For a band who has achieved sonic diversity like MercyMe has, there is one characteristic of theirs that has not changed from album one to their latest offering, Welcome to the New. Then and now, they have worn their hearts on their sleeves. They have been transparently human, and in so doing, no one will probably ever know the mammoth scope of the impact they have made on people’s lives.
When they delivered the epic, “I Can Only Imagine,” the church suddenly had permission to grieve and not hide feelings of sadness or doubt.
Their most recent album, The Hurt & The Healer was a cornerstone in a long line of albums that didn’t shy away from pain and didn’t apologize for doubt. All That is Within Me, Undone, Spoken For resonated, track after track, with truth—not church talk—truth.
In 2014, on the heels of The Hurt & The Healer, they’re doing it again. This time, however, there’s something different.
“The last album was about needing a full-blown collision with the healer—when my family was hanging on by a thread, my cousin who was a firefighter died, and I wrote the title song in ten minutes in a concert arena, in tears,” Millard recalls. “I was thinking, ‘Why do we go though this mess, this junk in our lives? Is there any chance that what I’m going though is not in vain?’ Welcome to the New is the answer to that question. It’s where we landed after the collision. And we didn’t go through it in vain. I feel like the gospel has come to life for the first time.”
The gospel has company. Everyone in the band seems to have removed a veil. They are more vibrant and awake than ever. Much of that began with Bart, who had reached a point in his life of nearly overwhelming difficulty and struggle. He had lost family members, his health was in jeopardy and the lingering shadows of his childhood loomed large.
“I grew up with a legalistic background, and even though it was all about grace, there were always three more things you could do to make life better,” says Bart. “But of course, I’d do 10: I was an overachiever. That’s why I started a band; if we weren’t giving God our best, he wasn’t happy with us.”
His efforts proved not only to be in vain, but threatened the very structure of the band as well as his relationships with God and other people. Just as he was ready to walk away from it all, an old friend emerged with a message that was as poignant as it was unexpected.
’There is nothing in our life to make Christ love us any more than he does.’ And I thought that was a novel concept, but I didn’t buy it: I have a wretched heart, and I’m nothing without God,” shares Bart. “But then he said, ‘Because of the cross you are a brand new creation. You can’t worry about the heart that can’t be trusted. You have a brand new heart and mind in Christ. And I thought, ‘Wow, that’s something I never heard growing up. There’s no way I can sabotage this.’” | CLICK HERE to read the full article