Interracial relationships is the table topic on this Dinner Conversations episode. Musical artists Seth & Nirva, a bi-racial married duo, and R&B super-seller Montell Jordan, now a pastor at a multi-racial church in Atlanta, chime in on the true color of love. Don’t miss a single episode of Dinner Conversations — subscribe below!


Mark: Dinner Conversations is brought to you by Food for the Hungry, a relief and development organization serving those in need around the globe for more than 40 years.

Andrew: Help our friends at Food for the Hungry save thousands of refugee lives today by considering a generous gift.

Mark: A gift that will be matched 22 times.

Andrew: It’s incredible. Visit to give now.

Mark: Today’s guests are Seth & Nirva, who I’d never heard of before, and I’m so glad I met them. They’re an interracial couple. He is white. She’s African-American. And now, he got his start in gospel music.

Andrew: That’s right.

Mark: In an African American band.

Andrew: Yeah, well, like with Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin.

Mark: Right, and she being African American, got her start with some white people.

Andrew: Yeah, with TobyMac.

Mark: And that’s how they met, and then they fell in love and they got a beautiful, beautiful story.

Andrew: Yeah, they sure do. A wonderful musical duo, a wonderful marriage and we’re here to talk about it and discover new things, learn new things and understand new things.

Mark: And there’s one seat left at the table and it’s yours. Let’s join the conversation.

Mark: How did you meet?

Nirva: You know.

Seth: There’s a–

Nirva: No, no, I was sad because of the event.

Seth: Shopping for me–

Nirva: Go ahead, you tell.

Seth: Well, we have a discrepancy in the story, but I’ll go ahead and give you the true story.

Andrew: Okay.

Seth: We actually met at a Billy Graham Crusade, backstage. Quick, hi, my name is, kind of thing. She doesn’t remember meeting me there.

Nirva: I don’t.

Seth: So I made a big impression. She always says she watched the whole show.

Nirva: I did, I promise.

Seth: Which makes it worse ‘cause I was the only white guy on stage, so if she was gonna remember it would seem like–

Mark: At the Billy Graham Crusade?

Nirva: Yeah, it was, Kirk Franklin.

Seth: With Kirk Franklin. I was with Kirk Franklin.

Mark: Oh, okay.

Seth: And so she watched our set and everything, nothing. We met again in Orlando.

Nirva: He’s setting the tone.

Seth: Later on, like a year later. And that time we actually had a full on conversation. She just don’t remember that time.

Mark: She doesn’t remember that either?

Andrew: Wow, two times?

Seth: Two times.

Nirva: I remember the day, I remember the concert.

Mark: You don’t remember meeting him?

Nirva: I don’t.

Mark: Or the conversation?

Nirva: I don’t, it’s crazy.

Mark: When did he come into your peripheral?

Nirva: When a mutual friend hired us to do background, he was releasing his CD, and then I remembered our conversations. We had these really good, fun conversations, and I do remember meeting you that day.

Seth: Peripheral is the right word ’cause I was still very distant.

Andrew: Were you interested from the get go?

Seth: From the second, it was love at second sight. So the second time, when she doesn’t remember me was when I was like, you know, I had a pep in my step walking to her. I saw her–

Nirva: Was that Orlando?

Seth: Do her thing with Toby and I was like, man, this girl is amazing. And then once we got to know each other a little bit and became friends, I was like, man, she is just… Yeah.

Andrew: But it was total friends at first, right?

Nirva: It was complete friendship.

Seth: Too much so.

Nirva: Good friendship.

Mark: What did you say? Too what?

Andrew: Too much so.

Seth: I always say she planted me firmly, cemented me in the friend zone.

Mark: Okay, how’d you jump out of that?

Seth: I don’t know, man. I was like a zombie comin’ out the ground ’cause there was no way I shoulda been resuscitated and made alive. But, I think, how did I come out of it?

Nirva: Through friendship.

Andrew: Wow. So you kept shutting him down.

Nirva: Well–

Seth: No, it was, don’t, don’t, don’t sugar coat it.

Nirva: It was such a good friendship that when he told me he liked me, I said, “No, the friendship’s so awesome. I don’t wanna tamper with, I don’t wanna—”

Mark: Were you attracted to him?

Seth: No.

Nirva: I really adored the friendship. I really mean that. The friendship was just so awesome and so–

Mark: Is that still goin’ on?

Nirva: It’s still goin’ on.

Mark: I mean, yeah, ’cause sometimes–

Nirva: Yeah.

Seth: Yeah.

Nirva: I mean, it’s the foundation.

Andrew: Yeah!

Mark: Yeah, that’s a good foundation.

Nirva: So, it was great. So I didn’t want that to–

Mark: Had you ever dated a white man before?

Nirva: That’s a great question. You know, I had… Just once or twice.

Seth: Had some primers.

Mark: Had you dated an African American woman before?

Nirva: That’s a good question.

Seth: I had not.

Mark: Was that a big thing for your family?

Seth: Oh yeah.

Mark: What happened?

Andrew: ‘Cause you’re from Florida–

Nirva: Yep.

Andrew: Pretty rural–

Seth: Yeah, in a rural part. You ever been in those lakes where you swim one place and it’s hot, and then you swim five feet to the left and it’s freezing cold?

Mark: Yeah.

Seth: That’s how culture is in Florida. So I was in one of those pockets that was intensely Southern. And my family, great family, nothing bad, but I knew when I first called home and told them, I anticipated it would be an issue, so I really tried to work up the courage–

Andrew: Had you talked about y’all’s relationship yet to that point, or not introduced them to the idea yet?

Seth: No, well I told my mom.

Andrew: Okay.

Seth: ‘Cause my mom, she was always… I grew up in a Christian home, my parents love the Lord, and my mom was from New York and she always had a heart for inner city ministry, so we did Sunday school and all this kind of stuff. She really set me up for it. I played basketball, I loved gospel, black gospel music, and did ministry in the inner city and all that stuff, so I told her first. I gave her a few weeks, and I was like, “Hey, can you help me maybe break the news to dad and figure this out?” But eventually I just came out and I felt like this was worth me calling my dad and just talking to him about it. So I called him, and I don’t know if I should share the exact conversation, but he was kind and cordial and he understood, I don’t think he was excited. He definitely wasn’t excited to share with other family members, many of which cried when he did share it with them.

Andrew: Wow.

Seth: And some were like, “Well, we’ll never see you again, and this is it–

Mark: Really?

Seth: Yeah.

Andrew: I mean, how did that feel for… I’m sure y’all were communicating about this ’cause he’s confiding in you this process, is he?

Nirva: Yeah. How did it make me feel? It wasn’t exciting.

Andrew: Right.

Nirva: But at the same time, God was dealing with my heart too. Where am I in this situation? Don’t reciprocate, walk in love, don’t take on the burden or the pressure that he had this, so it was a challenge to me to stay pure and to stay–

Mark: Was your family okay with it?

Nirva: They were, but my dad was like, “Are you sure about this?” He was more protective and just made sure I knew what the future could possibly hold–

Andrew: Even for the both of y’all, maybe.

