Unity is the key word to making a tour more than just two hours of fun, according to Matt Maher.

The nine-time Grammy Award nominee said he and the other singers and musicians on the new Worship Night in America Tour hope to dig deeper and inspire audience members at each and every venue. The tour, which includes a stop at 7 p.m. May 12 at Verizon Arena, 1 Verizon Arena Way in North Little Rock, features performances by Maher, Chris Tomlin, Christine D'Clario, Tauren Wells, Pat Barrett and Jesus Culture member Kim Walker Smith.

"There's nothing wrong with going out and being entertained for a couple of hours, but this tour is about spreading faith and a positive message," said Maher, who won the Songwriter of the Year Award and the Song of the Year Award ("Because He Lives") at the 2015 Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards event. "Being together on the stage with songwriters, worship leaders and band members is a unique experience, and it's great that we get to share the gospel with people."

Known for the songs "Your Grace is Enough," "Hold Us Together," "Lord, I Need You," "Because He Lives," "All the People Said Amen" and "Turn Around," Maher said mingling with the crew members and promoters in between concerts is as rewarding as hanging out with the tour's musicians.

"Some of the people we work with aren't even Christians, but it's great to be with them — to work with them and share this experience," he said. "It's all part of the journey. It's all part of this wonderful experience."

Existing alongside Maher's passion for music and church is his excitement at seeing more Christian films being made in recent months.

"With 'I Can Only Imagine' in theaters now, it's been inspiring to see how well that movie is doing with audiences," Maher said. "Hopefully that the story and cinematography and everything else are in place so that Christian movies can continue to get better.

"I've actually been friends with MercyMe for six years now, and MercyMe singer Bart Millard is one of the most talented people I know," he added. "Bart is funny, and he's a great songwriter. He's constantly creating, and it's so good to see that portrayed in the 'I Can Only Imagine' film."

Despite gearing up for his upcoming spring and summer tour dates to promote his latest album, "Echoes," Maher allows part of his mind to remain in studio-creation mode. He's currently writing songs for his upcoming Christmas album.

"I'm working on the Christmas album in Florida right now," he said with a laugh. "Can you believe it? I mean, just how crazy is that? It's really fun. This album will come out later this year."