categories: church, communication, community, creativity, culture, leadership, volunteers, working together
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July 22nd, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

15 comments (+ Add)

Even More Hillsong Reflections

If I heard Brian Houston say it once, he must have said it a dozen times: “Church is about God and people.” In everything Hillsong does, you can sense their genuine hunger for God and love for people.

Even though their church is the largest church in Australia, it seemed small because of their relational emphasis. At each service, they took time to read prayer requests and praise reports.  This helped engage the church members in prayer and encouraged them to keep a ministry focus. The campus pastors (or stage leaders) would also highlight when key volunteers got engaged or had a baby.

This relational focus bled over into the conference. Each day, the leaders highlighted a “delegate of the day.” The staff would choose someone from the 20,000 attending and set them up front in a lounge chair, fed them, and highlighted them to the whole crowd. Some how this gesture made the conference seem smaller.

Most of all, I was blessed by the intimacy fostered between the speakers and key leaders. In the U.S., at most conferences, speakers fly in and out and aren’t expected to do much else.

At Hillsong, even though no one requested it, all the speakers and their families attended all the main sessions. Between and after each session, everyone gathered for extended meals. Even though we were exhausted and jet lagged, this wasn’t a burden. It was deeply meaningful and obviously a significant part of the culture.

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  1. Jul 22, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Life is about relationships and people, Leadership is about relationships and people, Ministry is about relationships and people… Jesus is about relationships and people!

  2. Jul 22, 2009 at 7:38 am

    But prayer requests and praise reports are so old school. Oh wait! Maybe you could do it as a Twitter trending topic, and have it update live in a window on the screen! Sorry. I can’t help it. (grin)

  3. Jul 22, 2009 at 8:01 am

    I often question where has “community” in the US gone? The only place I have personally seen this still exist is in West Virginia. (truly… a hidden american flashback)….There, the community is INVOLVED, the kids are playing outside, doors are unlocked, Neighbors do more than wave as the garage closes…they actually stand outside and TALK. You walk to the local restaurant and know each and every person. Everyone TAKES CARE of each other. My mother and I honestly did not want to leave after our visit…we commented many times…THIS is how America SHOULD still be.

    We have crossed over from a “community based” Nation to a fear based society…I question HOW can we permanently bring fellowship back into our DAILY lives? We are missing so much.

  4. Jul 22, 2009 at 8:31 am

    I get so caught up in doing ministry that it’s easy for me to forget the simplicity of it all. God and people. Jesus came to be God with us. To restore the relationship of God and people.

    Thank you for sharing what you learned.

  5. Jul 22, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I like the idea of the speakers coming to the conference and hanging around. I know it was just CatalystOneDay but getting to at least meet you was a highlight to my day. To have the time to pick your brain (or any speaker) or to hear them interact with others would be a real blessing. “Flyovers” don’t allow that. Good post and thanks for the insight into Hillsong.

  6. Jul 22, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for posting this cultural/churchural stuff for us!

    This post once again just reminds me of the importance of Christians having intimate, personal time with one another. God has strongly been putting the small group intimacy in my heart!

  7. Jul 22, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks again for sharing, What works for one ministry not always works for another. Hillsong is very genuine and passionate about what they do and THAT is the key, being genuine, not systematic, not sticking to a formula because “another church” is doing well with it but finding what works within how God MADE you to BE and being authentic, connecting with people and sharing God’s love daily.

  8. Jul 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for the great insight…I just reread my silly rant above. LOL! You are dead on. A Deep relationship with Christ is the key to REAL fellowship with others…I don’t know what our family would do without our Life Group and our church family!

  9. Jul 22, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I live in Australia and really appreciate the laid-back nature of our country. There’s a real feel of mateship wherever you go and people generally stop to say Hi and have a chat. That said, churches can still tend to be a bit closed and its great to see people bring back the great things God teaches them at conferences like Hillsong and apply that to their communities and churches. I continue to pray that God will keep us focused on what is important, our realtisnhip with Him and our relationships with people, especically those outside the church.

    Thanks Ps Craig for being an encouragement to me

  10. Jul 22, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Craig, Brian Houston and the Hillsong group are great at the relational part of ministry. As you know, ARC leaders and church planters also enjoy that same kind of relational connection. Thanks for highlighting the importance of building strong relationships within ministry groups. God and People…that’s it!

    Billy Hornsby

  11. Jul 22, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Even with the pain of a funeral at TheBOD this week, I wouldn’t trade the fulfillment of living in community with others. I’ve been in church all of my life but have never experienced community in this way. It really is about the people. I suspect it is much like what you experienced in the early days at LC. As we grow I want to do everything I can to protect the intimacy. Thanks for sharing what God is showing you by enabling you to span the globe.

  12. Jul 22, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Great to see this kind of community and relational approach being modelled by a mega church where the average-joe’s preconceived notions tend to dismiss the posibility in that setting! Well done guys!

  13. 15Murray
    Jul 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I love your thoughts Craig. As an Aussie and in reflecting how church is done in Australia and in the US. I do find it odd how much criticism Hillsong gets in Australia. Ironically when a church in the USA adapts something Hillsong does, Churches in Australia want to seem to adapt that back. Yet they could not adapt straight from Hillsong. Having attended a Hillsong campus for a short while now, I have been amazed at the genuiness of there expression of love for God, and how they walk in their love from God. Praise God for Hillsong and the likes of Life Church. To God be the Glory!