Questions With: Darlene Zschech
been the worship pastor at Hillsong
Australia for 18 years and has helmed
some of the most popular worship projects
ever, not to mention penning the popular
worship anthem "Shout to the Lord."
But how has Darlene Zschech's success-not
to mention her role as a wife and mother
and her childhood spent in front of
a microphone-impacted the woman and
worship leader she is today?
to audio clips from Darlene's solo album
Kiss of Heaven at higherpraisetube.com
been in the spotlight since you were
10, singing with the best of the best
in your native Australia. How did that
early emphasis on performance impact
the worship work you do now?
Darlene Zschech: It's been really good
as far as confidence and even understanding
musicianship and harmonies, [but] I
grappled with the whole performance
issue when I first got saved when I
was 15. I stopped singing for a few
years because I couldn't stop doing
what I was trained to do. Then one day
the Holy Spirit just nailed me and said,
"you don't need to perform for
Me." That thing rears its ugly
head every now and again and it has
to be put to death. But that's life
in Christ, learning how to die so you
been the worship pastor at Hillsong
Australia for 18 years now. How has
your approach to worship leading changed
since the early days?
Zschech: It's changed so much. Just
in confidence, as far as what you're
born to do, I think that takes time
to be confident in. Not having to explain
everything, not having to prove yourself.
Now I know much clearer who I am and
that I first and foremost am a worshipper.
many songs would you say you write each
year and how do you fit that in between
leading worship, recording and producing?
Zschech: Are we talking good songs?
I don't know, maybe 50. Songwriting
doesn't really fit; I'm just doing it
all the time. I'm working on a song
at the moment so it's in me, it's going
around, so it's always happening.
sparks a song idea for you?
Zschech: It probably gets sparked either
reading the Word or hearing a message
or just hearing a line. Sometimes even
just seeing something in the newspaper
that would break your heart. It's just
something that causes passion and you
go, "hey!" It starts there.
and your husband, Mark, have three daughters.
How has being a mom impacted what you
Zschech: Oh, it's everything to me.
Amy's 14, Chloe's 10 and Zoe just turned
two, and they're just divine. What it
does is make sure what you're working
on is important enough-to your or in
their eyes-to be valuable enough to
leave them. So it is always that equation.
addition to writing, singing and recording,
you're also doing more producing. How
has that come about?
Zschech: I started doing it because
the producers we were using would pull
out the music, but they couldn't pull
out the heart of our church. I would
say, "I know that sounds like a
great record, but that's not what we're
here to make. We're here to make a statement
of passion, of people giving their lives
away, and this doesn't sound like that."
So that's when I started to really get
involved in pulling a different kind
of music out of worship music. And over
the years I've gotten more confident
at it and can hear it more easily. Well,
actually, I can find it more easily.
I could always hear it, I just couldn't
find how to pull it out, but now I can
find it more easily, and it's something
I love to do.
your role as a modern worship pioneer,
not everyone in your family is a fan
of modern worship, are they?
Zschech: About six months ago, it was
my grandfather's 92nd birthday and he's
like, "When are you gonna do some
nice songs, Dear?" They love [the
Hillsong music] because it's got their
granddaughter in it, but they've been
waiting for me to sing "nice"
songs for a long time, something without
a beat. So I just went into the studio
with a friend and did10 hymns and put
them on a CD and sent them up to my
pop for his birthday. And now it's like
an underground CD because I took it
to our seniors group and they all copied
it for their friends.
from now, what do you most want people
to remember about your contribution
to the world of worship?
Zschech: I would love to be known as
someone who helped put value back into
praise & worship. I know I'm one
of many, many, many who do this, but
I would love to be known as someone
are one of many, but you're also one
of a handful of women who've reached
this level of success. Why do you think
Zschech: I really don't know. It bamboozles
me. But I am aware of the responsibility,
possibly because I know where I've come
from. I'm just like anybody else...and
I try to communicate that when I'm leading
people, saying, "Hey, if I can
do this, you can do this." This
is not for the extremely gifted, talented
or beautiful. Worship is inclusive [and]
I try and make it available to everybody.
If I make it too clever or too technically
brilliant, it excludes most of the people
we're trying to serve.
a lot of talk today about where we're
veering off course in terms of worship,
but what do you think we're doing right?
Zschech: Putting value on it again.
I think God must get so excited because
it's been his heart always and there
were a couple generations where worship
was just plundered, we just didn't have
it. So I think over the next 10 years
we're gonna hear amazing Heaven music
that is prophetic as far as cutting
edge, not being shaped by the trend,
but setting the trend. Because once
you tap into Heaven, it must. There
will be the new Handel's Messiah, the
new works of worship like we've never