Australian worship leader DARLENE ZSCHECH spoke about the 'For All You've Done' album.
Hillsong worship pastor and composer of such contemporary worship classics as "Shout To The Lord", "I Will Run To You", "All Things Are Possible" and "The Potter's Hand" Darlene Zschech answered a sheaf of questions in July 2004.
Tell us a bit about Hillsong's 'For All You've Done' album.
Darlene: 'For All You've Done' is a really significant project for our church. It is a real testimony of the greatness of God and the faithfulness of God in our lives as a church and as individuals. It's everyone altogether, it's young people, the old people, everyone in between sort of gathering together on a night and basically saying, "Thank you." If there was one word that went over the project, it would just be "Thank you." That's your entry point to the throne of God right there. It's found in praise where we are just grateful, grateful for salvation, grateful for what God has done in each of our families and in our lives and so it's culminated in 'For All You've Done'. We record a live album every year! Basically it's just a snapshot of what happens in church life over a year. The songs are always a bit of a song documentary of the word of faith, etc, that has gone forth throughout the year - personal journeys of the songwriters but it often reflects the journey of the worship and creative arts department in the church at large. If we're not changing and growing and moving forward, then something's wrong. There are a lot more songs - it's just that a CD is only so long! This is our twelve-month snapshot.
What sticks in your mind about the recording?
Darlene: It was a really fantastic night. There was a great ease. We as a team don't approach it as a concert or a performance in any way although we all do put on a bit more make-up for the DVD! But bottom line is that we really want to have a truthful worship experience. So, the night started and we were just having a great time. We were so excited and, I tell you, by the time we got to the end, it was just magnificent. Many people got saved - we always hear great testimonies from those nights. There was no way that we could cut what happened down onto a single CD. 76 minutes just does not do it! That's why we tried to include a little bit more of the free worship and just some of the more spontaneous moments and not just the things that we rehearsed. And so, there're our songs. I don't know which is my favourite - they're all my favourites for different reasons.
One of the outstanding songs on the project is "You Are Worthy".
Darlene: "You Are Worthy" has sort of developed over a little while, just understanding that the Father crowns us with so many things throughout your experience in Christianity and just the out-working of your salvation you come to really understand the kindness of God. When you get to the book of Revelation, it starts to say that all the crowns have got to be laid at the foot of Jesus and we crown him with many crowns and so it's really a song about just letting go of pride, letting go of all the things that even the word would esteem us to walk in to. In the end, we've still got to let them all go and crown him with many crowns. That has been an unfolding journey for me, understanding that since I wrote "Worthy Is The Lamb" and started to learn about how you can crown the Father, this is sort of like the next chapter. He wants to crown us, but in the end, Revelation says no, he is to be crowned Lord of all so that's where he is worthy. Again in Revelation, all honour, in glory and power and strength - all glory belongs to the Lord.
Another standout is "Glorify Your Name".
Darlene: I didn't actually intend for it to be sung at church. I was just writing it at home and worshipping and this song came out that's probably a bit more dramatic than I was used to singing, and I thought "Oh this would be great in an Easter musical" or something! I played it on a Wednesday night rehearsal and everyone said, "We've got to sing that, we've got to sing that!" So, we sang that and it's a little bit unusual probably for me as a writer, but again it's all about just giving all the glory to God, about getting out of the way and giving him all the glory. I think with this project, my greatest heart's desire is that people will not walk away and go "Great - or even not great - Hillsong project," I just want them to fall more and more in love with Jesus that Hillsong's not the name they talk about but that they end up talking about the name of Jesus. I really pray that this project has a sense of new wine, new understanding, new revelation, fresh revelation. I think that if Hillsong music was starting to sound tired, it would be a reflection of where we are at. But we've had the grandest year as far as discovering more about the Lord and truthful worship and what that really means, what that really costs, what that looks like in the shape of a life, so I would really pray that that is, some how, sensed from the start to the finish of this project.
I understand the Psalms study expedition is in its second year. Tell me a bit about that.
Darlene: I really sensed the Holy Spirit when I was on holidays in Christmas 2002 that we would study the Psalms because we are lovers of the word for sure but Wednesday nights, our rehearsal night, we'd become really good at rehearsing! There is always an element of teaching but I guess that God really wanted us to go deeper into the understanding of the Psalms, teaching us how to pray, teaching us how to praise, reminding the team, especially some of the new Christians, of the foundations again of worship. It's been a fantastic journey - we have a long way to go in our Psalms studies so I think we'll be doing them 'til the Lord returns! It's the highlight of my week, every week, when I go to prepare them. I look forward to it, it's like having a little three hour holiday in the Spirit. It's beautiful, so they've been really helpful.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.