Hillsong: Let Hope Rise
A documentary about the worship band Hillsong United, and the church they represent.
Rated PG, for some thematic elements
Viewer Appeal: Teens; Adults
Hillsong United is probably the most popular worship band in the world. If you've ever been to one of their concerts, you know it's less “concert” and more “worship” with a stadium full of people raising their hands to Jesus instead of the singers. Pretty awe-inspiring.
If you're not familiar with Hillsong United, they are a Christian worship band with a rock star following. They are a ministry of Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, which now has churches all over the world. Let Hope Rise is a documentary following the band as they end one tour and prepare for another. It gives insight into where they come from, and a small glimpse of how they got where they are today, as well as how they are affecting worship all over the world.
As a Christian, I found it inspiring to see thousands worshiping with Hillsong in places like the Philippines and Africa. The same songs I sing at my church in America are also being sung globally and in many languages. Kind of cool.
I've seen other documentaries of secular bands, and while some elements remain the same (preparing for a concert, personal interviews, concert shots, etc), several aspects stood out as vastly different. First, the emphasis on Jesus. Which makes sense, as Hillsong is a Christian band. But the humility with which band members speak about themselves and the band, in relation to Jesus, is contrary to what is heard from the likes of Justin Beiber and Katy Perry in their movies. Additionally, the way band members live is not what you'd expect. What major band member lives with his in-laws so he and his wife can save money for a house? While Hillsong United members might be part of a renowned band, they see themselves as working for a church, and take a church-employee salary. Their humility and love for Jesus is real.
One way this band stays focused is by traveling to parts of the world where people struggle to have enough food or a home in which to live. The documentary shows how Hillsong United uses their fame and success to help others, and to encourage others to do the same. Their heart for God's love to be taken all over the world is evident not only in the words they sing, but in the actions they take. What would your world be like if you took such action?
Extras on the DVD include four full length performances, as well as a feature on Hillsong Church.
Let's Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• What surprised you the most about Hillsong United?
• The pastor of Hillsong Church said that while many churches are reporting a decline in attendance, they have not seen that in their church. Why do you think that is?
• The members of Hillsong United have many reasons to take pride in themselves and their accomplishments, but turn everything back to Jesus. How do you give Jesus props for what he's done in your life?
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