Nirva: For sure, for sure.

Mark: What has the future held?

Nirva: It’s been a journey. It’s been a good one, not awful, not without challenges, not–

Mark: What’s the biggest challenge of it?

Nirva: Oooh. In regards to interracial?

Mark: Yeah.

Nirva: You know, when we married, I don’t think it was as intense as it is now. I feel like in the recent years, things have gotten a lot more on the radar. But we walk into the Walmart, and I notice looks or double takes, and you’re checking in at the restaurant or the hotel, so is this, you know, they don’t assume that we’re married, and I get that, because–

Mark: Who gives you the most judgmental looks, white people or black people?

Nirva: I don’t know.

Andrew: That’s interesting ’cause I wonder, yeah, are some people looking at you, and then some people are looking at–

Nirva: It’s hard to tell and measure, how do you go about your week measuring that? So it’s hard. It just depends.

Andrew: And do you?

Nirva: I don’t. I can’t focus on that.

Andrew: No, you can’t live your life measuring it.

Nirva: It takes me down a spiral.

Mark: You have children?

Nirva: No children.

Seth: We don’t.

Andrew: But how does education come–

Mark: You’re gonna have pretty babies. I’m telling ya, if we would mix all the races, it’d be some pretty babies.

Nirva: That’s true, that’s true. What was your question?

Andrew: So, the burden of education, do you feel that burden or is it like, we’re not here to educate people. I mean, I think your union alone can be a generous education, an invitation.

Nirva: Yeah. I think being a Christian alone carries that education. And so now that this matter is an issue, a big issue, we hold the answers, so we do good to carry the answers where we go, if invited to. You know, the Word says be ready to give an answer for things, and so this is a question, how do we do life with these tensions of always sizing people up by the way we look and what culture we’re in? And so, Jesus has things to say about that, so I think I like the burden of education in that regard.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. In a broader picture.

Nirva: Yes.

Andrew: I mean, if you think about it, there was some preparation it seems like, even from the time, so you grew up loving gospel music–

Nirva: That’s it.

Mark: Southern gospel music!

Seth: Well, both, actually both, for some reason.

Mark: But he did love Southern–

Seth: I did, I did.

Mark: That is so unusual for people your age, isn’t it?

Seth: It is. You know what’s weird though? I didn’t like it until college. In two years in college, I went through that’s all I listened to.

Mark: How?

Seth: I don’t know. I grew up with my parents kinda watching… My grandparents always get together for family homecoming, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was on the entire time, my Grandad’s, “That’s singin’, boy.” He didn’t like my stuff, and he was like, “Now that’s singing!”

Andrew: That’s singing right there! This man can sing.

Seth: But when I got to college, I don’t know what it was, and those harmonies, and just the fun of it all, it just grabbed me, and so I really got into it for a while and yeah, still love it–

Andrew: And then you were, I mean, with Toby’s camp, a little more diverse.

Mark: Have you enjoyed that?

Nirva: I have enjoyed it. It was a blast. I stepped down a few months ago, but I tell you what, being apart of his team and traveling the world in that sense, it’s been something I never dreamed could have happened.

Mark: And at the same time, you were doing what?

Nirva: Gospel.

Andrew: Gospel.

Nirva: Isn’t that crazy?

Mark: What kind, Southern?

Nirva: We switched places! It’s like we switched musical culture!

Seth: No, but back to gospel, so I was hired out of college. I was a math major, and I was working on a demo with some friends. Now this is funny actually. I don’t know what… We didn’t know anything. We were from the middle of nowhere, didn’t know anybody, so our first demo we made was “The King Is Coming” and “These Are They,” but we sang it R&B over the actual track.

Nirva: That’s so fun.

Mark: I would love to hear that.

Seth: We were just singing, like, I don’t even know what was, the courtroom, no debate. I just remember trying to, how do I do this Bill Gaither talking thing, but with a run in it?

Mark: That is interesting!

Seth: (singing) The table is set for the great preparation. You know?

Andrew: Oh yeah, okay.

Seth: So we were doing these parts, and I just loved it, man. But somehow my demo, I ended up making another demo after that, the guy passed to Kirk Franklin, and I kind of quit, dropped out of school in my last year, and my parents made me promise I’d finish at some point, which I did. But I dropped out and went on the road with him. And that was an immediate life change. I never thought I would be doing that, and I was a huge fan–

Mark: And a completely different culture, right?

Seth: Yeah, for sure, for sure.

Mark: ‘Cause you went from your white world to a black–

Seth: I did. Now the only thing is I did, in the area I grew up in, it was, we did have whites and blacks. White, blacks, Spanish.

Mark: In your church?

Seth: Not in the church, but in my school.

Mark: Oh, okay.

Seth: So most of my friends were actually black. I played basketball–

Andrew: So you had gospel–

Seth: I was the only white dude on my basketball team at my school, so that wasn’t a shift for me in that sense–

Andrew: That probably didn’t make you feel real successful in basketball.

Seth: But it was good, it was good, it was easy transition.

Andrew: I mean, did y’all ever feel like, getting into that professional life, so you’re in this CCM world again, even though Toby has these diverse angles, you’re in this more gospel world, you ever feel fish kinda out of water, even though you love it and you know your, you feel like, it seems like both of you thrived in those professional circumstances. But there’s still behind the scenes, and there’s still audiences that, I mean, I don’t know. Did you feel that way?

Nirva: You know, if I just looked at what I saw, I did. But when you look at, okay, this is the body, this is the Kingdom, we are doing ministry and when you go from that place, it wasn’t so out of place. But then there were times I’m like, would try to count the number of African Americans in the crowd, it was just very few, and that’s like, in that regard, it was like, well, God knows what He’s doing, He knows His timing, and so–

Mark: I wonder why that… Why do you think that is? Do you think African Americans as a whole know who Toby Keith is? Do they like his music?

Andrew: They definitely probably know who Toby Keith is–

Mark: What’s his name? TobyMac, I mean TobyMac. Okay.

Nirva: This is awesome. I love it!

Mark: I mean, do they know who he is, and do they like his music?

Nirva: I think they do. I think his audience has grown, and when we started out, when I met him he had just completed his first solo album, so he was just starting out, just getting popular, but over the years, he’s definitely gotten more popular. He and Kirk Franklin did a tour together, and so those two worlds colliding I think brought more diversity, even more so, to our crowds–

Mark: What a great idea.

Seth: The interesting thing was Kirk and Toby always had a–

Nirva: Heart for that.

Seth: A specific heart for that. That’s why I got hired with Kirk, honestly, last minute they were looking for a token white guy, and I was like, I’ll play that role!

Andrew: Yes! I’d be like, me, me, me!

Seth: And then you know, with Toby, he was always trying to diversify his band, and that’s why they–

Mark: And you know, Bill Gaither tried that, has tried that too, through Larnelle Harris, Todd–

Andrew: In some of the first waves–

Mark: He is so… It’s so important to him to try to mix it up, you know? The Word, the body of Christ is.

Andrew: Yeah, is that not… Is diversity not a picture of God himself?

Seth: Yeah, man.

Nirva: Oooh, that’s good.

