In 2014's Vision Sunday sermon, Hillsong's senior pastor Brian Houston spoke about the Australian church being pioneers again. Indeed, since the 90s, they were the pioneers in worship music. Once worship music was thought to be a stepsister of Christian music where there was nary a chance it could generate any sales, Hillsong pioneered into an arena where angels feared to tread. Taking a risk with the then unknown suburban church from way down south, Integrity Music released "Shout to the Lord." The album brought the entire genre of worship music into people's lounges and as a result made the worship of Jesus "cool" again. Ten years or so ago, Hillsong Church pioneered again with the creation of UNITED led by the vision of its worship pastor then Darlene Zschech. UNITED paved the way for a brand of worship geared towards young adults. Today they are one of the mainstays of contemporary music.
Last year, the church pioneered yet again. With its visionary demographic now focused on teenagers. Instead of spending time watching singers slunking out of a robotic bear with a serpent tongue, twerking with a married man and carrying a foam finger, Hillsong Y&F is about making a stand for Jesus Christ. After their debut album "We Are Young and Free" slotted in at Billboard's Christian chart at no.1 and three well received singles later, they are back with their brand new single "The Stand." "The Stand" is not found on "We Are Young and Free." Rather, it's released as an exclusive single currently available for downloads on digital stores like iTunes.
After a full album of originals, "The Stand" finds the younger wing of the Australian church revisiting the UNITED's song of the same titular. Initially released on UNITED's 'United We Stand," this is one the more familiar worship songs written by Joel Houston. Easing on the rock factor, Young and Free's version is surprisingly more subdued slouching more into the contemporary balladry arena with a pinch of modern electronic beeps. The use of alternating unadorned female vocals in the verses alternating with the male voices in the chorus creates a holistic message that God wants both young women and men to make a stand for Him in our lifestyle choices. And what a glorious vignette it creates to hear these young people singing: "So I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned/In awe of the One who gave it all/So I'll stand, my soul Lord to You surrendered/All I am is Yours." If we have more and more of our young people singing songs like these, revival is definitely not far away.