CBNNews.com - They could never imagine.
Ever since MercyMe made their debut in 2001 with their smash hit, I Can Only Imagine, they have released an album every year except for 2003.
The song was number one on Christian radio, then garnered mainstream success when it was played on radio stations across the country in 2003. Success of Imagine, as the band calls it, was driven by the American public calling in to radio stations begging them to play the song.
Click on the video player to hear more from Mercy Me on the 700 Club promoting their new CD and talking about what's important in their lives.
I Can Only Imagine was written by lead singer Bart Millard in just ten minutes (Bart's father died in 1991 due to cancer).
"When my father died, he left me with the assurance that he was headed to a better place," says Bart. "For several years after his death, I would find myself writing the phrase I can only imagine on anything I could find."
Years later when the band was writing songs for its freshman project, Bart stumbled across an old notebook with the phrase penned on it "I can only imagine." People think it's amazing that Bart wrote the song in a short time.
"Really it had been on my heart for almost ten years," he says. The song continues to comfort grieving people everywhere and is still a favorite on radio playlists nationwide today.
If there ever was a dilemma with the success of Imagine, it was that the song went mainstream and took them to a new level of popularity. The band found themselves wondering, "Can we get on Leno again?" They had to get to the point where they didn't care whether they got on late-night television.
"That was probably the first time we really sat down as a band and started asking questions like What is it we are called to do? We realized that for whatever reason, our call is to reach out to the hurting, to help people get through difficult times," says Bart. "We just decided this is who we are and what we are called to do."
All That Is Within
Their latest project, All That is Within Me, is an album that came out of the band members' hearts.
"Among the six of us, we love all kinds of different music, but the more worshipful moments in any song always lead to our favorite moments on stage," says Bart.
The song, God With Us, was lyrically inspired by a question Bart's pastor asked: Why does God look our way?
A week before the cover art for the album was due, each band member was given a disposable camera and asked to take photos of all that is within him. The photos were turned over to a designer and arranged.
"The first thing I did was walk to my father's grave," says Bart. "I live less than a mile from where he's buried. He would get such a kick out of all that has happened to MercyMe and his part in it. When you look at these pictures and hear the new music, you'll know this is who we are."
Besides all the work that goes with being on the road, the band members are married and have ten kids among them - none over the age of six.