Andrew: I mean, do you sense that? Because it’s not necessarily what we’re raised with, I saw a lot of pictures of Jesus that were blue eyed, chestnut hair, that’s not very Middle Eastern. You know, it’s definitely not. So we definitely start to picture what our surroundings are, we project that on God, and I’ve tried to, over the years, deconstruct that to be like, wait, hang on a second.

Nirva: Yeah.

Andrew: You know?

Nirva: Yeah, I think it’s, I think God can handle that. When you go to Brazil or other countries, you see Jesus kind of portrayed from their cultural perspective, and I think that’s Christ wanting to meet us where we are.

Mark: Absolutely.

Nirva: He can be in the African American culture, He can be in Portuguese culture, He can be in all, He can handle all of that. And I think the real heart for us, and the aim for me especially, is to get to know His character, His person. And it’s much, much more than an ethnicity, in my opinion, He’s the son of God, He’s my redeemer, but He is Jewish, you know what I mean?

Andrew: Sure.

Nirva: He’s that too, and He celebrates culture.

Mark: And one day, we’ll be just like Him.

Nirva: You don’t wanna leave it out–

Mark: 33 and Jewish.

Nirva: But you don’t wanna be stuck there, you know?

Andrew: Yeah, I mean.

Nirva: But that’s a good point. A very good point to bring up.

Dinner Conversations Sponsorship Message

Mark: Dinner Conversations is brought to you by Food for the Hungry, a relief and development organization, serving those in need around the globe for more than 40 years. And right now, Food for the Hungry is helping hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Andrew: Nearly one million refugees fled from their home in Myanmar to escape violent persecution. Refugees like Nihab, who crossed the border with her husband and six children. While safe from violence, refugee camp conditions are horrific, and Nihab’s children are always at risk of diseases, many of them deadly.

Mark: Food for the Hungry is providing medical care and treated Nihab’s three-month-old baby, who fell ill with pneumonia. There are thousands more like Nihab who need our help.

Andrew: You can join Food for the Hungry and us in providing life-saving treatment by donating today. Even better, your gift will be matched 22 times when you give at

Mark: So $25 becomes $550, $50 becomes $1,100, and so on. Countless families urgently need our help. Donate to Food for the Hungry today, and your generous gift will literally help save lives.

Andrew: It’s an incredible opportunity we have, and I think of Jesus’ own words in Matthew 25, when He says, “What you have done to the least of these, you have done unto me.” So give today at

Mark: And don’t forget, not only will your gift be matched 22 times, but for every dollar you donate, we will enter you into a drawing for our Season Two Grand Prize Giveaway, and–

Andrew: What is the giveaway?

Mark: It’s dinner with me and Andrew in Houston, Texas, at my favorite restaurant.

Andrew: And right after dinner, we’re coming back to Mark’s house to be a guest on Monday’s with Mark live broadcast.

Mark: And your travel and accommodations are included. We also have a VIP package for everyone who gives a thousand dollars or more.

Andrew: Which includes some signed CDs, DVDs, and books from Mark and me, and also a stack of books and music from some of our Season Two guests, including Kathie Lee Gifford, Danny Gokey, Amy Grant. And the most special part is a handwritten–

Mark: Oh yes! I’m gonna write your favorite line, whatever it is, from “Mary, Did You Know,” and you’ll get that one, like when she kissed her little baby, she kissed the face of God, that’s probably my favorite, and then I’ll autograph that and send that to you and you can keep that, and then when I’m dead, it’ll be worth $2 or $3.

Andrew: So remember to give now, give generously at Every dollar is an entry into our Season Two Grand Prize Giveaway.

Andrew: You know, growing up, Montell Jordan, for me growing up, Montell Jordan’s an R&B, platinum selling, “This Is How We Do It.” And now, 20 years later, I mean, I’m interested in what happened, what transpired that took you from “This Is How We Do It” to really getting it done spiritually as a worship pastor, and just pastoral in nature, here at Victory World Church in Atlanta.

Montell: Well, brought up in church, a church kid, raised sitting on a piano from the time, I was one of those kids that were, any time the church doors would open, I was there. Was put on a piano and started doing that, by the time I was 10, 11-years-old, up until my mid 20s, early 20s I should say. And from that standpoint, I grew up in church, and I was in church, but church wasn’t always in me. So I knew all the technical things to do in church, I knew how to follow my pastor, I knew how to play music by ear, I knew how to— I knew how to follow it and do things like that, but as far as getting near God or the whole Holy Spirit thing, we were Baptist, so that was kinda taboo. So you know, just navigating those things. So I was always around church and in church, but church wasn’t fully in me until later on in life, and so that was my training ground. I didn’t get my upbringing in bible college or any of those things. It came through the music business later on in life. I gotta say this. We’re having Dinner Conversations here–

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Montell: I watch the show, and you normally have dinner at Dinner Conversations.

Andrew: That’s true, that’s true.

Montell: And I don’t know if this is a black thing, or you know, so I brought my own. I brought my own dinner.

Andrew: Are we gonna break bread together? Are you gonna share that?

Montell: Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Mark, but I brought my own dinner, and we’ll have to do this again, and we’ll actually sit down. I’m joking, right.

Andrew: Now I will tell you, not everyone has dinner right… I don’t even know how to respond, you know, when you say, “Is it a black thing?” I got nothing yet, 2019, I don’t know if I can say anything!

Montell: No, it’s all good, it’s good, it’s good.

Andrew: I love it. I am thrilled you’re here, and we’ve known each other a few years now–

Montell: Of course.

Andrew: Off and on, and here at Victory World specifically, I’ve noticed a lot in the language of the website and even in… I think I wrote it down, I did. What you said in your bio on the website, that one of your favorite parts of the job is leading people of all cultures and nationalities into a deeper and more intimate place of worship with Jesus. And that language is all over the website, too–

Montell: Sure.

Andrew: You have over apparently a hundred nationalities worshiping across your campuses on any given weekend. Why is that important, not just to your congregation here in Atlanta that you’re a part of, but why’s it important to you?

Montell: It’s important to me because I value Kingdom culture over earthly culture. Meaning over being African American, which I love. I value Kingdom culture over that. And a lot of people can’t fully understand that, that Jesus would mean more to me than that.

Andrew: Than your heritage–

Montell: Than heritage. And I love culture, I love heritage, I love our food, I love dress codes, I love lingo, I love all the different things that make me uniquely me. But more than that, I love the fact that you and I can sit down to a table, or not a table but you know what I mean–

Andrew: We’ll get past that.

