Hillsong Conferences are known the world over. This year, the Sydney-based church organized its inaugural Worship and Creative Conference.
I attended the inaugural Hillsong Worship and Creative Conference (WCC) in Sydney, Australia, which ran from Nov 15 to 17.
I was first prompted to go when I found out about it at the Hillsong Conference, which I attended in July. I thought, “I won’t be able to go, it’s too close to this trip and where would I find the money?”
I put the thought to rest and didn’t think about it after. One day, as I was doing my quiet time, the prompting to go to the conference came again and it didn’t go away. I said yes to God.
Since I agreed to go, God blessed me immensely in terms of finances and friends. My mother paid for more than half of my expenses. My friend Sheryl agreed to stay with me so she could drive us to church during the conference. To experience these things before the conference even started made me excited to see what God would do.
The two and a half day conference consisted of multiple preaching and immersive sessions, various co-labs (workshops) for all types of creative fields. The highlight of the conference, however, was the Midnight Massive, a two-hour worship session held from 10 pm to 12 am.
THINKING INSIDE THE BOX
The preaching sessions saw a lineup of Hillsong’s own pastors, such as creative pastor Cass Langton, teaching pastor Robert Fergusson, and senior pastor Brian Houston, sharing their hearts with us. These men and women of God spoke encouragement and power into our lives and I dare say most of us left the building transformed.
What impacted me most was the first session, where pastor Robert preached on “Thinking Inside The Box”. He told us to look within ourselves, rather than anywhere outside, because that is where the hope of the Holy Spirit is. The key to unlocking it is faith.
This gave me a new mindset when looking at things. Creative people are always told to “think outside the box”. What pastor Robert said caused me to realize that to be creative, we have to first look at God, our Master Creator, to unleash that creativity within us.
LEVELING UP CREATIVITY
This being a creative conference, I was surprised to see there were very few co-labs for writing. Since I was also a worship leader, I attended co-labs on songwriting, worship leading and music publishing.
The most memorable session for me was the one on songwriting, where the songwriters of Hillsong Church came together and explained how they would go about writing the songs that have lasting impact.
One songwriting technique they spoke about was adding color and poetry to facts, which adds to the narrative of the song. They gave a fantastic example of the song “O Praise The Name”. The lyrics say, “I cast my mind to Calvary” (that is the “color” element), “where Jesus bled and died for me” (that is fact). When we blend color into the facts, we help people see the fact from a different perspective without changing the narrative.
I feel that this applies not only in songwriting but also in other types of writing, especially when we are writing for the Lord. When we are writing a story on His Salvation, or when we’re writing a script, we can tell a Bible story in a different way. This concept allows us to stay true to the facts and not stray from the message, but also allows us to be creative with what we have in our hands.
When the organizers said that this would be the highlight of the conference, they were right.
While most people would agree that Hillsong Church is a leader in Christian worship, what I experienced that night was different—I saw into the worship leaders’ hearts.
They weren’t afraid to be creative with what they were given, because they trusted God wholeheartedly with what He would do. They trusted Him to come and work in everyone, and He did.
It taught me once again, that we are free in His Presence. We can jump, shout, cry and dance because we’re covered by His grace, and in Him we have liberty.
In all honesty, being a creative person doesn’t mean you need to create something others won’t understand. It just means you’ve been given a gift to be used in the most extravagant way possible.
You don’t need to make it complicated, it’s quite simple, really. God made you to create and that is what you do, all in His name.
As in Exodus 4:2, when God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” God is asking all us creatives the same thing, “What is that in your hand? What is that in your hand that God can use?”
God meant for His word to be read and understood simply. Similarly, that principle applies to His art as well. Seek Him for creative ideas and keep a clear mind before going forth to create—then you will find Him working through you.