2018’s movie of the year is not Avengers: Infinity War.  Hitting theater on March 16th, it is the absolutely incredible I Can Only Imagine!  I had the privilege of seeing an advanced screening and this movie is simply can’t-miss!

I Can Only Imagine is, of course, named after the hit song written by Bart Millard of Mercy Me.  Bart Millard of the group Mercy Me, who grew up in an extremely abusive home, penned the words after his freshly-redeemed father died of cancer.  This film is the story of their relationship and the song which flowed from it.

I cannot recommend this movie enough!  Obviously, it is a Christian film.  The story is sometimes heartbreaking but ultimately incredibly inspirational.  Take your entire family, Sunday School class, small group, and unchurched friends to see it.

If you have any issues with family abuse or dysfunction, then you should make seeing this movie a top priority.  For me, the movie was like looking into a mirror.

The following are 29 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From I Can Only Imagine The Movie:

  1. A Father Is The Most Influential Person In Your Life – God has given fathers a disproportionate level in influence in their children’s lives.  Arthur, played by the incredible Dennis Quaid, was easily the most influential person in Bart’s life.  The same could be said for every young boy or girl.
  2. Youth Ministry Makes A Lasting Impact In A Child’s Life – Bart’s first exposure to church and Christianity was at a church summer camp.  While there, he wrote in a journal what he wanted God to do in his life.  He later found this journal as an adult.  Youth ministers and those who invest in a child’s life make investments which often show up twenty-to-thirty years later.
  3. Jesus Christ Can Change Anyone – Bart said of his redeemed father, “If Christ can change that dude then He can change anyone.”
  4. Bart said of the song I Can Only Imagine, “The lyrics took about 10 minutes.”  Amy Grant replied, “You didn’t write this song in 10 minutes.  It took a lifetime.”
  5. Bitterness Destroys Dreams – A bitter and alcoholic Arthur told his young son, “Dreams don’t pay the bills. Nothing good ever comes from it.”
  6. Christian Music Can Change The Direction Of Your Life – Even as a young child, Bart found a sense of peace and security listening to Christian music.  God was always planting seeds in his life.  I’m sorry, secular music simply cannot comfort your soul.
  7. All Sons Are Seeking The Approval And Love Of Their Father – Bart played high school football.  The reason he gave was “I tried to get good at the only thing my dad cared about.”
  8. Life’s Disappointments Are Often God’s Redirections – Bart was injured playing football.  This forced him to join the Glee Club as the only available elective since he could no longer attend gym class.
  9. As Christians We Need People To Recognized Our Gifts And Give Us Opportunities To Use Them – The school’s music teacher, played by Priscilla Shirer, said, “You have a gift Bart and in my class you will use it or fail.”
  10. Everyone Belongs In Church – Prior to giving his life to Christ, Arthur told Bart, “I don’t belong there (church).”
  11. You Must Have Private Obedience Before Receiving Public Opportunities – Mercy Me paid their dues.  While they were getting started, they took gigs for no money.
  12. God Wants To Use Your Personal Story – We all have a few things in common.  We all have a name.  We all have a story.  All of our stories matter to God and He wants to use them.
  13. Everyone Gets Better With A Coach – Though he had incredible natural talent, Bart got exponentially better when they brought on Brickell, played by Trace Adkins, as the group’s manager.
  14. God Has Placed A Song In Everyone’s Heart – Brickell told “You must find your song.”
  15. God Has The Final Word In Our Lives – After watching Mercy Me perform, a group of record executives told Bart, “You’re not good enough.”  How did that turn out?
  16. “NO” means Next Opportunity – Rather than giving up, this rejection simply made Bart more determined.
  17. Unforgiveness Puts A Lid On How Much God Can Use You – Because he had never forgiven his father, Bart never fully gave himself to the music.
  18. We All Need Someone Who Believes In Us – Brickell told Bart after his rejection, “I don’t always believe in your music but I believe in you.”
  19. Leaders Need Encouragers During Times Of Crisis – After being rejected by all the music executives, Bart asked his fellow band members, “We’re still a band?”  They responded, “No.  We’re a family.”  They then let him take a few weeks off to go reconcile with his father.
  20. It takes courage to build a bridge with someone you hate.
  21. New Christians Have Wonderfully Honest Questions – As Arthur began telling Bart about how Jesus had changed his life, he asked, “Leviticus, what is this?”
  22. Your Family Is The Hardest People For You To Forgive – Arthur asked Bart, “You can forgive everyone else.  Why can’t you forgive me?”
  23. God Is Probably Asking You To Forgive Someone Right Now – Bart admitted, “God is asking me to forgive my dad.”
  24. “Redemption – making something out of nothing.”
  25. A Good Man Leaves An Inheritance – Knowing his son was struggling to get traction with his ministry, Arthur set up a financial trust and installment distribution plan to supplement his career.  He told him, “Pay attention to that (gift of singing).  You’ll get a check every month so you can chase your dream.  I want you to catch it.”  As only God could plan it, the final check arrived the same month the song was released.
  26. For Christians This World Is Not Our Home.  Our Citizenship Is In Heaven. – Bart noted after his father’s death, “Dad is finally home.”
  27. Jesus Can Make You Love People You Previously Hated – Bart beamed when he said, “My dad was a monster.  I saw God take him from being the man I hated to the man I wanted to become.”
  28. God Uses Humble Leaders – You have to watch the movie but Amy Grant had every right to sing I Can Only Imagine.  Just before she was to sing the first note, she stopped the concert and called Bart to the stage.  She then told him, “If someone should sing a song that special it’s you.”  Because of Amy’s humility and receptivity to the Holy Spirit, the rest is Christian history.
  29. God Uses Forgiveness And Repentance To Bless Others – Because Bart was willing to make the God-honoring and courageous decision forgive his father, millions have been comforted because of how God has used his life.

Perhaps there is someone you need to forgive today.  There is no telling what God will do through your God-honoring and courageous act as well.


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