudding!

John: It’s worth waiting for!

Brio: Once you guys did get together, how did you maintain purity in your relationship?

Korey: I was in my senior year of college, and I felt it was okay to start dating. I prayed that I would know when I met "the one" so that I wouldn’t have to mess around with dating.

I went to our old guitar player’s wedding, and I saw John there. I’d met John before. He sang in the wedding, and it was like a slow-motion movie, literally. Then I felt like somebody hit me with a ton of bricks, and I knew God spoke to me that I was going to marry him. That was weird, too. When I was younger, I had guy friends tell me that God told them that they were going to marry me — it was creepy-weird — so I decided I wasn’t going to tell anybody about God’s revelation to me about John.

As far as maintaining purity, it was fairly easy for us because he was in Memphis and I was in Wisconsin. We barely saw each other. About a month after our friend’s wedding, we started talking on the phone. He was in a discipleship program at the time and as part of the program he wasn’t allowed to date. So for nine months after I felt God speak to me, we talked on the phone, never saw each other and weren’t allowed to date. Then the following May when we could officially date each other, he came up to where I was for about a week, and then he was back in Memphis.

John: In some ways, I thought it was harder because we never saw each other, and it’s hard not to be overly emotional when you do see each other. I wish it had been promoted to me growing up to keep myself pure. I knew that in terms of sex, but not everything else.

Korey: And trusting God. You have to trust that God’s big enough to have chosen a husband for you. Together you’ll be much more effective for His kingdom than you were separately. If you can trust that God’s big enough to bring you together and to keep you both pure, He’s gonna meet that faith.

Brio: Do you have any final thoughts to share with Brio readers?

John: Before Korey and I got married, we went to marriage counselors, and I learned so much about the way women think. A major thing for me when we got married was just understanding the way that God made me and the way He made Korey.

Korey: To me, the foundational bottom line is this: God is sovereign, and you can trust Him with every little detail of your life. I think that’s where a lot of girls give up because they think, "Well, what if my husband messed up?" Your mind can’t fathom the wisdom and sovereignty of God. If you lay down your life and trust Him, He’s going to do amazing things in your life.

Copyright 2001 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Photos courtesy of Ardent Records.