Brooke Ligertwood is a multi-award-winning recording artist and a key member of the Hillsong Worship team. Speaking recently to The Lucas Miles Show, Brooke talked candidly about the importance of writing music in community and the significance of the local church in helping transform us into true servants of Jesus.
“This is the first studio project for Hillsong Worship in 15 years and it feels pretty special,” Brooke said of the group’s latest release. “We really dug in and worked harder than we’ve ever worked.”
“I’m really excited and expectant about it.”
Hillsong Worship prides itself on being a band that is rooted in the Sydney-based church — a value that Brooke insists she cherishes greatly. “We weren’t designed to walk with Christ in isolation but in community,” she explained. “We have an individual connection with Jesus, but one of the ways the Holy Spirit transforms us is in community.”
“For Christians, being part of a Church community should not be an option, Brooke argued. “Jesus is coming back for a bride, for a church — he kinda didn’t leave us open to opt-out of that..biblically, that’s not really presented as an option to us — the local church is important.”
While Ligertwood added that she understands there is an “institutional skepticism,” of the Church, she said believers must “push through that” and engage in our local congregations if we are to attain all that God has for us.
“Psalm 92 talks about planting yourself in the house of God and flourishing. Planting is about digging into the dirt. If you’re willing, there’s a life and flouring and freedom that comes from that,” the singer added.
So how is that local church ethic played out in Hillsong, a global church community?
“There are a lot of things intrinsic in our community that make it pretty easy for us to stay grounded in the local,” Brooke explained. “All of us on platforms, that’s not our every day — we are not full-time artists, we are church builders.”
“We are not ministering or writing worship songs from a place of isolation. We are really serving from a place of being active in community on the ground. The manure of people’s lives, and the manure of our own lives, fertilizes the soil from which these songs spring.”
Speaking boldly, Ligertwood urged Christians to “go build community” if they do not feel it is readily available to them, adding that “serving is absolutely essential” to the Christian life.
“Serving is how we build the house of God. When I talk to someone at church who is lonely or having trouble making friends I say, ‘are you serving?'” she added. “If you’re doing the coffee and tea in the lobby.. that builds [relationship].”
Remember though, depth of relationship does not come overnight.
“Relationship and trust take time,” Brooke said. “That’s why sticking it out and turning up week in and week out, making it a non-negotiable, is worth it.”
Talking about the group’s new album, “Awake,” Brooke said the making of it “felt like a move of God.”
Appreciating the group’s legacy of recording live albums, Ligertwood explained how, although the album was recorded in a studio, the producer would “leave talkback microphones on,” in order to capture the spontaneous moments of worship that erupted at different points during the recording process.
“We got a lot of our worship leaders to come into the studio to pray and intercede over the opening instrumental and first track.. so you can hear it poking out the mix at different times,” Brooke explained. “It’s the sound of our worship leaders interceding for the people who are listening.. for pastors, worship teams, the suffering, the poor, the disabled.. all of these things.”
“I love that when people put on the record, whether they know it or not, the first thing that’s happening it that they are being washed in prayer.”
‘It wasn’t a big fancy service with lighting’
Ligertwood went on to talk about her own conversion story, which took place in her own bedroom “with an open Bible.”
“Prior to that, my mum took me to [a service] at the Salvation Army,” Ligertwood said, where she had “an undeniable experience and encounter with God.”
The moment of spiritual renewal, she said, was as a result of a small group of people praying passionately. “I just know it in my guts that the worship team that morning prayed, ‘God if there is someone who walks in from the street, would you encounter them.'”
Ligertwood added that it “wasn’t a big fancy service with lighting, but there was a small group of people who believed that God could use them.”
“That’s what I believe for every single local worship team — that we might lift our eyes and remember that God can do anything.”
Hillsong Worship’s new album, Awake, is available on all platforms now.