If you are a regular church attendee, and your music has any aspect of contemporary songs in it – you have sung something from Hillsong. I have long loved their music, and the heart behind the writing of praise songs that are sung the world over.
This movie – really more of a documentary – follows the Hillsong United band through the development of a new album and to aWorship event at the Forum in California. It was fascinating to watch as the “flashback” scenes culminated in the event.
I loved hearing from Brian Houston, founding pastor when he said that he had wanted to start a church that was music driven and that the music would “connect the soul to heaven”. He and his wife Bobbie took us back to the place where they first met – with just 100 others. Since 1983 they have grown from those 100 to 75,000 in 12 countries.
What struck me most as I watched this journey of worship leaders who truly believe that “the songs mean nothing if they aren’t helping people connect to God” as Joel Houston shared, is that they are just real people. They don’t have huge houses, flashy cars and all that goes with the American experience of celebrity pastors. The band has a heart to use their talents to lead people in meaningful worship.
The piece has been produced with lyrics on the screen during the worship songs, with the intention of the audience joining in with the music. Just imagine a theatre full of worshippers singing so loudly that those in the movie complex hear it! Surely a small taste of heaven…
While there is no question about the centrality of Jesus in the theme of Hillsong’s music, it occurred to me as the movie was coming to its end – that there was not much mention of him outside of the songs. Brian even said that people should “pour yourself into a local church, and you’ll never be the same”. Perhaps it is an over reaction on my part, but it’s not enough to be part of a church, it’s the relationship with Jesus that matters and it’s him that makes you not the same.
I loved watching the process of the song writing, even when one song was finished at the very last minute. To see Joel sitting with his Bible open, pen in hand and journalling his way to the lyrics was lovely. My very favourite moment though, was the international singing of Mighty to Save. Just incredible!
Should you have the opportunity to see Hillsong: Let Hope rise – do so. Better yet, go with your family and/or friends and worship in the theatre right along with the movie. My thanks to GrafMartin Communications for the opportunity to independently review this movie.