House of Rock has now become Church of Rock. That’s right, the impossible has been done. Hillsong, an Australian-based chain of churches, recently opened a church in L.A. in order to spread its influence to the West Coast. The congregations are generally made up of twenty-something year olds who enjoy the ‘hipster twist’ on traditional Christian sermons. Unlike what many are used to, a Sunday morning spent at Hillsong includes a number of live rock music performances mixed in with a quick fifteen minute sermon.
Hillsong’s success and popularity due to steering away from the norm has attracted an average of 100,000 church-goers each week in their Los Angeles location. Obviously, Hillsong targets large, urban city areas that have large influence on a country’s culture (i.e. Los Angeles and New York in the U.S.). The bohemian church has congregations throughout Europe and North America which have become the world’s newest religious obsession. Millions have now converted to the fun and hip ways of the Hillsong churches. Young adults have thrown out their Sunday best, instead sporting a more casual wardrobe for their weekly church visits (who ever said you couldn’t wear torn jeans to worship?).
Each meeting starts off with a live music performance by Hillsong’s very own Christian rock band United, followed by the pastor from the L.A. location, Ben Houston, a toned and tattooed young man, striding onto the stage to give his two cents. Not going to lie, I am sure a number of us would be happy to attend at least one of Hillsong’s ‘performances’, just to see the pastor. Although the idea behind Hillsong is innovative (the church has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube account), is this new and hip church a good or bad thing for the development and understanding of Christianity by young adults?
I’ve never been one for church, but looking from an unbiased point, this new church frenzy doesn’t seem like a negative thing. Having fun with church doesn’t mean people aren’t taking their religion seriously. Everyone should be able to express their beliefs, and worship whoever they worship in whichever way they choose. It’s innovations like Hillsong that allow young people who have lost their interest in worship in a more 21st century-inspired way.
Young adults are known for their rebellious ways. A request by their grandmother to go to church more often isn’t going to do much in the long run. People, especially young people, need to form their own judgements and views. They learn how to express these beliefs in their own way. Hillsong offers a unique and fun way for a community to come together, even if you’re just there for the music.
The Houston family may be onto something with this cool modern twist on traditional Christianity. I know I will definitely be attending a Hillsong concert/sermon if the congregation ever finds its way to Kansas.