Hillsong Conference 2013: A Review

Last week I attended Hillsong Conference. People traveled from all corners of the globe to be there, so what a blessing it is to live only 30 minutes away from Sydney Olympic Park. I was joined by 22,000 other worshipers, who clearly loved to praise and magnify the name of Jesus! It was a foretaste of heaven!


This was my 10th #HillsongConf and it is amazing to see how things have evolved since my first visit way back in 1996. Hillsong Conference is now a world class event, with Christian speakers and artists from all over the planet presenting.


Over the week, I heard 13 sermons, plus workshops. Below are some of the significant take home points for me:

  • “When we stand together as the body of Christ, we can do infinitely more together than we can apart.” – Craig Groeschel
  • “Life is better with Jesus when you forget what you THINK you deserve.” ‐ Judah Smith
  • “What is your test now…will soon become your testimony” –Joel Osteen
  • “Your miracle is never in what you have lost…its always in what you have left” – Bishop TD Jakes
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I frantically took notes and would be lost without Evernote. The best way to capture, access and file information…and it costs ZIP. What is YOUR weapon of choice?

The challenge now, is to review those notes and to be intentional about applying what I saw and heard to life and ministry. This will take about a week, and God willing, the event will be more than just a feel good experience.

Did I enjoy everything about the conference? Of course not. I quickly got tired of the queues. And I found the teaching of Joel Osteen and TD Jakes was more style over substance. Entertainment over insight. Maybe I’m showing my bias here as a reformed evangelical, but with discernment, something was still be learnt from them.One of the highlights was seeing my own Pastor, John Gray, sitting with other senior ministers discussing how churches work together (or not). A great quote was, “If someone preaches Jesus, crucified and risen, I’ll back them ’til Jesus returns.” Amen!

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Pastors Brian and Bobby Houston say, “Our mandate as a conference is to champion the cause of the local church on the earth.” I witnessed this first hand. There was over 4,000 volunteers and pretty much everyone that I came in contact with was willing and eager to serve. God is working powerfully through Hillsong and I have no doubt that they have a heart for others, both the lost and the saved.

BUT WAIT! What about the worship (music for my conservative friends-ha)?

It was inspirational, as usual. Each year, Hillsong launches a live recording at conference. “Glorious Ruins” is the title of the latest album and it does not disappoint. It is full of uplifting anthems that will bless both the individual and the church. The strongest congregational songs are probably:

“Christ Is Enough”

“Man Of Sorrows”

“You Never Fail”



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What are YOUR favorites? Glorious Ruins is topping the charts on a number of continents. Congratulations to all who were involved in the production! A number of Hillsong College students also introduced a song called ‘Victory’;  Mumford & Sons inspired track that is yet to be released. It’s a killer song, celebrating the victory that we have in Jesus. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of all of their albums though. Does Hillsong Live NEED to release an album every year (not to mention releases by United, Chapel and Young & Free)? Is it quantity over quality, that is primarily driven by financial gain? I’ll let you be the judge on that.
Moving on to next year. The theme for Hillsong Conference 2014 is “NO OTHER NAME” . .
“For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  – Acts 4:12  
The lineup of international guests is just as impressive. I am a huge fan of Bill Hybels, Louie Giglio and Matt Redman. Hope to see you there!

About the author : Bren McLean