GREENVILLE—For the Texas-based band MercyMe, "The Generous Mr. Lovewell" is more than just the title of their latest CD. It’s a call to action and a reminder of the need to share the gospel by loving others well.
The Generous Mr. Lovewell album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 SoundScan chart during its first week of sales and claimed the No. 1 spot on the overall Contemporary Christian SoundScan chart.
To tie in with the theme of their sixth studio album, the band created a series of YouTube videos, along with a website, Facebook and Twitter accounts to promote Mr. Lovewell, a fictional character who extends kindness to others and is holding a heart-shaped balloon on their album cover.
They have also partnered with radio stations for a nationwide “Lovewell Campaign.” In this campaign, listeners were asked to nominate a family or individual who needed a little extra short-term help. The chosen recipients received $500 from the band to assist with needs such as mortgage, health bills, car or groceries.
As band members have traveled across the country and performed concerts, they have been sharing Christ’s love with others while serving food and washing dishes at rescue missions.
“We need to let people know why Christians are called to make a difference,” said lead singer Bart Millard, who grew up in Greenville, where his grandfather, Lloyd Lindsey, served as pastor of Ardis Heights Baptist Church throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.
“Our prayer is that this concept would mobilize the body of Christ to encourage people in word and deed.
“For some of us, the idea of loving others well means that we need to put hands and feet on our ideology and rhetoric. For others, it means that we need to continue in doing well, but not to stop there. If we really believe that we have this hope in Christ and then stop short and not be the hands and feet of Jesus, it seems almost offensive.”
The band has been inundated with e-mails from people who are finding ways to share Christ’s love through displaying random acts of kindness across the country.
“It’s incredibly humbling to see the love well idea take flight,” Millard said.
“There are so many people out there living for Christ and truly sharing his love in the lives of others. I am in awe and incredibly thankful for the opportunity to witness it all.”
Band members came up with the “love well” theme and desired to make a greater impact for the kingdom after returning from a mission trip to a poverty-stricken province in the Dominican Republic, where they sponsor children through Com-passion International.
“We always heard ‘you come back different’ from a trip like that, and sure enough, it turned our world upside down,” Millard said.
“We came back disgusted with ourselves and what we had considered important in life. It was time to relate this message to our audience and to churches. We wanted to figure out how we might do something about improving the way we love each other, at home or halfway around the globe.
“Our desire is that the love well theme and songs will lead people to have a relationship with Christ. It doesn’t have to be about major sacrifices. Just let your life become such that people will know what you stand for.”
Drummer Robby Shaffer agreed. “The whole idea behind this theme is to call the church to action,” he said. “To apply what Scripture says, basically putting action with our faith and using these acts of kindness to lead people to the cross. If we don’t share the key to eternal life with others, it’s the most selfish way to live. We need to make sure that we’re not just loving others, but we’re loving others well by sharing the gospel.”