Names are important.
Expectant parents deliberate endlessly over the name of
their forthcoming child.
Businesses, bands, organizations take great care and
pride in selecting a moniker around which to create and
build their brand.
At the basest level, names provide a means of organizing
things of this world. Beyond that, names are the gateway by
which identity is acknowledged, assumed or assigned
Names matter, at least within the context of humanity. That
which is bound by the earth is bound with a name.
Hillsong has had lots of names. Founded as the Hills
Christian Life Center in 1983, the evolution of the church into
a global ministry has involved various identities — Hillsong
, Hillsong Live
, Hillsong Young & Free
recently, Hillsong Worship
Year after year, new music spills forth from each of these
entities. Week after week, thousands of people pour into the
seats and pews of Hillsong’s multiple campuses. Names such
as Darlene Zschech, Reuben Morgan, Brooke Fraser and Joel
Houston have been associated with Hillsong throughout the
years; and their live events invariably affirm their global following,
evidenced by selling out such venues as the Staples
Center in Los Angeles. All of these indicators scream that Hillsong
is engaging and affecting the world. At the same time,
all of these indicators beg the question, “Who is Hillsong?”
“We are a local church,” says Annie Garratt, one of the
worship leaders within Hillsong Worship. “We are a family
doing life together. We are blown away and humbled every
day that we get to be a part of this incredible church.”
is somewhat of an understatement when it comes
to the history and impact of Hillsong around the world. Upon
its founding, the church quickly grew, expanding to multiple
campuses across Australia and the world, including London,
Stockholm, Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles
many others. All the while, the music that emerged from
HIllsong’s dynamic worship team began to revolutionize
In 1992, Geoff Bullock penned “The Power of Your Love.”
Darlene Zschech followed shortly thereafter with the epic
“Shout to the Lord.”
Since then, songwriters such as Reuben Morgan, Joel
Houston, Brooke Fraser and Matt Crocker, among others,
have created a catalogue of songs that have done more
than expand the concept of worship; they have translated
foundational spiritual truths to a generation.
“You can remember songs for a long time,” says David
Ware, also a worship leader in Hillsong Worship. “We are
teaching our churches theology. We’re trying to present
ancient truths in new ways. It’s so great to have people
singing and declaring truth.”
From top to bottom, the latest album, also the first to emanate
from the name Hillsong Worship, does just that. No Other
“speaks to the power of the name of Jesus,” says David.
Given that Hillsong, as an entity, engages the power of
naming to define its various components, the album is a bold
statement declaring that no name—not even any of theirs—
comes close to the power of the name of their Savior. That
sentiment came to life even more so during the photo shoot
for this new album, which was also introducing the newly
monikered Hillsong Worship.
Amazingly, their creative team negotiated the use of 27
marquees in the middle of Times Square to simultaneously
bear their message to the world for 20 minutes. Due to a
scheduling glitch, they ended up with a full hour for free. So,
for 60 minutes, in the midst of what many consider to be the
global hub for music, news, entertainment and more, these
words appeared on the screens:
NO OTHER NAME.
There was no mention of hills or songs or even worship.
With the eyes of the world upon them, on arguably
the greatest marketing real estate in the world, Hillsong
deflected the gaze of the onlookers skyward. It’s a technique
they’ve been honing for years and a passion God set upon
their hearts long ago.
“It was a little snapshot of what we hope the album will
accomplish,” says Annie. “These are songs for the church.
Our hope is that people will encounter Jesus. We’re actually
The depth of the lyrical content reveals just how seriously
they take their evangelistic charge.
“My personal favorite song on the record,” offers Annie, “is
one that is based on the Apostle’s Creed. An Anglican minister
tweeted us at the start of the year asking us to turn the
Apostle’s Creed into a song. We started working together, and
the song took shape. We work-shopped it with the Anglican
minister and our teaching pastor. Now, it is headed soon to
the underground church in China. We can’t wait.”
“It has had a unifying power,” David adds. “We’ve heard it
at churches across the world. We were even invited to share
the song with forty-three members of Parliament. We weren’t
trying to write something to replace the creed but to help a
young generation get hold of it.”
Keenly aware of the implications and reach of their words
and songs, the workshop process is employed in the writing
of all their songs.
“Our teaching pastor will take the lyrics and a red pen and
scrutinize the songs,” says Annie.
“One of our core values as a worship team is to be singing
the truth,” David adds.
The result of their meticulous care on the front end extends
far beyond knowledge exchange.
“We never get tired of hearing individual stories and never
take it for granted,” says Annie. “Once, a family came up
to the team to say thank you. Their son had recently shot
himself in front of their other son. They were torn apart. They
put on a Hillsong worship album and were touched. Matt
Crocker, one of our songwriters and leaders, was standing
there and shared with the family that his sister committed
suicide around the same age as that family’s son. In that
moment, we were undone.”
“There was another time in 2009,” David adds, “when a girl
literally ran up to me and hugged me. She had seen a video of
me singing ‘Everything’ on YouTube. She was so moved. You
don’t expect to have real contact with real stories like that. But
every sale, number or unit is a family or a church. If that’s not
the base goal of everything, we’re missing the point. It’s easy
to look at Hillsong and see Worship, United or Young & Free.
But at the core of who we are, we’re actual pastors who care for
people. We’re not just making albums and writing songs.”
“We want this album and these songs to be a resource for
the greater church,” adds Cass Langton, Creative Global Head
of Hillsong. “We want these songs to be sung in churches and
by a mum with her kids. Our hope is that the songs would
help connect people to Jesus.”
With their hearts set on the Cross and their lips echoing the
name of Jesus, Hillsong is the type of phenomenon that only
makes sense in the context of an all-powerful Savior. From
the suburbs of Sydney to Times Square, the name of Jesus
resonates from the lips of those who have chosen to give
their whole lives to the One who already gave His. And each
time it is uttered, thought, sung, written or read, the power of
the name of Jesus moves as no other name can.
Annie sums it up well. “There is no other name. From
songs like, ‘Thank You, Jesus,’ written while one of our team
member’s newborn baby was on life support and slowly
began getting better, that song allowed us to see how God is
so kind to us. There’s so much we can celebrate. It’s amazing
to see what He accomplishes through pretty regular people.
We feel like we’re ready to pioneer again. We’re so excited
about what’s coming in the future.”
Be it another group, another tour or another record, one
thing is certain — Hillsong calls it like it is. Faithfully, they
have surrendered their gifts, their identities, their pride and
aspirations to the only Name that matters--the only Name
that will last forever, the only Name with the power to save,
transform and redeem. Jesus.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT HILLSONG.COM