As Hillsong churches have exploded into life around the world there are certain things that people have come to expect, dynamic expression, fellowship groups and, of course, a worship experience. It's what Hillsong has become known for and to use one of their own phrases, it's in their DNA. So I took the opportunity to meet up with Josh, Jay and Dan from the Hillsong Worship Team working in the London Church to find out about their view of the worship and their aim and the pressures that come with the name Hillsong.
Hillsong London has grown in the last few years. Is there pressure on the church to be a particular leader in worship?
"I think there is really always going to be an element of that. It kind of goes with the territory a little bit of being a "Hillsong" church, but that is not what we pander to, if you know what I mean? Our focus when we are leading worship is actually our church and the people who come week in, week out. They are actually our priority and that's our first thought is towards them and actually how can we help those people in worship and help them encounter God."
What makes Hillsong London different from Young and Free or Hillsong Australia?
"The DNA is the same. Hillsong Young and Free and Hillsong United are bands that do worship in our church and for our church, but they have a big mantle to carry outside of our church as well. A lot of the songs are birthed within our church. For the team here at Creation Fest we are all part of the worship team at Hillsong London and that's kind of what we do week in, week out, and we will all be back leading church on Sunday. In terms of DNA we're the same. I think that's what makes it incredible is that you go to Hillsong churches around the world and it may look a little different, but there is something about it that feels the same wherever you go."
How do you cope with the worship / performance divide? I can see the heart behind it, but some people see it and say it's just a performance.
"We do church in a theatre, our main campus in London is in a West End theatre, it comes with lights, sound and it's there so why not use it, but use it in a way that enhances the worship experience. So actually rather than drawing attention to what is happening it's actually helped to create an atmosphere where it's actually easy for people to worship. That's always our goal with any of our stuff, whether it's what we put on the screens, lighting, sound, it's actually there to help people worship rather than detract from that happening."
Have you guys been through the recording process? Have you got an album that you have done as Hillsong London?
"Because Hillsong has grown over the last number of years and there are Hillsong churches all across the globe and what we do is we have a couple of albums that we do a year, and one of those is the Hillsong worship album. So basically as Hillsong churches across the globe we contribute to that one album, rather than every church doing their own album which would be kind of crazy and a bit of overload really. Its actually just about making the Hillsong Worship album and contributing towards that."
Does it become more of a collective feel for these albums? A lot of church worship seems to be being written and generated this way these days.
"It is definitely, but at the same time there is a sound to what we do, so everything comes within that. Because it's not like there's flamenco from South America or whatever, we're all trying to make the same thing."
Dan added, "Although I would actually like to hear that - a flamenco Hillsong album!"
Is there anything personal that God is speaking to you about at the moment, through the worship and the songs that are being written?
"I'm stuck on a thought, and we've been doing a whole series in youth ministry about "Fearless" and how perfect love casts out fear which it talks about in the Bible, so I guess my thought that I have been stuck on for a while is; That your [God's] love is a place of perfect peace where my fear and faith collide. When your fear and faith collide actually the result is peace."