Even though it was all around me, faith wasn’t something I inherited from my family. Despite never doubting I was a Christian, at the age of 22, I realized I had no idea what it meant to have a relationship with the Lord.
Moving to Nashville was a dream come true. I was halfway through my first record when I performed at the Grand Ole Opry. I was on an emotional high—but afterwards, I felt empty. I thought the experience would satisfy me, but it didn’t.
It was the next day that I ran into John, a friend I’d grown up with. We had spent time together in church, so I was taken aback when he grabbed me and with such conviction said, “Mo, Jesus has saved me! And I love Him.”
Hearing him say that with such passion scared me. In that moment, I realized I didn’t know Him like John knew Him. I didn’t eat or sleep much for the next week. I started reading my Bible every day. The more I read, the worse I felt. I had never experienced conviction like that. I wondered how this loving God could forgive me for the years I had rejected the Gospel and taken Him for granted.
It was after reading Psalm 107 that things changed, “… because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High, therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses …”
For the first time in my life, I felt a real, living God. I felt real love. He cracked my heart open and made me brand new. God had ordered my steps and prepared me to run into John that day. It was my chance to get it right.
It wasn’t long after that I was invited to participate in the Music with a Mission event in 2015 to benefit Nashville Rescue Mission. Ironically, my grandfather Rev. G.O. Pitney helped establish Rockford Rescue Mission back in the 1960s. Although I wasn’t involved in his work, I do have memories of a big room filled with cots for the men to sleep on. This gave me some idea as to the work the Mission was doing.
Had this invitation come before I was born-again, the old me would probably have taken my grandfather’s name and made a big deal about me for something he did. Instead, I’ve caught what my grandfather had … and that’s the spirit of God.
That’s what Nashville Rescue Mission is all about— Christ and what He’s doing and has done in the lives of people who have come to know Him.
This year I jumped at the chance to be a part of Music with a Mission, and to be a part of this family. I want to honor those who have given their life to do this type of work, like my grandfather. I know it requires enormous sacrifice. So it was my privilege to do that by sharing a gift that is easy for me to give … the gift of music.
I know if God could take my heart of stone and turn it into a heart that beats for Him, He can redeem anyone. This is the message the Mission boldly proclaims and makes real in very tangible ways—they give hope to those in need. Our city is all the better for the work Nashville Rescue Mission does each and every day.
Music was a family affair, and Pitney picked up the drums at six and guitar at 12. He signed with Curb and began working on bringing his songs and sound into alignment with his musical vision. To paraphrase one of his songs, a life in music is not a place on a map; it is a place in Mo Pitney’s heart.