Montell: We can sit down and have— We can sit down, and we can have conversations, real conversations, about who we are, who we are in Christ, the things that we have the ails of society, that we have negative things that happen that impact this, but that we can have conversation about it, and the world is very divided in a lot of different areas. If you look at everything from music, there’s R&B music, or there’s pop music. What does that mean? You know, or there’s CCM, contemporary Christian music, and there’s gospel music. What does that mean? You know, there’s all these different types of… There’s the black church and the evangelical church. What does that mean? There’s these, especially in America, there’s these dividing lines that color has played a huge part in the fabric of who we are, and so somehow my musical journey has allowed me not just to be a part of the community that birthed me but also to cross over into a community that accepted me, and then a world community to where I can go to Japan or Germany or any place else, and those people embrace because of the music that speaks a universal language. So, that simply means this. We have 140 nations all represented here at Victory World Church, and my training ground, like I said, wasn’t in bible college, it was in the music business, and so now when I stand before 140 different nationalities of people to lead worship, I understand, first of all, nobody’s gonna be happy with worship because everybody wants their own style of music. But ultimately, it’s my job to take what I learn from Japan and from Germany and from Nigeria and place all of those things, to focus all of those cultures and those nationalities towards Jesus, to be able to say I know what our preferences are, and what your human culture is, but if we can put that down for a more Jesus response to who He is to us, we can enter into a place of worship, and that’s one of the things I get to do here, week in and week out at Victory.

Andrew: Don’t you think all nationalities are pointing to Jesus? In the sense of–

Montell: Yes.

Andrew: Isn’t that a spiritual thing?

Montell: I do think all nationalities, many, I would say most, are in some way, if you are in some type of church, or some type of religious context, spirituality, you’re pointing towards Christ. I think the challenge is, I think it’s interesting when you have to be around all white people to get to Christ.

Andrew: Okay.

Montell: Or I’m more comfortable being around all black people coming to Christ, or all Korean people coming to Christ.

Andrew: Sure, whatever it is.

Montell: All whatever people, going to Christ. So I’m trying to figure out if Christ says I’m coming back for church, for a bride, without spot or blemish, that to me doesn’t say I’m coming back for the evangelical church. I’m coming back for the black church, I’m coming back for the Korean church, I’m coming back for the Roman Episcopalian church, I’m coming back for the Catholic. I think He says I’m coming back for my bride, and I think that bride is consisting of a whole lot of different people and nationalities that Jesus died for. And so with that being said, I just wanna do my part, and I understand each church has a great diversity and a great historical value–

Andrew: Tradition.

Montell: Tradition, and I understand it ’cause tradition is important. I think what we are to our individual churches is extremely valuable. I think what we are for God’s church, and I say that specifically, who we are for our church, is something that’s very diverse. Who we are for God’s church, I think is very, very inclusive because He’s coming back for His church. He’s not coming back for an individual piece of the church. He’s coming back for His body. And so at some point, I love what I get to do at such and such baptist church, because there’s a tradition that’s rich there for that church. Now, for the church, how do we take what’s unique and diverse about that and then bring that into the entire body, so that the entire body can be expressed in that diversity as opposed to try and keeping it separate.

Andrew: Yeah, it seems like that need to define, that need to divide with definitions, is more reflective of culture.

Montell: Sure.

Andrew: Like a humanity, human culture, society, whatever, then it is of God.

Montell: I believe so. And I think diversity and division are not the same thing. And so diversity is an inclusive thing that, you know, if we have a potluck, and I say, “Hey Andrew, when you come to the house, bring something that’s unique to you,” and “John…” Everybody that comes, you know? Somebody may bring Swedish meatballs, somebody may bring macaroni and cheese. All the different foods and cultures or whatever, they come together to create this entire big thing where everybody can get sick, just based on— But the cool thing is you’re getting an experience of everything, and maybe it’s just me, I’ve traveled the world enough to be able to know there’s such a value in other cultures and those other things, that I feel stifled, I feel, when I’m just tucked into one place–

Andrew: Absolutely.

Montell: I just believe God is bigger than that. And I value all of those religions, I value all of those different traditional pieces. I’m trying to figure out how can what you have there traditionally be added to the overall body of Christ, as opposed to just being, and let me just say this real quickly, you may have to edit this out, I don’t know, but from the stand point of when it comes to just America in particular, because of our background, because of slavery, and because of segregation and Jim Crow, a lot of things have led to us not being able to be together as a church, and when we go to the movie theaters, it’s not like really black theaters and white theaters–

Andrew: Right, yeah, yeah.

Montell: Everybody goes. But based on maybe what neighborhoods a theater might be in, then you can have maybe more of a particular demographic than another, but ultimately, on our jobs, in movie theaters and restaurants, all these other places, we go and we’re all together. But when we come to church, that’s the one place where we kind of figure out, I’m more comfortable with this group of people or that group of people. When we’re getting closest to God is when we become less close with each other.

Andrew: Well, it’s interesting to me, I think, I mean you have a very generous heart. And we’ve talked some about this before, but you do in the sense of, it sounds like you’re always zooming out to that bigger picture, which I love. I think culturally if we could even zoom out in the church for sure, a bigger picture, that’s Kingdom things, right. Then we would probably be more generous with one another than things we don’t understand.

Mark: And getting to know each other.

Andrew: For sure.

Mark: I go to a multi-cultural church. It didn’t start out that way, but God showed up and everybody started comin’. And it is so cool to be a minority. I mean, it’s the only place I’m ever minority.

Nirva: I hear you.

Mark: You know, when I go into my church, and we’re all worshiping together.

Nirva: Yeah.

Mark: So I think it’s once you get to know people, it’s hard, like I’ve said before, I’m repeating myself again, it’s hard to hate it when it has a face. When you get to know them, it’s hard no matter who it is, black, white, gay, straight, whatever. When you get to know the person, it makes you not so… It’s easy to hate them when they’re away, far away–

Andrew: They’re distant.

Nirva: There’s fear. There’s fear there, too, in the unknown and not being comfortable around what you’re not used to being around, and so when you get to know a person. Love according to knowledge, the word says, when you know a person and interact with them, it breaks down the walls and it takes away the fear. That’s what Christ does.

Seth: Back to your education question, we didn’t like go into marriage thinking oh man, we’re gonna do this–

Nirva: Oh, no!

Seth: I just thought she was awesome!

Nirva: That was the furthest thing from my mind. I was just marrying my soulmate, that’s all.

Seth: And so, you know, we didn’t go into it like that, and it’s funny how God just takes you on a journey ’cause we actually were traveling separate for the first four or five years. We didn’t even think to sing together, honestly.

Andrew: Hmm.

Seth: But we, when we went through that stuff with my family and some of my extended family that were in the mix, God actually used that process to bring reconciliation. These are people that have been in church all their lives.

Mark: Right.

Andrew: Sure.

Seth: Which is surprising when you think about, man, how could y’all miss that aspect of the gospel, that we’re all the new man in Christ. No Jew, no Gentile.

Mark: How have they evolved?

Seth: Well, that was the crazy thing. So they had never, some of these folks, I won’t mention their names ’cause they might watch this later. Love ’em to death, and we’ve had a close relationship, but they would never come to a Kirk concert, or Donnie. I would sing with Donnie–

Mark: You said they wouldn’t come, but now they would.

Andrew: How do you sing with Donnie McClurkin?

Seth: Yeah, I sang with Donnie McClurkin for about seven years, and for some reason, one of these family members all of a sudden came out, and at Donnie’s concerts, Kirk might have a few more white folks, but at Donnie, there’s hardly any. There’s a few here and there. But they decided to come to this concert, and the way they tell it, God gave them an actual vision during the concert. And this is a stubborn, stubborn person, nothing less than that would have shifted them. But they say God opened their eyes and said, “Look at these people in this room, and how dare you call unclean what I call clean?” And this person wept and went and repented to her the next week.

