Conversation: Mercy Me
Keeping the Cross in crossover
Nearly 15 years after founding Mercy Me, the Dove
award-winning worship band is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of “I Can
Only Imagine.” Recently, Assistant Editor Jennifer McClure caught up with the
band, comprised of Bart Millard (lead vocals), Mike Scheuchzer (guitar), Nathan Cochran (bass), Jim Bryson (keys), Barry Graul (guitar) and Robby Shaffer (drums).
what ways do you see the Lord using the ministry of Mercy Me?
COCHRAN: We hear stories all of the time of how songs of
ours have helped people through rough times — songs like “I Can Only
Imagine” or “Homesick.” We’re also moving into a new phase
right now where we’re trying to do things that are a little more global, I guess you could say. We’re just trying to make a
difference wherever we can.
us more about your new global mind-set and about Imagine A Cure.
MILLARD: We started an organization called Imagine A Cure
about two years ago because of my eldest son’s diabetes. It is our desire to
find a cure for juvenile diabetes just as fast as possible. When I told my son
Sam about Imagine A Cure, the only thing he ever said to me was, “Aren’t there
more kids sick out there than just me?” Because of his idea of what Imagine A
Cure should be, we started partnering with Compassion International and
different organizations to send doctors to other parts of the world to give
medical attention to kids who don’t have it.
is your heart as a band?
SCHEUCHZER: I think we’ve always said that we have a heart
to worship, and if we can lead people into worship every night through what we
do, that’s what we’re going to be about.
years after “I Can Only Imagine” hit Christian radio stations nationwide, it
crossed over into mainstream airwaves. Is there a place for worship music on
secular airwaves? Is it pertinent to a non-Christian audience?
COCHRAN: Absolutely. In the Bible, Paul and Silas were in
prison and they were worshipping the Lord and an earthquake happened. It was
the unsaved jailer who came to them and said, “What must I do to be saved?” The
Word never returns void.
are your thoughts on the struggle to keep the focus on the Lord, on worshipping
Him, and not on creating a hyped-up emotional experience?
SCHEUCHZER: I think it’s the same struggle that any of us
face any day of the week when we’re trying to keep our focus on God and not on
the things of this world. An emotional experience or trying to boost our own
egos — it’s really no different than focusing on the temporary things of
this world in any other part of life. That one hour on
stage is certainly the least significant part of our spiritual walk — or
hopefully should be. The biggest part is our own quiet times with God and with
our church bodies at home being discipled or discipling others. Hopefully, if we’re getting it right
everywhere else, then we should be getting it right there too.
there anything in particular you do to stay focused in your personal
relationship with God?
SCHEUCHZER: I think it’s the same as it is for any other
believer. Whether you’re a mechanic or Billy Graham, you still have to be in
the Word and you still have to be taught by people who are wiser than you and
pour into people who are younger than you. I think it’s the same answer either
way no matter what your job is.
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