||The 700 Club
Don explains how he records music with the
help of Chris Sligh.
Behind the scenes of America's top-rated
from the WorshipIdeas.com newsletter, 06/06:
When was the last time
people lined up to
get into your
I've been in England the past two weeks for
the wedding of Tim Light [he wrote the now
popular "Our God Reigns" which
you can download for free at WorshipIdeas.com.] Since I was on that side of the planet
I thought I'd pop over to Hillsong London
for their Sunday service.
Hillsong Church, as you might know, started
in Sydney, Australia and is the home to a
herd of popular worship leaders like Darlene
Zschech, Reuben Morgan and Hillsong United.
Now they're starting to plant churches in
Europe. The plant in London, seven years
old, is booming.
They have a Saturday night service, plus
three Sunday services in the Dominion Theater
in the heart of London. The theater shows
the hit musical "We Will Rock You"
during the week but is off Sundays, giving
Hillsong a sliver of time to set up their
stage, worship, and tear down.
The head pastor from Sydney, Brian Houston,
was in London and preached. Services went
overtime and I waited in a "que"
[UK term for waiting in line] of over 500
people. I got a lump in my throat seeing
all those people curving around the corner,
and another corner, and another corner, waiting
to get into a worship service in secularized,
unchurched London! Each packed service holds
roughly 2,000 people, so I guess they're
running over 6,000 every Sunday.
As I waited "in que" I spoke to
a Hillsong worker who helped keep the line
moving. He said he lived over an hour outside
London, but travels in each week to be a
part of Hillsong.
I didn't know much about Hillsong apart from
their music, but I must say I'm extremely
impressed. Somehow I've managed to visit
some of the top churches in the world in
the past 6 months, and I'm here to say that
churches that do things right grow. It's that simple.
A mood of anticipation is set before the
service with ambient music and a cool video
loop. The praise team then appeared on stage
and kicked off one of the most exciting worship
sets I've experienced in some time. It was
professional and heartfelt - God showed up.
A single worship leader led from guitar with
a full band. To his left and right were four
vocalists who basically hopped up and down
like "the kids" do these days.
For us older folks were three vocalists to
the side who stood still with mic stands.
No announcements! The two-hour service was
simply worship and preaching. Each person
was handed a booklet/bulletin containing
the goings-on of the church.
They're a passionate group. And that's what
it's really about, anyway - passion - and
Hillsong has so much you can't help but be
sucked in. Worship continued for about 40
minutes. Then they showed a short video about
Hillsong Sydney - evidently they've just
purchased a patch of land downtown and are
planning a brand new, state-of-the-art worship
center. Another video honored people who
serve in various ministries of the church
- setup, music, greeting team, etc. Pastor
Brian then spoke a relevant message.
I've heard criticism that Hillsong preaches
a get-rich type Gospel. I can understand
where people would get that, but from what
I heard and saw their thrust is helping people
live a Biblically based better life, not
necessarily a rich life. For instance, a
Hillsong magazine I picked up at the church
had an article with tips for getting out
of debt. The theme of the article was basically
this: think of what could be done to build
the Kingdom with the interest alone from
our credit cards! So let's get out of debt
so we can help fund God's work.
Another Hillsong hallmark is the constant
reminder to reach out. Not the old-time guilt-trip
soulwinning tactics, but a real concern for
people. At the end of the service, the London
pastor encouraged everyone to make a connection
with an unbeliever during the coming week.
A final, upbeat song closed
Claps and cheers, nobody
was leaving. The
worship leader laughed
and said "Guys...
we only have time for one
claps and cheers. So the
band launched into
"One Way" and
I will never forget
the thrill of 2,000 people
roaring that song.
When was the last time people refused to
leave your worship service?