Monday, April 11, 2011

John Mark McMillan

Last night we went to a John Mark McMillan concert. His songs are unlike any other kind of mainstream worship music out there; you'll never hear his original songs on the radio (although you'll hear his song How He Loves covered a hundred different ways) and you'll definitely never hear his songs sung in church. He reminds me of a modern day Johnny Appleseed (maybe it's the beard and plaid shirts); a grassroots Jesus follower whose music is more powerful than it is popular. And that's saying something.

The crowd was young - late teens, early twenties - and a bunch of kids with sweet hair, cool glasses and super trendy thrift store clothes: the quintessential hipsters. These are the kind of kids that church leaders have conferences about - the kind they want in their churches, but can never quite get in the doors... the ones they are constantly in state of unrest about... "Why isn't the twenty-something generation in church on Sunday? Where are they?!"

Answer: They're probably at John Mark McMillan concerts. Already worshiping their hearts out. McMillan's lyrics aren't exactly for the luke-warm either. Chances are, if you're young and you can't get enough of JMM's lyrics, you can't get enough of Jesus. I say all this as an observer; as someone who stood in that crowd in awe of all these unlikely followers of Christ, challenged and humbled in my half-hearted tendencies by their whole hearted passion.

When he broke into How He Loves, you just know the crowd had been waiting for it. Waiting to sing one of the biggest worship songs of the year with its humble author who had penned it many years ago. The experience was too powerful for words. If you don't know the story behind How He Loves, you can hear about it in the video below.

At one point John Mark sang the line, "Glory to One, God's murdered Son, who paid for my resurrection." He sang it a couple of times and then left the stage with the band, leaving the crowd in darkness as they repeated the line over, and over, and over. Then people started to stomp in time with the beat. And clap. And raise their hands. And the voices swelled and grew louder and more filled with the power of the lyric. And for five minutes I experienced something that was more powerful than a whole month, nay... year of church Sundays.


  1. Most excellent post, Lauren, very excellent. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I agree with your thoughts on why twenty-somethings aren't in church...

  2. Ain't gonna lie: How He Loves is my favorite worship song.
    And yeah, today has basically been my catch-up day for going through your blog.


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