CBN.com - An understated superstar that casually moves about the musical radar, Darlene Zschech takes the accolades, the business, the recording and performing, every detail surrounding the music she writes and sings, in a steady stride.
An ordinary person made well-known by her faithful use of a God-given gift for music, Zschech is known worldwide as songwriter of contemporary worship for the Church and worship pastor at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. But everyday life and personal passions hold her attention the most: her commitment to Christ, her family and her music, young women in crisis and the impoverished around the world, her home church and her work there.
There must be days when that's not easy if she stops to considers that 25 to 30 million people around the world sing her songs every week in corporate worship or that the classic "Shout to the Lord" has now been recorded by over 50 artists, but Zschech responds genuinely to such responsibility, "I don't take a minute of it for granted. I'm a very ordinary person, saved by grace and trying to serve God to the best of my ability, and I am very overwhelmed that I would be here today."
With her second solo project for INO Records, Change Your World, Zschech takes time to explore the songs she writes on the side, "my little hobby," as she calls it, her opportunity to write and record songs that reflect her life and growth. "With the first record Kiss of Heaven, I was rediscovering what kind of music I even enjoyed. I had laid down my likes for such a long time in my role of serving the church; I had to sort of silence that side of me for a long time. These new songs are just a continuation of that journey of discovery."
Like Kiss of Heaven, the songs of Change Your World, produced by Zschech and David Holmes, lean more toward pop music than praise and worship. Zschech takes the time to write horizontal songs of encouragement and call to action to the body of Christ - songs like "Never Give Up" and "Miracle" that speak to society's "get it quick" mentality, "when experience tells us that great things in life take time and hard work," she notes.
Her passion for Jesus and His salvation colors everything about her life however, and her awareness of the Cross and the price paid for her freedom clearly influence Change Your World. From the opener "You Are Here," through the expressive "Captured" and "Where Would I Be," to the album's closing track, Zschech's new arrangement of Michael W. Smith's "Agnus Dei," Change Your World makes a journey upward to God and expresses her faith in eloquent and complete fashion.
At the same time, Change Your World conveys to the Church that it can change the world by lifting Jesus up to the nations, taking the role of being his hands and feet seriously, and encourages believers to do their part where they are planted to serve the Kingdom of God.
"I heard a friend preach recently, ‘The lowest level of Christianity is to be blessed - it's what you do with it that makes it valuable.' Every blessing is for a purpose, as we are blessed to be a blessing. There is a great responsibility attached to prosperity at any level... for the sake of the broken, the one's with no voice...bring it on!!!" says Zschech.
A response to 15 years of work with Compassion International and the upcoming Hope Rwanda, a global church mission designed to bring hope to the people of Rwanda affected by the 1994 genocide, the title track "Change Your World" relates Zschech's desire to impact the world from where she is. "This song says, ‘Though I'm many miles away, I'm right there with you. I'll live to change your world. Your name is not forgotten...' We have a great opportunity to impact a nation filled with hurt, poverty and brokenness..." she says.
"Getting older is a great gift because you start to work out what is truly valuable in life. That's one of the reasons I don't tour very much anymore, because I can't bear to leave my kids. I'd rather make spaghetti for them, cheer them on at their own special events, and lead worship at my church. When I stand before God one day and have to be accountable for my life, I want to hear well done," says Zschech.
No matter what her day or projects bring, it all comes back to worship. Knowing her priorities, Zschech's heart still beats true for the church and she values the importance of writing timely songs for the church at large. "Think of the word ‘worship' as ‘worth-ship', because the only one who is worthy of our complete affections is Christ. Start there. Worship has always required choice and change. A choice to pursue and love God, and then change...as you cannot encounter Christ and remain the same. Everything for me is raised up at the throne, because the cry of my heart is to lead people to the reason they were born, for Christ and His purposes.
"When it comes to expressing my heart for God through music and song, I understand more about listening to what my heart wants to say and also to what the church is longing to say. This takes time, listening and meditating on the Word of God, being very present at church and not being too reflective. Offering what needs to be said and what people want to say is a great responsibility, an amazing journey, and one that I completely treasure."
Change Your World (2005)
Kiss of Heaven (2003)
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