Nirva: It’s true.

Seth: They’re kind of like the patriarch of the family, so everybody kind of came through that. And you know, for her, she had to accept that ’cause that can be hard to even–

Nirva: Yeah.

Andrew: Process, yeah.

Seth: But she did, and now they of course love her way more than they love me. But it was almost like God gave us a glimpse into what He wanted to do in our life later, and now, so we’ve taken the song that we sing, “Brother,” and God has used that. We also, we thought that would just be a side song on the album, but He’s kinda used that as a center piece of what He’s used us for in ministry all around the world, and we’ve gotten to be apart of peoples stories of reconciliation. From cameramen that are taping it, coming up to us afterwards weeping ‘cause they had stuff in their hearts against people because of some external thing.

Nirva: Yeah.

Mark: Wow.

Andrew: I mean, think about it, no one wants to be a poster child for anything, necessarily.

Seth: Right, right.

Andrew: But you are a picture of something that is not always readily available in our churches, in our culture, of us meeting together, coming together and being as one. You’re literally taking that. I mean, I know that wasn’t the objective, you love each other, you wanna be married, blah, blah, blah.

Mark: And it’s really nobody else’s business. It’s your marriage. It’s not my marriage.

Seth: Right.

Mark: You know, if I don’t want to have a mixed marriage, then don’t have a mixed marriage! You know what I mean, it’s not anybody else’s business, too.

Andrew: It’s not, but there are people on the peripheral, right.

Mark: Right.

Seth: Yeah.

Mark: And judging.

Andrew: And that story of your family member, that’s phenomenal.

Nirva: It’s wonderful.

Seth: Yeah, man.

Andrew: You think about the reconciliation in their own heart, you think about the ways that God, the spirit of God has now opened to move ‘cause we’re closing off channels, and things like racism and things like prejudices of all sorts, aren’t we just closing off channels in our hearts for the spirit of God–

Seth: Right, it was a gift to him from God, I think, to free him from that bondage that he had carried all his life.

Mark: And I bet he would say that, too.

Seth: Yeah, yeah, I think he would.

Mark: And to be free. Once you’ve tasted freedom from all that mess.

Nirva: Come on now.

Mark: You ain’t going back!

Nirva: That’s it. That’s it.

Seth: You’re right, and what Nirva said was crazy too. We didn’t know it would become a hot button in culture and just, man, explode in these last few years. And even people our age now–

Mark: So your whole family’s in now? I mean, all of them? 

Seth: Whole family’s in. But now we got friends that, now they struggling with it in a new way, because of the new battles that are going on politically and the way it’s being postured in the media–

Andrew: Yeah, we’re all having to face it, and so is even, I don’t feel like I grew up with a lot of prejudice or certain racism, but yeah, but I’m now having to, it’s impacting me without even asking for it or inviting it in or saying–

Mark: So you think it’s getting worse?

Seth: I think it’s being highlighted.

Nirva: If you’re on social media, it looks that way.

Mark: Really.

Nirva: I mean, you know, I went to a historically black college, a university called Fisk University, and I’ve got some buddies that are on that campus. It’s just a beautiful, rich campus, and you learn a lot of history. You’ve got some people that just champion that and just really ride that banner. And any awesome good thing, taken too far, fanaticism, I think you have to be careful riding that wave because the enemy comes in and tries to make it a, I don’t know, something difficult rather than something beautiful if you’re not too careful. But I follow some folks that are dear friends of mine, who would say that it is the number one problem in our world right now. It’s just the race thing, black and white, the democrats, republicans, everything. So I don’t know, I think–

Mark: It is divisive right now.

Nirva: It’s very, very intense.

Seth: And if you think about, sorry babe, your relationship that you have with somebody, if all you ever highlight is the struggle area–

Andrew: Right.

Nirva: Yes, that’s where you, the tunnel.

Seth: It’s gonna make it feel worse, even if it wasn’t really worse, and then it is gonna get really worse, and I think there’s some of that going on. It’s like constantly, well you’ll never understand ’cause this is where you’re from, and this is, you know it’s this accusative, finger-pointing thing, and that’s where we’re trying to enter in to those discussions and not act like they’re not important ’cause some of those issues are important and they’re worth thinking about, do we stand, do we kneel.

Andrew: Sure, sure.

Seth: All those things are important, but to get a bigger perspective and say what are the main things and how can we find unity first, and like you said, that face to face first. ‘Cause in that context, then we can have more calm discussions where we still respect people, but I think it’s so easy right now on social media–

Mark: When I grew up, my grandfather was a Democrat, my grandmother was a Republican. Grandma drove them to the polls where they vetoed each others vote every year. When did we quit having civil discussions? It’s not light, it’s heat.

Nirva: We don’t know how to disagree.

Andrew: And why is that, why don’t we know how–

Mark: Why don’t we? I mean, how do you evolve to this?

Seth: She read a book last year by a guy named Stephen Carter. He’s African American professor. You remember where he’s from?

Nirva: Yale, I believe.

Seth: Yale, I think. He wrote a book called Civility. And he’s actually a Christian, too. Just a brilliant guy, but he marks how we got to where we are–

Nirva: Yeah, he goes throughout history, and the story of civility.

Seth: It’s really interesting.

Andrew: So what did he say? How did we lose it? What did he say?

Nirva: You know, some of the things he says is, he goes way back in history and says, when transportation first began and say with the train system being set up in our country, we all had to ride together in trains, and we knew what it would take for this ride to be calm and pleasant, and then highways came around and we were in our own cars doing our own thing, and we gotta get to where we’re going or we’re not so cognizant of other people trying to get to where they’re going, and so, just the focus of your own plight–

Andrew: Zeroing in on ourselves.

Nirva: Yeah, on ourselves. That’s one of the answers he gives.

Seth: Yeah, one of the answers. Basically, he’s saying just the pragmatic style of life has lended itself to us being more focused on ourselves and finding it hard to really think about others, and I think the other part, he kinda traces down the thought level, the loss of morality in our culture in general and how civility really is grounded in morality in general. And when you lose morality as an objective thing that needs to be lived by, and now it’s just subjective and you choose what you think, you choose what you think. Well, there’s no common bond of any kind, and civility would be one of those common bonds that we’ve lost.

Seth & Nirva singing “Brother” with Andrew Greer

When I look into the face of my enemy

I see my brother

I see my brother

When I look into the face of my enemy

I see my brother

I see my brother

Forgiveness is the garment of our courage

It’s the power to make the peace we long to know

Open up our eyes

To see the wounds that bind

All of humankind

May our shuttered hearts

Greet the dawn of life with charity and love

When I look into the face of my enemy

I see my brother

I see my brother

Who’s my enemy really?

Is it even you?

Or is it the sin in us that’s got our defenses up?

