The debate over abortion exceptions for rape and incest may be a political football in Kentucky but, for Jason Lovins, it’s personal. His mother chose life for him 42 years ago.
Lovins’ mother was raped when she was 15 but decided against abortion. Lovins said the first time his mother heard his heartbeat; her mind was made up. “She said, ‘I want to keep this baby,’” Lovins said. “She’d planned on having me and giving me up for adoption.”
After Lovins was born, his mother made another critical decision. She decided to keep him. He was raised by his mother and grandmother — and today he is the front man for the Jason Lovins Band that led worship Nov. 12, at Pulaski County High School during the Anchored: Hope for Lake Cumberland crusade.
‘Thankful I’m here’
His band has been sharing the gospel through music and testimony for more than 20 years. Many have been impacted by listening to the band’s rich blend of traditional gospel and country music with contemporary worship. The talented and versatile band will have you singing along to familiar hymns, clapping your hands and stomping your feet and wiping away tears within three songs.
Lovins takes a few minutes to share his testimony at performances and there is always a praiseworthy reaction, he said.
At a college conference a few months ago, he said a young woman spoke with him after it was over saying she was pro-choice but, after hearing him, she didn’t know what to think. “‘I told her I can share with you my life. I’m thankful my mom chose life, and it gave me a shot. You can make it as hard and spiritual as you want, but I’m thankful I’m here.’ It just blew her mind.”
Lovins said it’s easy to debate the issue, but it takes on a different tone “when a real-life example of someone who has made it and made it OK” tells the story in person. “It goes to show the Lord can redeem these terrible situations and He does. It’s hard, I get it. I know far too many girls who just thought they have nowhere to turn (after getting pregnant). They didn’t think they could turn to their parents, or to the church, and the world is so loud. When Googling, the first thing they find is the local Planned Parenthood. I know far too many who have made these (abortion) choices and regret it.”
The Jason Lovins Ministry has become a nonprofit with part of the proceeds going toward pregnancy resource centers. He has direct relationships with people who are running the centers and “the ongoing theme is, they need money all the time,’’ he said.
Lovins said while “some have amazing support,” many are on a shoestring budget and local churches haven’t been quick to come alongside them. They need funds for ultrasound machines and even money for technical support to make sure their name comes up first during Google searches, instead of Planned Parenthood.
He said he hasn’t kept up with the politics but isn’t surprised that the rape and incest exceptions for abortions became an issue.
“You always hear all that,” he said. “I’m glad that didn’t happen to me. It’s that simple.”
Lovins said he never shared his story growing up because “I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me.”
But that all changed one night while his band was playing at a small church in eastern Kentucky. “The pastor came up to me the first night I shared my story and said, ‘You have to promise me you will keep telling that story. I don’t think you understand what God is going to do with your life.’ I honestly don’t remember the church, the pastor’s name or face. But I vividly remember the conversation, not even realizing but it changed my life.”
Lovins rarely misses an opportunity to share how his life was spared and what God has done with it.
The band has been successful for more than 20 years and in May was able to purchase a tour bus that makes travel a lot safer, more comfortable and faster. He said 2022 was the biggest year on record for JLB and 2023 was going to be a good year as well. The band will have its 11th album coming out after the first of the year, he said.
He last played a Kentucky Baptist Convention event in 2018 when JLB was the crusade band in Pikeville. Lovins said the band has worked out some arrangements with the crusade choir, which hopes to number in the high hundreds. He has much respect for KBC Worship and Music Consultant Jason “Bubba” Stewart, who was equally excited to have JLB back.
Lovins has also been in crusades with evangelist Clayton King, who he described as “fantastic.”
What to expect
So, what can the audience expect from the band that connects with all ages?
“In a setting like that, when you know there will be churches and people of all walks of life, we do what we do best. Kind of a variety (of songs) and meeting people where they are — old songs, energetic hymns — and we always do some new worship tunes and hit them with a couple of ours. We want to facilitate a worship experience for everybody to come together. That’s the goal every time.”
The band will play Sunday morning at Corinth Baptist Church in London before worshiping at the crusade that night.
Despite being from Ashland in northeastern Kentucky, most of the band’s performances have come outside of Kentucky. He said they have played in less than a dozen churches statewide while there have been hundreds of churches, mostly in the South, who have had them play concerts. They are extremely popular in Florida.
Lovins isn’t sure why they haven’t been in more Kentucky Baptist churches but added: “We’d love to play at more Kentucky churches closer to home. It’d be a blessing.”
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