Hillsong Worship Coming to Grand Rapids

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Hillsong Worship David WareWorship leader David Ware explains his hesitancy in referring to his Hillsong Worship musical events as “concerts.”

“We just pretty much do exactly what we would do when we’re at church,” explained Ware, 28, of worship at the huge Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.

“From the lighting we use, the graphics, the lyrics on-screen…everything so the people can engage and worship with us.”

     Hillsong’s mission is to be “the church that brings the new song in every season.” And its track record has lived up to its mission. Beginning with the anthemic “Shout to the Lord” of more than 20 years ago, songwriters and worship leaders from within the huge church have delivered modern worship standards such as “Inside Out,” “Cornerstone” and “Mighty To Save.”
     “All of our Hillsong Worship albums are results of worship songs that have touched the heart of our church,” noted Ware during an interview before an event in Baltimore, Md. on their current tour.
     “And so the songs on our new album (“No Other Name”) are literally from the heartbeat of the church and the devotion of our songwriters.” All the songs are recorded in live settings, offering the experiential feel of worship.

     Worship music is popular these days.
     Hillsong’s new CD debuted on the Billboard Top 200 as the 13th highest selling album in any genre of music its first week in stores. It immediately topped the Christian/Gospel, Praise & Worship, and Christian Digital Albums charts.
     Ware particularly notes one of the new songs called “This I Believe (The Creed”), with lyrics based on the historic Apostle’s Creed.
     “We are not a creedal church,” Ware noted of Hillsong which is affiliated with the Australian Assemblies of God.
     “But I couldn’t even tell you how many denominations or expressions of faith are represented at our worship nights. And one of the best things about that creed is that it says things you can believe in.”
     The album’s title song (“No Other Name”) is currently in the top 5 on Christian radio worship charts.
     Ware says he has no mixed emotions about the popularity of the music on sales charts, on the radio or otherwise in the public eye.
     “I think we have a responsibility to present Jesus to people in as many facets as possible,” he said.
     “If you’ve been given a gift, you’re a steward of that gift to see it reach its full potential.”
     Hillsong Worship (the group recently changed its name from Hillsong Live) is just one of three major music groups to emerge from the Hillsong Church. Hillsong Worship is the umbrella ensemble most representative of its worship style.
    There is also Hillsong UNITED, which originally came out of the church’s youth ministry and has pushed the boundaries into sounds not typical in Christian music.
     The newest group is Hillsong Young & Free, a more youth-oriented group whose debut album (“We Are Young & Free”) and a song are nominated for 2014 Dove Awards (www.doveawards.com).
     In fact, Hillsong groups have garnered 10 Dove nominations in all, including overall Song of the Year, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail).”
     The current Hillsong Worship group includes seven or eight members, including Ware, Tarryn Stokes, Autumn Hardman, and Ben Fielding, who co-wrote “Mighty To Save” with worship leader Reuben Morgan.
                   HIS OWN JOURNEY
     Ware is a native of New Zealand and had a challenging upbringing which included abuse, even though he grew up as part of a church.
     He admitted to making some dumb decisions and he recalled that as a teen he thought about taking his own life.
     “But I had a radical God encounter, and growing up in a Christian home actually made it harder to accept Christ because I had been putting on a front.”
     He began attending a different church and gravitated to a youth ministry and became involved in music playing drums. Various connections led him to Australia and the Hillsong Church.
     “I feel now it’s my job to encourage some of these younger guys coming up – to keep the main thing the main thing, make it about Jesus and people.”
                             ON THE TOUR
     Along on this U.S. tour is Australian speaker/author Christine Caine, co-founder of The A-21 Campaign, an effort to fight human trafficking. She is expected to make a presentation at the local gathering.
     Ware says that song selection on the tour includes several of the new tunes. He said it feels a bit odd that they have not been doing “Shout to the Lord.”
     “We have so many songs that people want to sing, and people are really grabbing the new songs. The crowds have been electric and full of faith that it is really easy to lead worship.”
      Hillsong Church has multiple sites in Australia, and now has campuses in Europe, South Africa and in the U.S. in New York City and Los Angeles. Look for more music to come, as additional worship leaders and songwriters are finding their places and voices within their faith communities.
Just the Facts:
Hillsong Worship – “No Other Name”
7:30 p.m. Sun. Aug. 31
Resurrection Life Church, 5100 Ivanrest Ave. SW. Grandville
Tickets: at press time, tickets were sold out.
Information: 616-249-3724; www.premierproductions.com
Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

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