Australian megachurch Hillsong has influenced Christian
worship far and wide, with its songs like "Mighty to Save" and
"Awesome God" routinely belted out in churches around the
world. The Pentecostal church's music ministry has proven so
pivotal to modern Christian worship that its United brand is the
subject of a new documentary and, along with Hillsong's other
mainstays (UNITED and Young & Free), has racked up this year
10 GMA Dove Award nominations.
But what is behind 31-year-old Hillsong Church's singing
for Hillsong Church's Australian campuses, the secret of
Hillsong's success is simple — keeping Jesus front and center.
The church recently displayed its commitment to lifting up the
name of Jesus with a campaign in New York City that saw nearly
two dozen digital screens play in a video loop for one hour the
name and phrase, "Jesus" and "No Other Name." The campaign,
centered in the Times Square tourist hot spot, unfolded on the
occasion of Hillsong Worship's latest album "No Other Name,"
also the theme of this year's annual Hillsong Conference.
Hardman, who just wrapped up Hillsong Church's 2014 Europe
conference leg and was preparing for its October stop in NYC,
conducted a brief Q&A via email with The Christian Post about
her ministry work and the heartbeat of Hillsong's worship.
CP: Please explain your role with Hillsong Church? What exactly
is "worship oversight?"
Hardman: I work under our Global Creative Pastors, Cassandra
and Richard Langton, overseeing the day-to-day runnings of our
Worship Teams across our 12 Australian campuses.
CP: How big is the team you work with, and how is it organized
(since there are many Hillsong locations)?
Hardman: I work with between 20-30 staff, who then have local
volunteer creative teams in each campus. The local campus
team size varies depending on its location, size of congregation,
etc. Some local creative teams are around 50 people, others like
our main Hills campus have over 500 volunteers within the
creative team at that campus alone, so probably all up across
our campuses, our creative team would be approximately 2,000
CP: How long have you been with the ministry/church? And what compelled you to join the Hillsong family?
Hardman: I came to Hillsong 11 years ago to attend Bible
College for one year but obviously God had other plans. I served
as a volunteer on our creative team during that time, and ended
up coming on staff through that a few years later when I finished
Bible college. I always admired the music at HIllsong, and when
I came to church for the first time, I absolutely fell in love with
the heart and soul of this church, its simple message and
passion for loving Jesus and loving others.
churches around the world. Why do you think the ministry's
music resonates so broadly?
Hardman: Our aim as a church is simple – to lift up the name of
Jesus. It's as simple as that. The worship music of our House
has always been an expression of that. Over the years, the genre
and the sound (have) evolved, but the message has stayed the
same. We always have been, and always will be about lifting up
the name of Jesus.
CP: What three words would you use to describe the heartbeat/
motivation or goals of Hillsong worship?
Hardman: Pretty much as stated in the previous question. Our
motivation as a worship team is first and foremost our love for
Jesus, and our desire to make His name great, and our desire to
see the Gospel spread and shared throughout the earth with the
tools of creativity that have been placed in our hands. Our hope
would be that we would serve Jesus and others with every
breath we take, and that we would be good stewards of the
responsibility and gifts placed within our hands.
Hardman: I help in the planning, overseeing, and creation of
much of the music, creativity of our conferences, and Music
Direct, and play keys as well.
CP: What are the priorities for the worship team/ministry during
Hardman: The priorities include obviously leading praise and
worship, working together as a team, leading prayer meetings,
teaching/sharing at electives and break-out sessions, and
supporting and helping our church leadership team however we
CP: How much planning/preparation does the team put in before
Hardman: We begin planning a conference a minimum of 12
months out, and the months leading up to any conference have
hours and hours of work, dreaming, strategizing, creating, and
designing stages. [Plus] creative moments, incorporating
hundreds of volunteers, dancers, painters, builders,
photographers, etc. in rehearsing, executing creative moments,
leading worship, and in general supporting the conference
however we can.
CP: How does the team help balance leading people in worship
of God, while also maintaining a level of excellence, or meeting
audience exceptions for the program?
Hardman: Preparation is key. The more prepared we are as a
team, both in our heart and our skill, the more we are able to
confidently lead both in worship, and in excellence.
Hillsong Church was founded in 1983 by Pastors Brian and
Bobbie Houston and welcomes about 30,000 worshipers every
weekend at 12 campuses scattered around the world. In
Australia, Hillsong has six campuses and twice as many
extension services. The megachurch is affiliated with the
Australian Christian Churches (the Assemblies of God in
Australia). Hillsong Church online: http://hillsong.com/