Lead singer Bart Millard almost quit the Christian band MercyMe after releasing their album The Hurt & The Healer, but after he realised that there was nothing he could do to make Jesus Christ love him more, he had a change of heart and found new meaning in his work.
"After The Hurt & The Healer, we kind of hit a wall. I grew up in a somewhat legalistic church and it taught me that faith is enough, but here's three more things left just in case. There's always things left to do to be closer to God," he told GuidePosts in an interview.
The need to please God became so overwhelming that Millard thought he could not keep up anymore, and that his life was hanging by a thread.
But everything changed when a friend of his came back into his life and told the band, "Hey, you guys work really hard but in case you've forgotten, there's nothing you can do to make Christ love you any more than He already does, so maybe you just need to stop and just rest in the finished work of the cross."
The statement really hit Millard, who grew up believing that there was always something more he could do to please God. "It took a couple of years to understand what that meant and I really thought, at that time, that MercyMe was coming to an end. I thought that's what I was supposed to do," he shared.
But it was only when Millard and his wife decided to focus on their fellowship with Christ rather than obsessing about radio comments or labels that he had a change of heart. The band even helped by cutting their shows in half and changing their approach to music.
"The second that MercyMe stopped being my identity, instead of quitting, I started falling back in love with it. About that time we had gone back in the studio and started making this new record and that's the message, from beginning to end," he said.
From this revelation came the new album called Welcome to the New. The band thought of making an album that they would love, regardless of whether it would get played on the radio or not. Fortunately enough, it also resonated with their fans. "We just started making that and luckily people are okay with it," said Millard.