This fight to be right, oh man, it’s killing us

Yeah, it’s killing us

Oh, it’s killing us

This back and forth, it leads us to divide ♪

Division leads to pain

Pain leads to our demise

We must decide is this working

All this fussin’ ain’t worth it

Animosity it don’t serve us

Let’s get it all on the surface, y’all

I never even walked a day in your shoes

You’ve never been on my floor

You ain’t seen it from my view

I must admit, man

Got a lot more to uncover

So I’m letting go of myself

And I’m holding on to brother

I’m letting go of myself

And holding on to brother

Oh, let go of self

And I’m holding on to brothers

Right now

Right now

When I look into the face of my enemy

I see my brother

I see my brother

Help me to see them like you do

Help me to see them like you do

Help me to see them like you do

I wanna see a brother

Help me to love him like you do

Help me to love him like you do

Help me to love them like you do

Wanna see a brother

Help me forgive them like you do

Help me forgive them like you do

Help me forgive them like you do

I wanna see a brother

Help me forgive them like you do

Help me forgive them like you do

Help me forgive them like you do

I wanna see a brother

Andrew: Do you think that racism or prejudice of any sort is an obstacle to the spirit of God being able to move freely through and among us?

Montell: I think… I think the Holy Spirit has a desire to be able to reign free, but I think God is a gentleman. I think that He’s not gonna impose His will on anyone. And so from that standpoint, I think that, you know, the Bible says that there will come a day and time when people will have itching ears, and they’ll just kind of wanna hear what they wanna hear, they will say that good is evil and evil is good. So from that standpoint, I think we’re living in a day and time where you can hear truth, but people prefer their truth over God’s truth. And there’s a difference. And so from that standpoint, I do believe the Holy Spirit can be the power that the church can have, becomes hindered when we’re not showing what Jesus showed, and we’re living more pharasitically. I don’t know if that’s a word–

Andrew: Sounds nice.

Montell: It did sound good though, pharasitically.

Andrew: Is that from the music industry or seminary?

Montell: That’s seminary. No, no. No, but when we take on that stance, we look more like the people that are law keepers than the one that Jesus was trying to reach out to. The prostitute, the tax collector, the people that they say, why are you hanging with that person or that person. I think when we, when we live that way, we become this, this group that are so set in our agendas, that we miss God’s agenda of what He’s trying to do in the earth.

Andrew: Do you think, we highlight a lot the division, or we, I don’t know who’s we, but we see a lot, whether it’s through social media, through our news media, or just in our conversations, we talk a lot about the division because I think there’s a really deep down innate sense that that’s not the way we’re designed to live. But there is also a lot of unity. There are stories of unity that we don’t highlight as much. Do you think, and I don’t know if this is a real fair question, but I’m gonna ask anyway. Do you think that the division among humans, the divides, do you think that’s getting worse?

Montell: I think division amongst humanity right now is getting more defined.

Andrew: Okay.

Montell: So as far as worse, I think that when you bring, when you shed a light on something and it becomes more defined, it’s now being more exposed. So I think division has always been there, I just think it’s more defined. I’ll give you an example. I grew up most of my life in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles is a melting pot of a bunch of different people and nationalities and X, Y, and Z, and if there is racism, and there is racism, it looks different in California than it does in the South. And when you’re in the South, it looks different because it’s more defined here. In Hollywood, or in different places in the music business, those different things, it’s just masked differently, and then there are certain places that we don’t cover it up. It is what it is, you are who you are, and it’s like, oh, this is what this is here. And so it doesn’t make it more in the South, it just means it’s more pronounced or it’s more defined. And so I don’t know if we are getting more divisive. I do believe everything, lines are becoming clearer and becoming more precision drawn so that you can be able to identify, oh, I know where you stand based on what you’re showing, as opposed to I don’t know what this person stands for because they’re not saying anything.

Andrew: Mmm. I wonder if curiosity, because so many people don’t either want to receive some kind of blame or they wanna shift blame, and really, like you said, it’s not always about who to blame, it’s just about coming together. I wonder if curiosity, if I could just be curious about your experience and you could be curious about mine, then the discussion could open up. Maybe if we could just be curious, I think about people who haven’t had a lot of experience, maybe they haven’t traveled internationally, so they haven’t seen cultures outside of our Western world and thinking kind of way, or maybe they haven’t traveled… I know people who haven’t traveled out of their home state.

Montell: Never been out of their, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, out of their circumference of an hour, you know?

Montell: Very narrow scope of what the world looks like.

Andrew: And naturally, right? You haven’t experienced what you haven’t experienced. So as you begin to experience it, and now more people are able to experience it through the avenues of news media, or even sometimes Hollywood depicting it accurately, et cetera. If I could ask questions about what I don’t know.

Montell: Mmhmm.

Andrew: Then you can help me, and if you ask questions about what you don’t know, or ask questions, or even, I wonder, I want to know if I’ve said something, this is anybody that hurts you, that is harmful to you, that is a step backwards instead of a step forwards, and the fact is, I don’t always know, but I want to know. So we have to remain curious about each other, I guess. Does that resinate with you?

Montell: Absolutely. Curiosity, I think it comes through a safety though.

Andrew: Okay.

Montell: In other words, I think there has to be a safety that only comes through relationship that says I trust you, you trust me, you know that I don’t wanna hurt you, I know you don’t wanna hurt me, there’s some things that I wanna know, and can we explore those things–

Andrew: Together.

Montell: Together. And in that, can we explore them and not get offended with each other? We do that here at this church regularly. My pastor calls himself a equal opportunity offender. Because when you got so many different nationalities, he’s gonna say something and it’s gonna tick somebody off. But in order for us to all exist, we have to be able to see, well, I know there was not maliciousness in that. There’s some truth in there, there’s some comedy in there, and then there’s some tough parts in there, and all of that makes it a reality. I think when trust is there, you can have those tough conversations. I’ve had people who I trust, come and say, the N word, “Why are you, why do you guys get so offended when people say the N word or whatever?” And then you know, you have to be able to answer, and say, well, here’s what it means, here’s why it was offensive, and here’s why X, Y, and Z, and here’s why we turned it into a term of endearment, but it still sucks as a word and it’s not really a term of endearment, we tried to take something bad and make it good, but it’s not good, it’s still derogatory. And so there’s so many complexities even amongst different races, but if we don’t sit and have the conversation, to be able to have a trusting place to be curious about it, you won’t understand and you will just make assumptions. Well, he’s super sensitive about that area.

Andrew: Right.

Montell: No, not super sensitive about that area. I had a grandfather watch police pick him up and kick him around on the street and call him this, that, or the other, so now, that has formed my lens of X, Y, and Z, and you may not understand that unless we have that conversation.

Andrew: And part of building trust is also me being okay, you being okay, when we say not yet.

Montell: Yeah.

Andrew: I think that proves curiosity, not some kind of, that we’re not science experiments to each other et cetera, but we’re really curious about one another and when I can say respect and say, okay, and I might even explain here’s why, this is like changing my paradigm.

Dinner Conversations Sponsorship Message

Mark: You can help save thousands of lives by giving a generous gift to Food for the Hungry today.

