MercyMe is a chart-topping contemporary Christian band from Texas that you probably hear multiple times a day if you listen live to Christian music station Spirit 92.9. You might already know the group was founded in Texas in 1994, and their first hit single, “I Can Only Imagine” helped their debut album go double platinum. And you might even be headed to their concert featuring MercyMe, Citizen Way and Zealand Worship at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 10 at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud (which you can buy tickets for here), but you might not know these five amazing facts about this Christian band.
MercyMe’s Lead Singer Was Almost Never A Singer At All
Bart Millard, MercyMe’s lead singer, wasn’t always an awesome vocalist. Bart is the son of Southern Methodist University All-American football player Arthur Millard. Bart’s older brother was also a football player, and so in high school he was actively involved on the team.
During a game, he broke both of his ankles which ended his career. Due to this injury, he had one elective class to fill and reluctantly joined choir. After some special encouragement from his choir director, Bart became very involved.
During college, he was asked by his youth pastor to help out with the youth group’s worship band and had the chance to sing one day, and the rest is history.
The Band Name Comes From Bart’s Grandmother
While Bart was working as a youth minister intern in Florida, his grandmother would often call to chat. She became concerned that he was always at home during the day instead of working and would exclaim, “Well mercy me, why don’t you get a real job?”
‘Word Of God Speak’ Named Song Of The Decade
Off of the 2002 album Spoken For, which peaked at No. 2 on the Christian Albums chart, the song “Word of God Speak” went on to peak at No. 1 on Christian radio charts that year along with the title track. “Word of God Speak” actually spent a record 22 weeks on top of the newly created Billboard Christian Songs chart. The track also won Song of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year in 2004 at the GMA Dove Awards as well as being honored as the No. 1 Christian song of the Decade (2000-2009) at the Billboard awards.
MercyMe had five other songs on the list of top songs of the decade, including “Here With Me”, “God With Us”, “You Reign”, “In the Blink of an Eye” and “Bring the Rain”.
Bart And His Wife Have Five Children
Bart said in an interview with a Christian radio station that it is a challenge to raise kids, but things are starting to turn around as the kids are getting older. He and his wife Sharon have five children. Sam, the oldest, then Gracie, Charlie, Sophie and Miles.
“Right now we’re in the bribe stage . . . if you go get the wipes and the diaper I’ll consider getting you a toy. And they go get it, then I say ‘I considered it and you’re not getting one,’” Bart said.
The Lineup Of MercyMe Hasn’t Always Been The Same
Bart Millard, James Phillip “Jim” Bryson and Mike Scheuchzer were the original members of MercyMe in 1994, with Bart on vocals, Jim on keyboard and Mike on guitar. The three originally set up a music studio and living area in an old abandoned daycare in Oklahoma City.
Nathan Cochran on bass guitar and Robin Troy “Robby” Shaffer on drums joined the group later that year, making the group five members strong.
In 2003, guitarist Barry Graul, who had previously been with the Christian hard rock band Whitecross, joined MercyMe, giving the group a second guitarist to provide more depth on their third studio album, Undone.