Whether releasing best-selling records, writing hit songs or touring the world with her Team NCM kids, for nearly twenty years Nicole C. Mullen has been an immovable force in Christian music. But more recently, the bulk of Nicole’s energies have been invested in spiritually shaping the next generation through her non-profit mentorship programs, Baby Girl’s Club and Team NCM. And it was her work behind the scenes with these outreach initiatives that led her back into the forefront with her latest recording, Crown Him: Hymns Old and New (Lucid Artist) — available exclusively at Family Christian. Here the multi-awardwinning singer-songwriter talks about how her mission continues to drive her music.
CCM: What instigated this recording of new and old hymns?
NICOLE C. MULLEN: For the past several years I have been mentoring young teens at least four times each week. And we have been singing all over the globe. In Africa or France or wherever we have performed, people sing the hymns. There is something about the hymn-like worship, and hopefully some of my songs will become hymns that transcend cultural and language barriers. I thought Crown Him would be a great unifier. Not to remind us here in the states of our heritage in Christendom, but to celebrate across the globe. And since one-hundred percent of Family Christian Stores’ proceeds support orphans and widows across the world, the opportunity to partner with them on Crown Him was a perfect combination.
CCM: How has traveling internationally opened your mind and heart, spiritually speaking?
NICOLE: Every time I go out of the country, I realize again that the kingdom of God is not just American; it is wide, it is vast and it is broad. It includes people of different languages, different cultures and different looks that are all a part of the same kingdom because we unite under the banner of Jesus Christ. I love celebrating that with song.
If you want to see real worship, where people are not concerned about what they are wearing, or how their hair looks, or if their makeup is going to run if they cry out to Him, or if they are going to get their clothes dirty because they are on the dirt floor facedown, if you want to see real worship, go to a third-world country where if God doesn’t provide food today they won’t eat. If He doesn’t provide healing they can’t just buy Advil Cold & Sinus.
Traveling abroad has been humbling. Wherever we go, I find we are not bringing Jesus. Jesus is already there and at work. We are just coming to join in with what He is already doing.
CCM: Have these experiences also impacted your family?
NICOLE: Absolutely. We have taken our 10-, 16- and 19- year-old kids overseas, and every time it brings back to mind what is really important. Sometimes we get disgruntled with ourselves because we have “stuff-itis”. Our stuff can become our god. So we have to remove those things so we can see and worship the true God all over again. I learn that every time I go away.
And everywhere we go, they love the hymns because they are foundational. They say what we believe. Hymns are Christcentered, not self-centered. So that’s part of my love for bringing hymns back to people’s attentions.
CCM: Why do you think music is such a universal medium?
NICOLE: Music can make you happy or make you sad, make you glad or make you mad. It’s one of those God things. In scripture, when Saul was depressed and wanted to kill everybody around him, David would play and sing to him and the evil spirits would depart. I think God still places that anointing on music, especially music that is God- and Christ-centered. I believe we as musicians are called to use music wisely, to heal the brokenhearted and to turn our worship towards Christ.
CCM: Tell us more about Baby’s Girl Club and Team NCM.
NICOLE: Team NCM is an auditioned group of girls and guys here in Franklin [Tennessee]. We dance, sing, talk and memorize scripture. These are the kids you have seen perform with me all over the globe and at Women of Faith for several years. Team NCM is our way of making disciples, who in turn go and make disciples. These kids are actually discipling some of the “Baby Girls” we have been mentoring. It is a beautiful cycle, watching them grow in Christ.
We have had the Baby’s Girls Club for many years. Girls 6- to 18-years old get together several times a week to dance, sing and work on homework. The majority of these girls come from non-churched environments, so we have seen many come to Christ. We also have a Baby’s Girl Club in Belize. People in Kenya and South Africa have also asked me to help start their own clubs. So the Lord is starting to multiply our work.
I’m just someone who is answering questions, and giving the little bit of knowledge that I have to help others disciple well. That’s a huge passion of mine. God has done a powerful work in our young people and I am honored He is allowing me to be a part.
CCM: Music. Mentoring. Traveling. Through every endeavor, what do you hope to accomplish?
NICOLE: When all is said and done, that Nicole C. Mullen would become invisible, and Christ would be seen brilliantly. If that’s accomplished, then the mission has been accomplished.