Andrew: Your gift will directly help Rohingya refugees who are currently living in dire, poverty stricken refugee camp conditions in Bangladesh.

Mark: And get this, your gift will be matched 22 times for an exponential impact. Food for the Hungry is on the ground now providing medical treatment to hundreds of thousands of these vulnerable children and their families.

Andrew: This is the example that has been set for us by Jesus, that we would help our neighbors in their time of need. And this is what Food for the Hungry is doing to help relieve the refugee crisis in Bangladesh. So you can give today. Partner with Dinner Conversations as we partner with Food for the Hungry by giving generously at

Mark: To learn more about Dinner Conversations, visit

Andrew: And while you’re there, check out our Season One DVD with all of our past episodes and some bonus stuff, as well as check out these cool show mugs.

Mark: Yeah! So when we have our next conversation, you can have coffee with us. Let’s get back to the conversation.

Andrew: I always think of solution, you know, in solutions. Do you know Doctor Chris Williamson, Pastor Chris Williamson, here in town?

Nirva: Yeah, here in town, yes.

Andrew: So we’ve talked with him a couple of times.

Mark: We love him.

Andrew: And one of the most beautiful things I thought he said was, he said, “We always ask, on any side, what can we do when there’s a problem?” And he said, “And what I want to encourage us to do is to see. Do you see?” So it’s like the song “Brother.” It’s like, have you walked a mile in my shoes? Or have you even just said, where are those shoes? Take them down that road a bit. And I think, I guess we have to sit, come let us reason–

Nirva: You have to want to see, you have to want to. And then begin to just practice it, get to know your neighbor on your left side of your house or the right side.

Seth: We have some friends–

Nirva: Just take a look and see, how do they live and how are they doing? And then you’ll find they’re just like you. They want significance, they want to prosper, they wanna have–

Andrew: Healthy children.

Nirva: We have the same struggles.

Mark: Absolutely.

Nirva: But it’s easy to just say, oh, you know, I’ve got, I’m gonna let this fear take over, and I don’t wanna take the time. And I think it just starts with a want to, a reminder to want to. ‘Cause sometimes we don’t even think about it. It doesn’t cross your mind.

Andrew: Sure. Because we’re zeroed in.

Nirva: We’re zeroed in.

Andrew: Have you ever thought, I don’t wanna be idealistic, but I live in idealism. So if we each, I mean this is super idealistic, but if I live here in this home, if I just looked to the needs of my neighbors to my left and the right, and they looked to the needs of their neighbors, I can manage that, that’s manageable in any life. The whole entire world would be taken care of.

Seth: She honestly has that heart and has taught me a lot ’cause I’m an introvert, so I’m doing everything I can to not ever have to talk to anybody— But she literally has plans to meet with our neighbors and give ’em stuff, and we’ve been able to connect with them the last two years. We live in kind of an average, low income neighborhood. It’s great, but we have been able to meet with them and have even… One night we were able to have a prayer time with them. But you’re right–

Nirva: It’s wherever your sphere of influence is, just take the time to see people where you are.

Mark: The scriptures say Judea, Samaria, and the utmost part of the earth. You start at home. Start in Nashville, then Tennessee, then–

Nirva: That’s it.

Mark: That’s what my preacher always explained it.

Andrew: And then we don’t get overwhelmed. I mean, I’m still afraid of my neighbors sometimes.

Nirva: I get it.

Andrew: Things I don’t understand.

Nirva: You have to be wise with that, depending on where your neighborhood is. I’m just saying! Just saying, it’s the truth.

Andrew: But that’s such a small chunk, to be able to overcome fear, just let me start with two families, or two people, instead of the whole–

Seth: That’s good.

Nirva: True.

Andrew: Whatever I don’t understand, instead of tackle the whole thing.

Nirva: It’s true.

Mark: But you two travel and sing together now?

Nirva: Yep.

Seth: We do.

Mark: And you work in churches, or where?

Seth: We’ve been singing in all kinds of places really, churches. Occasionally, we get to go to schools. We even went to a public school in Massachusetts.

Mark: What do you think your underlying message is? If you were to put it into a mission statement of some sort, what is your goal?

Andrew: As Seth and Nirva.

Mark: When you stand up there on that stage for the night, what is the goal of the evening?

Nirva: Ooh, I don’t know if I can put it in words, but just to take steps to develop a Christian world view about things.

Mark: So your songs, you’re leading towards that in your testimonies?

Nirva: The songs lead towards that. When we minister, we take the audience on a journey from where are we now, how do we get here, and then some of the answers, we try to, from a Christian perspective, take them on that journey. What is the world saying about us now, and how do arrive here? Is it true, is it not true? Let’s tackle those issues. That’s one of the things.

Mark: So you cut deep.

Nirva: We go, we do.

Seth: We do, we do. And we’re still honestly, I think we’re still forming that. I think we’re still in formation process, figuring out an exact bullseye, but I think when we go to churches, one of the things we wanna leave behind is, because when we see the, man if we could have that big of a blind spot with some of my family members that have been in church all their lives, what are we doing to miss that? How are we not listening, how are we not studying, how are we not walking with Christ? So I think when we go to churches, the challenge to, hey, let’s engage in discipleship, not just trying to build numbers and stuff like that, but let’s, let’s really learn what it’s like to be disciples in 2018. Can we really still trust that Jesus’ words are true and relevant today, and I think we can. So we try to leave churches with that. If we go outside of the church, our idea, our goal with them is to get them, ’cause many people outside of the church will hear “Brother” and they’ll be like, yes, they recognize there’s something right about that, even if they’re not Christian at all.

Andrew: Sure.

Nirva: Some don’t.

Seth: There’s something better about forgiving and loving than hating. Even the most hateful friends we have will be like, that’s a really good song, I like that sentimentality.

Mark: Okay.

Seth: So for them–

Andrew: You gotta practice it.

Seth: Yeah, well, for us, for them we wanna say, okay, where do you think those ideas might come from? Love and equality and forgiveness, you know. They actually have to be grounded in a deeper world view. And that’s what we get to take them to maybe consider that the Christian world view is not only true, like Siesto said, Christianity’s true not just because, like the sun, not just because I see it, but by it, I see everything else.

Mark: Yeah.

Seth: So Christianity, to them, I try to show them how it makes sense of what they intuitively know to be true.

Mark: Wow, that’s great.

Seth: And so that’s kinda the two funnels of our ministry right now.

Mark: And you say outside the church, what do you mean, bars, or where?

Seth: You know, wherever. Sometimes we could end up any place. I love, I have a heart for university students for sure, so our upcoming plan is to try to connect with some of those, and just go, maybe Campus Crusades for Christ, or inner Varsity, and just go right on campuses and do these songs and minister from that place.

Mark: Are you finding that millennials are falling away from the gospel or falling to it, or what–

Seth: Yeah.

Mark: I kinda sense that there’s a lot of them kinda saying to heck with it.

Seth: Yeah, I think the statistics would verify that, for sure, and there’s a lot of, the stats kind of range, but I have seen anywhere from 40 to 60 that are leaving high school, leaving the faith–

Mark: How do we woo them back?

