Featured Artist: Hillsong

Jul 01 2009

Hillsong Church (formerly Hills Christian Life Centre) is a Pentecostal church located in Sydney, Australia, headquartered at its "Hills" campus in Baulkham Hills' Norwest Business Park in the Hills District. It also has a congregation designated the "City" campus which is located in Waterloo, near Sydney's central business district. Brian and Bobbie Houston moved from New Zealand in 1978 and joined Sydney Christian Life Centre at Darlinghurst, pastored by Brian's father Frank Houston. They started Hillsong Church, which was then known as Hills Christian Life Centre, in August 1983 with services held at the Baulkham Hills Public School hall and with an initial congregation of 45. Within four years it had grown to 900 people. In 1990, the church moved from "the warehouse", which they had occupied since 1984, to hold services at the Hills Centre. In 1986, an annual conference was developed, now called Hillsong Conference, which was created to be a blessing to the church worldwide and to champion the cause of the local church.

In the early 1990s, praise and worship recordings from Hills Christian Life Centre were released in Australia and internationally under the name Hillsong. This raised the profile of the church. This name is also used for a television show featuring clips from the videos of the recordings and a message from Brian Houston. In 1997, the church moved into its new building at Baulkham Hills' Norwest Business Park.

In the late 1990s the church realised that the name Hillsong was more well-known than Hills Christian Life Centre due to the branding of its recordings. The church was renamed Hillsong Church in 1999, about the same time its mother church, Sydney CLC, was merged into Hillsong Church.

Hillsong Church currently has 15 extension services across Sydney. These extension services are based on either location or culture and rely on Hillsong Church for support and leadership. Hillsong Church's international offshoots include Hillsong Church London, in the United Kingdom, Hillsong Church Kiev in Ukraine, Hillsong Church Cape Town in South Africa and Hillsong Church Stockholm in Sweden. Hillsong services are also held in Paris, Berlin and Moscow.

Hillsong's music has become internationally well-known amongst Christian groups. Songs such as "Power of Your Love" by Geoff Bullock and "Shout to the Lord" by Darlene Zschech have become popular and are sung in churches worldwide. Originally published as "Hillsongs", Hillsong Church now produces its music through its own label Hillsong Music Australia. Hillsong Music has released over 40 albums since 1992, many of them achieving gold status in Australia, and one of them, People Just Like Us achieving platinum status. The church's 2004 live praise and worship album (featuring many members of the Hillsong United Team), For All You've Done, reached #1 in the mainstream Australian album charts (ARIA).

Since the inception in 1992 of the annual live praise and worship album, Hillsong has branched out and released other albums including the worship series, Hillsong United, worship for kids, Christmas albums and compilation albums. The worship series began as a compilation of songs and developed into studio recorded albums. The Hillsong United series, lead by Joel Houston and the Hillsong United band, contains songs from the Hillsong United youth ministry. Hillsong Kids has released an annual worship for kids album since 2004. Hillsong music has released two Christmas albums, several compilation albums as well as recordings from Hillsong London, Hillsong Kiev and Youth Alive NSW.

Joel Houston, the Creative Director of Hillsong Church went on to say "One of the strengths of our Church is the way the youth are embraced and encouraged to be a part of all that is happening, It's what makes United distinctive. We're not just a band. The very nature of who we are and what we do is inclusive. It's a discipling model. Everything we (the current band) do is because someone gave us an opportunity."

Buy their latest album Faith + Hope + Love

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