How God Can Use Music in Your Ministry - How the song I Can Only Imagine changed my life

I believe it was the summer of 2002 that I first heard the song, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.

The Youth pastor at our small country church was serving as the interim Pastor in addition to his regular duties. That Sunday morning he erected a screen in the front of the church and rather than having us turn to a song in our hymnals, he dared to play a music video.

This was out of the ordinary for our little country church, and I have no doubt his doing so ruffled some feathers that day, but I am forever thankful as it changed my life.

The words of that song penetrated a place deep in my heart.

It wasn’t at all about who I would or wouldn’t see upon entering the gates of Heaven, but the One I would worship.

Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all…

Up until that fateful Sunday morning, my thoughts of Heaven focused on seeing my beloved grandparents again. All of whom I’d lost before the age of 18.

As the song played a switch flipped in my soul. It’s wasn’t about me – it was about God! How could have had it all so upside down?!

Up until that point my music listening habits included country music (thanks to my Dad) and whatever was playing on the local pop radio station, with some 80’s music thrown in.

I immediately had to have a copy of the song I Can Only Imagine and my radio station pre-sets were changed to every local contemporary Christian station I could find. I couldn’t get enough of music that praised the Lord and sang about my Savior.

God used music to light a fire down in my soul. Music became a powerful encourager for me to boldly live out my newly-ignited faith.

I had known who God was before that day, but there was a longing to be in His presence that I never experienced before.

I could hardly contain my excitement when I heard that the song that changed my life was going to be made into a movie!

It’s the song that brings ultimate hope to so many … often in the midst of life’s most challenging moments. Amazingly, the song was written in mere minutes by MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard. In reality, those lyrics took a lifetime to craft.

Although he found faith at a young age, life wasn’t easy for Bart. He leaned into an active imagination and his love of music as escapes from a troubled home life. As he grew older, Bart turned to football in hopes of somehow connecting with his abusive father. But a career-ending injury—combined with the vision of a teacher who saw unlimited potential—set Bart on a musical pathway.

Chasing a dream while running from broken relationships with father and Shannon, his childhood sweetheart, Bart hits the road on an old, decrepit tour bus with his new band MercyMe—named for his grandmother’s favorite expression. With the guidance of a grizzled music-industry insider, the band begins a journey none of them could ever have imagined.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE stars J. Michael Finley, Madeline Carroll, Trace Adkins, Priscilla C. Shirer, with Cloris Leachman and Dennis Quaid.

Check out this preview of the movie:

I share all of this for several reasons:

1. I Can Only Imagine would make a great Ladies Night Out. Send out an email and a blast on Facebook inviting your women to meet up for dinner and a movie in mid-March.

2. God can use music to breathe new life into the lives of your women. Play it in the background before an event begins. Be intentional when you plan worship. Show a music video.

3. As we work on all the details (publicity, food, décor, etc.) for our women’s ministry events, it can be easy to miss the point. If our women don’t have a relationship with Christ, none of this matters. We need to make certain we always tell them about Him.

I am beyond excited to be able to give away a set of two tickets via Fandango to see I Can Only Imagine.

CONTEST HAS ENDED – To be entered to win, please comment below by 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. I’d love to hear how Christian music has impacted your life.

Winner will be randomly selected and will be contacted via email and must respond within 24 hours to claim their prize. If necessary, another winner will be selected.

A full list of theaters, show times, and tickets can be found here.

Be sure to check out the official website for I Can Only Imagine.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

You may also want to read:
But did you tell them about Me?
13 Ideas for Sprinkling Your Event with Christmas Music
6 Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Using Music in Your Ministry
Choosing Worship Music
Worship Ideas for Your Retreat