John Mark McMillan is the type of person who can walk into a room and command attention. It’s not because he’s loud or brash or bragging, or because he’s most likely taller than everyone else in the room – but rather, due to his quiet confidence. John Mark has a very open and inviting personality. I imagine that he would willingly sit down with almost anyone and listen to their story, converse or even debate.
And as you may have noticed, he is an excellent songwriter. He possesses the talent and creativity to capture deep emotions and word them in a way that is both simple and accessible. He has penned the hit worship song, “How He Loves,” along with a total of four albums.
During my conversation with him, he vowed to “Answer any question you throw at me…except if it’s incriminating!” He held true to his word as he answered in depth, many of the questions that IVM readers had asked. Read on to find catch a glimpse into John Mark’s insight, heart and history.
In your opinion, is it possible for an artist to lose an anointing?
That’s a little bit of a complicated question, but ill give it a shot. You have to define what anointing is I guess. Is anointing the evidence of God’s…is it God endorsing what you do? That’s not necessarily true. But some people think of anointing as power, something they feel if they’re a musician.
Samson was totally using his gifts for evil. He used them for god and evil. He was given his gift by God to do good, but he wasn’t. Eventually he paid the price for it, but the Bible says that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” I think God gives you things and just because you don’t want to use them the way He wants you to doesn’t mean He’s going to take them away.
It’s possible to lose that anointing I guess? I think it’s possible to lose that connection with God that helps you become greater than who you were. It’s not like one day you wake up and something’s gone.
I think it has to do with pursuing the purpose God has for you. You might do something for a while and think – ‘this is what God wants me to do forever.” But maybe he wants to do it for a season. But because you love what you do you want to keep doing it. And because when you’ve done it , its always worked. But sometimes we need to stop and think, “what are we really supposed to be doing.”
So, can you lose an anointing? I guess you can. But you don’t ever lose the Holy Spirit unless you run away from it.
You’ve recently signed with Integrity Records. How has that been? How does your relationship with them affect/help your life as an artist?
I really like working with Integrity. It’s awesome because it’s really cool to have a team working for you. I have these visions of things I want to do. And now if I have an idea – I actually have people to call to help me accomplish them. It’s not like a bank where I can go get money or something. But if I want to record a video or do something with an album, I can go talk to people who help me get it done. Say I want to connect with people in Europe or Australia or on the West Coast – they will help me connect and pursue my goals. That’s what a record company is supposed to be. Sometimes things with labels go weird or go sour, but so far we’ve had a great relationship. They’re really excited about what we’re doing and my goals and vision and my dreams. What it came down tow as – independently I could do what I wanted to, but I couldn’t afford to do it. I recorded the albums exactly how I wanted to. I did it the way I wanted to. But then we go try to play it live and honestly half the time we couldn’t get the places we play to get the right gear, etc. everything that got done, I did myself. Now I have a team of people behind me. Obviously when you have a team you have to put up with a lot of opinions, but you also get the whole team. Things do take a lot longer to get though, I’ll tell you that much!
What has God been teaching you recently?
God’s been teaching me about people and about how to love people and how to be intentional about that. We think of loving people as being this spontaneous thing. But real love means making plans to do good to other people.
What was the inspiration behind The Medicine? I read that some of it came from your newborn son…is that correct?
I started having this resurrection theme in my writing. At the same time, my son was being born. So I watched him sort of appear out of nowhere. First he’s a little stripe on this little thing she [my wife] pees on. My whole world changed when I saw that little thing. All of a sudden he’s more there and more there and he’s getting big and then all of a sudden he’s all there.
Besides coming out of the ground, coming out of nothing idea of God creating things – He also creates out of nothingness situations and dark places and brings amazing things. It’s almost like God thrives on that.
I was looking at the resurrection of Jesus and the idea of resurrections throughout the Bible. I like the language and this idea that one day we’re all going to be resurrected. When we enter into a relationship with Him, we’re also resurrected into new life and when we daily become new people we’re resurrected. When I wake up each morning I’m resurrected from my sleep.
When you started playing music, what was your motivation? Did you plan to one day sign to a record label and be playing all these summer festivals? Did you ever think THIS would be happening? (not that THIS is a groundbreaking event or anything)
Originally, it was to impress girls haha. They weren’t impressed though. But after I learned to play I enjoyed creating. I loved sitting around and creating. I wanted to be involved in music and bands and to do that you had to have some sort of excuse.
I went through this really dark period. I was engaged and my fiancé broke up with me. I moved back home and was living with a buddy. My car died, I didn’t have a job and couldn’t sleep because I was really depressed. I’d stay up late at night with nothing to do so I’d sit on the front porch playing guitar and writing songs. Sometimes they were angry songs, sometimes just asking God why. People suddenly started paying attention to my music because I had something to say.