PIKEVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Jason Lovins’ life story keeps people on the edges of their seats as he confides that he was conceived in the rape of a 15-year-old girl as she walked home from the pool.
And how that young Christian gave him life rather than have an abortion.
Lovins tours the country singing with his band and telling people about forgiveness, redemption and the depth of God’s love from a perspective that is both heartwrenching and heartwarming.
With his Jason Lovins Band, he will share his story at “Hope for the Mountains,” a one-day crusade Nov. 11 sponsored by the Kentucky Baptist Convention at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville.
Todd Gray, who leads the Kentucky convention’s evangelism team, said Lovins’ riveting testimony, coupled with his musical talents and his ties to the Appalachian region, made him a natural choice for the crusade. Lovins will be followed on stage by evangelist Jon Reed, the crusade preacher. The crusade begins at 6:30 and admission is free.
The Jason Lovins Band, based in Appalachia with its rich history of country and southern gospel music, has blended praise and worship music with the old hymns of the church for a unique sound that has gained national attention.
Things typically get quiet when Lovins tells of being born into a Christian family where abortion was not an option, no matter what the circumstances. When it became evident that his mother, Lisa, was pregnant, the first thing his grandmother and mother did was go to church to pray about it. The answer was clear that this baby was to have life and to live it in glory to the Lord.
Being raised by his mother and grandparents, his very first memory is attending his mother’s high school graduation when he was 3 years old. And what did the family tell him about his father? They made it clear that even though he didn’t have an earthly father, Jason had a heavenly Father who loved him more than he could even know. He grew up secure in a loving family as well as the family he had at church.
Life wasn’t simple for Lovins, who was sometimes uncomfortable explaining his situation.
“When I was young, I would lie about it and make up a story to explain where my dad was,” he said. “It wasn’t that I was embarrassed, as I accepted the actuality of my story at a very young age…. I felt like a normal kid. The fact is that I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, so I’d make something up.”
Lovins received a love of music from his family, especially his grandmother. He remembers attending church and watching her gospel group perform and that started his career playing guitar and singing with the ensemble.
In 2000, he met a group of musicians who met together at the Baptist campus ministry each day at 4 p.m. at Morehead State University, where they jammed and made music for Jesus. They were so diligent about starting every day at the same time, they were dubbed the 4 O’Clock Band.
“And it stuck,” Lovins said. The 4 O’Clock Band had some early success playing youth camps and churches, and it was around this time that he started telling his story.
“I think that I realized that I could help people by telling my story and that is what God was speaking to me,” Lovins recounted. “At camp one summer I met a 16-year-old girl who was raped and had a baby from it. I shared my story and I believe that was the first time that she discovered that she wasn’t alone in the world.”
It was two years later that Lovins folded the 4 O’Clock Band and the Jason Lovins Band was launched with new members. The group started honing their sound and, in the process, developing an impressive following, which led to a booking one summer to lead worship at a Lifeway Centrifuge camp. After that, the band began touring, with requests from churches, state conferences, revivals and student camps.
Today the band, with Lovins, Jose Mendoza, Rodney Mora, Ryan Smith and Aaron Crozier, has proven popular with all age groups.
“We did a crusade in Arizona and one of the Billy Graham guys made a comment in a meeting. He said, ‘I don’t know who these guys are but I walked to their table and they’re taking pictures with little kids. Then they went inside and were taking pictures with old women and families. I’ve never seen anybody that can reach all ages like that.’ That’s how we’ve always been.”
The Jason Lovins Band tours about 40 weeks a year through the Southeast and Northeast. In Kentucky, they have been an annual visitor to First Baptist Church in Pikeville and play at churches in Lovins’ home area of northeastern Kentucky.