Seth: A lot of different reasons are there. How do we win them back?

Mark: How do we woo them back, woo them.

Seth: I think there’s a lot of things, I think for one, for me, we did a young adult ministry for three and a half years recently in Tampa, and it was a very unchurched area, and we kind of planted it within a larger church, and it was kind of experimental, I was really trying to take these ideals I had learned, just doing my own study and seeking God and try to see, will this work in the church? And I said okay, we’re gonna make, our aim in this setting for young adults is gonna be, we’re gonna try to make disciples, we’re gonna angle our services and everything we can do to train people to be able to go out, so it’s not just us trying to do everything we can to get people to come here, but we wanna train people to be big Christians, in essence. And so I think the more we did that, we spent two years, for instance, teaching them just the basics of the Christian world view, so they would understand who they are, who God is, can we trust the Bible? And I think those things allowed many of them to go through college and weather the storms. I mean, there are up and downs, everybody’s gonna have their process, but I think for us, one of the things, this isn’t the whole answer, but one of the things, is really challenging people to grow in their understanding of the Christian faith from a Sunday school level. You know, we’ll grow in every area, but we won’t put time into developing our walk with Christ like that, and maturing in our understanding, and so I think that’s one area, opting for that over entertainment.

Nirva: Yeah.

Seth: Not that entertainment’s bad, that’s a good part of it. But the emphasis, you know what I mean, put the emphasis on that other thing. And I think creating warm communities where people can be open and honest–

Andrew: That’s the entry point.

Seth: And have real friends that they can be safe to question, we try not to make people feel the pressure to confess things they really didn’t believe, and if they didn’t believe ’em, we wanna walk with ’em and help ‘em come to a stronger confidence in God.

Mark: That’s beautiful.

Nirva: I feel like they’re walking away from it because they no longer believe it’s true. They’ve been told they can trust it, but can they know that it’s true? And I think that’s one of the things we try to encourage them too, you can test this, you can find answers, you can find evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, that God exists and things like that.

Seth: And experience ’em in your life.

Nirva: If you grew up in an environment where you’re told to trust it, so you’re trusting it, but you’ve never had the means or the how to, or the why to trust it, and so I think that’s one of the reasons that a lot of them are walking away.

Seth: It’s like, it’s the perfect storm in college ’cause you’re out of your home for the first time and you have all these temptations. It’s hard for anybody. And then you have professors, who tend to not be in the Christian world view, if you don’t go to Christian school, and it’s just like the perfect storm to just–

Andrew: Sure, it’s too easy, yeah.

Seth: Take you right off.

Andrew: Well, and if all we’ve been done is trained to sing “Trust and Obey,” but I was not allowed to search–

Seth: Yeah, man, yeah.

Andrew: It’s in the seeking that we’ll find, that’s the promise of it, and you’re talking about even how Jesus is depicted in so many different cultures as something relatable to their culture because I think, in the end, that’s trustworthy. Jesus will find us–

Nirva: Yeah.

Andrew: If we just walk along the path, but if I’m just told, I actually hate that hymn, trust and obey.

Nirva: It’s such a favorite!

Andrew: It’s more, it’s the melodic structure. I don’t like the chorus. Trust and obey, for there’s no… It sounds like marching orders.

Seth: That’s hilarious.

Nirva: That’s funny. 

Andrew: Love with a hug…

Seth: He takes a bite!

Nirva: He takes a bite!

Seth: But yeah, I mean, we definitely, we don’t have all the answers on that. We explore, we read about it a lot, we wanna understand it better.

Mark: Well, you’re probably seeing a lot more millennials than I am.

Seth: Yeah.

Mark: You know, ’cause you’re at that age where they’re still gonna listen to you.

Seth: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But you’d be surprised, I will say this though. I think they’re in such a phase now of, they’ve reaped the fruits of not having solid structure and walking away maybe from the faith, that they’re actually, we would bring people in to our ministry that are in their 60s, 70s, 80s, 50s, whatever, and they would leech on to ‘em. And it was awesome to see–

Mark: Interesting. That’s good.

Seth: And so I also try to encourage people in churches that think that, well, they won’t wanna listen to me. They actually might more than you think. And so I say get in the game, man, spend time with these people because they’re so lost now, it’s like they don’t even know where to go to ask, how do I get back on track, but anybody that seems like they have life pulsating through them, they wanna connect with them.

Andrew: That’s what happened here. I was looking for someone in their 60s, 70s, 80s–

Mark: Well, you found me!

Nirva: Oh, in the person!

Andrew: That’s a wrap.

Mark: I always threaten to bring home a black girl. And just watch them shiver.

Seth: Threaten, that’s great. If you say something like that again, imma do it.

Nirva: You better sing!

Andrew: Seth, Nirva, Andrew?

Nirva: We must do this again! You better sing, you know what I’m saying! Don’t make me sing. You know what I’m saying?

Mark: Well, I hope you enjoyed that episode with Montell Jordan and Seth & Nirva.

Andrew: Yeah, you can check out all of their amazing music through our Amazon affiliate link in our episode description.

Mark: And if you wanna binge watch all of Season Two right now of Dinner Conversations, you can do that on Amazon Prime.

Andrew: Thanks for watching Dinner Conversations with–

Mark: Mark Lowry

Andrew: And Andrew Greer

Mark: Turning the light on–

Andrew: One question at a time.

Mark: Dinner Conversations is brought to you by Food for the Hungry, a relief and development organization serving those in need around the globe for more than 40 years.

Andrew: Help our friends at Food for the Hungry save thousands of refugee lives today by considering a generous gift.

Mark: A gift that will be matched 22 times.

Andrew: It’s incredible. Visit to give now.

Join Mark and Andrew as we support our Dinner Conversations Season Two title sponsor, Food for the Hungry (FH) – a relief and development organization serving those in need around the globe for more than 40 years. 

Partner with us as we partner with FH save thousands of Rohingyan refugee lives in Bangladesh today by considering a generous gift – a gift that will be matched 22-times! And remember, every dollar enters you into the Season Two Grand Prize Giveaway, which includes dinner with Mark and Andrew in Houston, plus more surprises. 

Give generously here:

Don’t Miss an Episode! Subscribe Today:

WATCH with Amazon Prime
SUBSCRIBE to our podcast on iTunes
SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel
FOLLOW us on Facebook
FOLLOW us on Instagram

Watch Our Other Episodes:

S02, E01: A Change of Mind featuring Danny Gokey and Dr. Caroline Leaf
S02, E02: The Last Goodbye featuring Amy Grant
S02, E03: The Humanity of Billy & Ruth Graham featuring Will Graham and Gigi Graham
S02, E04: Life After Divorce featuring Crystal Lewis
S02, E05: Place in this World featuring Michael W. Smith and Ginny Owens
S02, E06: God Is In The Details featuring Kathie Lee Gifford and Rabbi Jason Sobel
S02, E07: Winning Takes Work featuring Scott Hamilton and Paula Trujillo
S02, E08: Mind Matters featuring Dr. Caroline Leaf
S02, E09: The Thin Line Between Priest and Prophet featuring Becca Stevens and Russ Taff