This week has been Hillsong Conference 2014: No Other Name, one of the largest events in the annual life of the Australian Christian community. Timed every year during the first week of July, 2014 marks their 28th conference. Championing the cause of the local church, the conference is a week-long series of day rallies and evening worship & preaching sessions. With the ability to gather 20,000-strong audiences in Sydney’s Allphones Arena, Hillsong continues to make headlines and hit records that make their mark in the secular world.Disclaimer: I have never attended a Hillsong Conference. Whilst I have desired to attend several over the years, the opportunity just has not presented itself yet. Over the years, I have followed it and received DVDs and material from friends who did attend. No Other Name is also the name of the 2014 worship album, which features 11 new songs:
- This I Believe (The Creed)
- Heaven and Earth
- Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)
- No Other Name
- Thank You Jesus
- All Things New
- My Story
- Our Father
I have had the privilege of knowing in advance, earlier in 2014, some interesting insights into the album. I recall the background to This I Believe (The Creed), and how it was suggested via twitter to the likes of the worship leaders at Hillsong how the statement of faith proclaimed in the Apostle’s Creed should and could be written into a new song.
The Apostle’s Creed consists of 12 articles of faith according to the Catholic Church structuring of the English translation (original is in Latin!), and if you listen to the song itself, they remain largely true to the wording and order:
1. I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. Under Pontius Pilate, He was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and the life everlasting.
This background story may have been shared on social media sources like Facebook back in March as part of the publicity and marketing of the then-upcoming album, so I do not claim any particular exclusivity in knowing this.
However, with Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace), I can personalise my early experience with the song. As part of vocal singing lessons provided by brother in Christ Dave Hoang / David Jaanz School of Singing, I was taught the chorus of this song. The chorus lyrics are based on the famous Amazing Grace lyrics but sung to a totally different melody and rhythm to the more familiar style in the original hymn or Chris Tomlin’s My Chains Are Gone variation. So, thank you Dave for the privilege of teaching me parts of that beautiful song.
I have just bought the Deluxe Edition of the album and I know Clayton Church will be introducing This I Believe (The Creed) to the congregation this Sunday. To imagine every church singing the Apostle’s Creed would really help make the ninth article a reality – “the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints”. It is important to understand that the meaning of “catholic” here differs from “Catholic Church”; “catholic” means universal and the statement is all about unity. The Apostle’s Creed is a unifying core statement of the Christian faith which should be universal across ALL denominations, so to have every church across the community unite behind it is a powerful statement of standing in the gap to resist the devil.
The sound of Hillsong in this album is yet another piece of evidence in how the team has evolved in the 28-year journey of worship – ensuring a continual God-anointed breath of freshness infuses our songs of praise and worship. Even with all the powerhouse of production and resources behind Hillsong, they continually maintain a connection to the purity and holiness of God/Jesus – there truly is NO OTHER NAME, under which we gather and unite! The free ticketing of the week night sessions and live streaming via Hillsong Backstage are just some of the other examples of how the church and conference maintains its integrity. When two or more people gather in the name of Jesus, God’s presence is truly felt – and this is what will continue to fuel the passion and commitment of Hillsong Church.