Recently I moved to Melbourne from the North Western Suburbs of Sydney. It surprised me to hear people comment about the influence of the Hillsong Church here in Melbourne, especially their music. It seems that in Melbourne, as in Sydney, many people don’t agree with everything Hillsong does, yet people do admire or envy their influence, size and growth.
Given that I used to live in the same suburb as the Hills Campus of the Hillsong Church, I have picked up a few good ideas about ministry from their church. Whilst I have attended many services at Hillsong and have attended three of their conference, I have never been on staff or been a leader in the church. This post is an “outsiders” perspective on a church which I admire and respect.
So unlike the critical tone that I sometimes hear in some circles about the Hillsong style, I thought I would share five positive things that I learnt from the Hillsong Church:
- Worship should move people: I often hear people criticize contemporary worship music for relying on lights and “rock music” to influence people. What I have learnt from Hillsong worship is that worship should move people; it should stir up a response. What ever denomination you worship in, the worship should not be something you do but a total experience of the power and love of God.
- Preaching should be passionate: I often hear people criticize evangelical preachers for getting “too worked up”. It is as though the preaching of the Word of God should be restrained and formal. Yet I have noticed that even secular public speaking has become more passionate and less formal. Which ever denomination you preach in, it should show a passion for God’s Word that inspires and motivates the audience.
- Giving should change the world: I often hear people criticize contemporary churches by saying they only want my money. Before leaving Sydney, my local parish church asked me to increase my giving by $5 a month for new air conditioning. At the same time the Hillsong church was raising money to help fight trafficking of sex workers in Greece, help fight teen drug addiction and build churches that reach non believers. Several years ago Hillsong raised over a million dollars to build a church in Iraq. In which ever denomination you give money to, it should help change lives not build more Christian castles.
- Events should shift thinking: I often hear people criticize contemporary churches for running “slick” events like they are rock concerts or corporate motivational speakers. In the conferences that I have attended run by the Hillsong Church I have been presented with some great speakers that help shift my thinking. I have heard talks from people that I have disagreed with, but it shifted my thinking. In which ever denomination you run events for, don’t just go through the motions of “how we have always done things”; create dynamic experiences that shift the audience in their thinking.
- Influence brings criticism: As you can gather I hear people criticize “big” churches or big events a lot. Perhaps it is the “tall poppy” syndrome but people like to comment on how other churches have got it wrong. If we look at the fact that in Sydney alone Hillsong would influence over 20 000 people every weekend, that kind of influence is going to attract attention. Add to those numbers the campuses they have in London, Capetown, New York and several other cities it seems that the Holy Spirit must be present in their ministry. Given the Great Commission (Matt 28) calls us to reach all the nations, I have to admire a Church that has that much influence.
Whilst this post is not meant to be a leveled evaluation of everything that the Hillsong Church does, I did want to change “usual” commentary that I hear to admit that I have learnt something from Hillsong. I would encourage every ministry leader, in what ever denomination they lead in to at least see what they can learn from a church that is influencing the world.
Please leave a positive comment about what you have learnt about ministry from the Hillsong Church. We have all heard the criticism so please add to the positive conversation rather than post more negative thoughts.
markoffaith.net markoffaith, MarkofFaith, mark of faith, Mark of Faith, mrmarkmcdonald, Mark McDonald