Sing, shout …
just praise the Lord
is worship pastor at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.
She has been nominated for several Dove Awards and is the
writer of the popular worship song “Shout to the Lord,”
which was nominated for Song of the Year for the 1998 Dove
Awards. Recently, Zschech spoke with Keith Locke, former creative
director for Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.
PE: How did
you come to lead worship?
I didn’t want to be a worship leader. I love being in
the background arranging, recording and producing. But one
Sunday Pastor Brian Houston was leading worship and he just
walked off and left me in the middle of the service. At the
time I was just not confident enough to lead worship. I think
in my heart I just needed that bit of confidence of Brian
turning the worship over to me.
PE: How has
being in the spotlight challenged you?
I take that very seriously. The spotlight doesn’t give
you much room for error, that’s for sure. No one’s
perfect. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve got
a lot of mistakes yet to make — we all do. I try to
love my team, church and family. The rest is just doing whatever
I can do to the best of my ability.
PE: In your
book Extravagant Worship, you say you want to make God’s name famous.
What do you mean by that?
Australian culture is very secular. There’s no generational
understanding of who God is and why you would want to make
Him the center of your life. So from that point of view, we
want to exalt the name of Christ in our nation and become
PE: What does
training, whether it’s formal or informal, do to prepare
somebody for leading a church body in worship?
You have to minister with whatever your circumstance brings.
I’ve had a lot of musical training, but the more I know
about worship, the more I realize how little worship has to
do with musical training. I would’ve loved to study
theology for years before I started, but I never did.
PE: How do you
relate personally to the people you work with?
All of the people who work for Mark and me are in our cell
group, which really helps. We’ve done that on purpose.
So every week there are a few outlets. The cell is sort of
like our family, so we can pray for things and it’s
really good. We’ve been there for a long time. So they’ve
seen the good, the bad and the ugly. We don’t just pray
together or do church together, we do life together. One of
our staff members had a baby this week and so we’re
e-mailing pictures back and forth. And you know, we really
don’t have time for it, but then again, we really don’t
have time not to. We have to make time.
PE: And this
group life carries over into your ministry?
As far as worship in our church, I oversee all of it from
adults to the babies, but we have teams that implement it.
As far as our philosophy of what’s being taught —
the lyrics and the songs that are being written — I
make sure that it’s foundational and the real deal because
I think it’s critical that we pass that on to the next
PE: Why is it
important for worship leaders to pass their knowledge of worship
on to others?
I would like to be a worship leader forever, but more and
more I try to give it away and raise up more people to become
involved. Some of what I’ve learned — it’s
not all perfect — I want to share, because if I can
save someone from having to go through some of the potholes
that I have hit, then praise God. I think there are many Scriptures
in the Bible that make it clear that our responsibility as
Christian leaders is to not hold anything back.
your take on the popularity and commercial success of worship
and how it is used?
I think we’re going to have to deal with a lot more
of success. Christian music should be on the radio and on
the mainstream airways. It’s not just for the church.
It has the ability to draw people to the church because God’s
presence is attached to it. It’s so inviting for the
hungry heart of humanity.
PE: Do you find
that there are times when you feel inadequate?
Yes, each day. I think that’s what makes it great. All
our team feels like that. That gap between what it is you’re
feeling in your heart and what is real is so big that it has
to be God at work. So it sort of keeps you swimming in the
miraculous, because without Him we can do nothing.
PE: What led
to your decision to do a solo album project?
I’m writing songs all the time and I write about everything.
It’s sort of my way of journaling and I take a photograph
with my songs. It’s not really a departure, it’s
just that I haven’t really had time to do it. I went
to our elders and said that I would really like to record.
It took some time, but Mike and I just had to make time. I’m
really happy with it. It’s really worshipful.
PE: In your
latest book, The Kiss of Heaven, you talk of a life of favor … about empowering
a life dream.
I believe God’s promise. If you seek His righteousness,
peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit then God desires to give
you above and beyond everything you need to accomplish your
purpose on earth. I think that seeking God’s favor in
our lives is not selfish if we understand the reason it is
given — not to be hoarded, but with open hands to give.
We are not favored for ourselves. We are blessed to bless
others. I believe that is why we have His favor.
PE: What would
you say to those who desire His favor?
Delight God’s heart by serving Him. Do well with whatever
is in your hand today. I think you will sense His smile as
you desire to love and serve Him above all else.
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