ooking for a musician with a rock star aura? With
Bart Millard of MercyMe, you’ll need to keep
looking. He’s as “regular guy” as it gets, with a hearty
laugh and plenty of stories from the road (they’re G-rated and
funny, a rare combination). GCU TodayMagazine recently
had a chance to visit withMillard about his music, his life
and his new role as director of the University’s Center for
Worship Arts, which launches this fall.
What are the current trends in
Christian music?
Right now, worship music is what’s selling records.
Chris Tomlin’s been in it forever, but now you have Kari
Jobe, Jesus Culture, Bethel and Hillsong. These are worship
leaders who are plugged into their churches.
Who influenced you to become a
worship leader?
One day after school, I was playing the piano in
church. My choir director was 75 at the time, and I
saw him watching me. He said, “If you ever go into
ministry, if you ever do this, you’ve got to figure out
a way to peel open your chest and let them see your
heart on a regular basis.” … Onstage, I become more
emotional and I’ll say things I wouldn’t say to my
brother. Who would follow you if you didn’t convince
them you’re worth following? Nobody’s looking for
perfect — they’re just looking for passion.
You’ve lost a noticeable amount of weight over
the past two years. How did you do it?
I’ve lost about 120 pounds. I was pushing 350. When I
turned 40, my doctor said, “Hey, dude, you’ve got some red
flags here.” That was on a Monday (in January 2012), and
on Tuesday he had me scheduled for weight-loss surgery, a
procedure known as a gastric sleeve. I was on tour about a
week (after the surgery), and by the end of the tour I had
exhaustion issues. I got a monthlong recovery — it was just
three months later than it should have been.
You and your wife, Shannon, have five children.
Got a parenting tip to share?
If I’m going to keep preaching grace, it has to show
up there. The rules at our house are pretty simple: Don’t
disrespect one another, and try to be polite. …Whatever
my parents did, I try to figure out the opposite (laughs).
There are things I learned the hard way. We talk about
stuff I know I never talked to my dad about. If you’re
worried about being a good parent, then you’re probably a
good parent.
Your favorite backstage memory?
In about 2004, we were on tour with Michael
W. Smith and the David Crowder Band. They put
together something called the Tiki Tent, which had a
Hawaiian theme. There was a fire pit, recliners and
grilled food every night. Toward the end of the tour,
we had people coming just to see it. We’d hang out
there until 2 a.m. For the Phoenix stop, they filled
up inflatable kiddie pools for people to stand in, the
pavement was so hot.
Got Your
5 ON 5 WITH...
A record number of
new students are
arriving on GCU’s
Phoenix campus this
week as 2014-15 gets
off to an exciting start.
Check out these stats:*
The number of studentswho continue
living on campus fromyear to year has
increased from65 percent tomore than
80percent, according toMattHopkins,
director of Residence Life. He’s curious
to seewhether it will be even higher for
the new Papago Apartments, which
opened this month. Available only
to upperclassmen, the two Papago
buildings (Nos. 47 and 48) will house
928 students and offer two floor plans,
with single-occupancy bedrooms in
all units. The four-bedroom, two-bath
setup features a shared kitchen and
living room. “I think the kitchen is a
big draw — it’s a full-fledged kitchen,”
Hopkins said. Papago has two
workout facilities and a pool, and oh by
the way, it’s also a more spacious new
home for the Residence Life staff, so it
must be good.
new students
number of states
they’re from
percent from
registered in the
B.S. in Nursing,
the largest major
in the B.S. in
the second
largest major
(*As of July 31, 2014)
Bart Millard,
Center for
Worship Arts
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