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Worship leading tips from Hillsong Concert PH 2018

Hillsong concert philippines manila, hillsong young and free philippines, hillsong united philippines

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I have hungered for Worship Leading tips from Hillsong!

As a worship leader and a worship team leader – I have always looked forward to learning worship leading tips from Hillsong! I make time to search for their worship services and study how they do and lead worship. Reading their blogs is one thing I enjoy doing. I wanted to attend any Hillsong event since I became a Christian 8 years ago – so being able to attend their concert this year, knowing that I’m from a far city in the southern Philippines, was something I thank God for every single day! I know this is a very rare moment, so I made sure I get to learn everything I could get from the concert and somehow take that to how we worship in our local church in Zamboanga City.

I’d like to establish first that these tips did not come from Hillsong directly. These tips are things I learned about worship leading during my experience at Hillsong concert in the Philippines.

10 worship leading tips from Hillsong concert in the Philippines

1. Pray for the worshipers

After singing a few upbeat songs, Hillsong YNF worship leader (I’m not sure if it was Laura Toggs) shared that while they were at the backstage, they intensely prayed for us all to find freedom and experience the fullness of God’s presence. It was heartwarming to know that Hillsong was so passionate to lead us into an empowering encounter with God more than having excellent worship session. I know that all worship teams must know this but if we’re going to be honest, there are times that we pray more to be able to serve excellently but sometimes put the experience of people to be found by God a secondary concern.

2. Build a connection with the worshipers

I have observed many moments when the worship leaders like Aodhan, Taya, Joel, and JD would “talk” to the congregation. I mean, they don’t only exhort us to worship but they would truly take time to talk to us like we’ve met before. Like when Aodhan King was about to sing “Sinking Deep” he told us that he loved the Philippines and the tour here was so special that he brought his mother and aunt with him. He also told us to never ever underestimate the power of prayer because he too was a product of his aunt’s prayer.

I thought it was a big no to like talk to the congregation. So I learned that it was a good move to engage with the worshipers! Building a relationship with the crowd actually adds spice to the worship experience – it’s like 2 friends having fun in God’s presence.

3. Enjoy the presence of God / 4. Model freedom and authenticity in worship / 5. Show the joy in worship

(Items 3-5 have common explanations but it’s important to delineate the learnings into 3 points hehe.)

Have you ever watched Hillsong concert even online? You’d see how they’d freely jump, play, and enjoy worship while on stage! I must admit 10% of the time I was starstruck haha 🙂 well, I bought that patron standing ticket so imagine JD, Taya, Laura, Joel, and Aodhan just in front of you! But what I admired the most was when Taya would do her crazy dance moves or the girls would play around with one another – jumping, running, dancing, and throwing some confetti on one another – it was so fun to look at! They made it look like God’s presence was a place of freedom, fun, and authenticity. Whether you’ve messed up right before going to the worship service or whether you have stopped worshipping God for a long time, their worship encouraged us all to take hold of God and enjoy His presence right at that moment!

As worship leaders, nothing can ever enthuse the congregation to worship in a liberating way than modeling it to them on stage. This is what I learned the most at the concert actually. Seeing the 2 bands freely praising God in their youth gave me the energy to jump and shout down below. When I go back to our city church, I’d make sure I have practiced enough dance moves to the church can groove in worship hehe.

6. Love your band

They were unashamed to show their affection to one another on stage! They hugged each other, danced with one another, they were like children having fun together before their Father! I also noticed a time when Jihea Oh (she became my favorite!!!) nodded at one of the guitarists when he was trying to adjust his sounds during worship. There were also times when this singer of YNF would have to remove / wear back his guitar (some parts he played the guitar, some parts he only sang – I don’t know the singer’s name) and one person from the production would go up to him and carry / return the guitar. The singer never failed to thank this person from production! Also, I attended the 3rd night of the concert which happened to be their drummer’s birthday and we all sang a happy birthday to him.

Sometimes, I must admit that we get so busy preparing for a worship service that we forget to enjoy one another’s presence. We get caught up with the responsibility of serving others that we neglect to appreciate our teammate with a simple smile or tap on the shoulder. Their relationship was so inspiring and I found myself wanting that for my own team back home.

7. Exhort by quoting empowering scriptures, thru prayer, and one-liner truths

Their exhortations were actually so simple yet so empowering! They said it in a way that was so natural and real. Some part they quoted scriptures on how God was looking at each of us in a very special way since before we were created. On another, we were told how God has a plan and hope for us. There was also a time when they just prayed for us in between songs.

I was able to video their exhortations (one of the things I looked forward to). Let me share it with you once I’m done with the editing 🙂

8. Be creative in song transitions

I was so utterly amazed at how they creatively worked with the transition! Sometimes they end the song then all lights would be turned off and sounds would decrescendo and then start to the next song. They would also engage/exhort or pray in between songs (I thought the song was done) but then after intensifying the moment with their powerful words, they’d go back into singing the Bridge part like how Taya Smith did in What a Beautiful name.

I also loved how they mashed up One Way, Take it all, and Go! From Go’s “ole, ole, ole” they transitioned to “Jesus we’re living for your name” of Take it all. After chorus, they chorus sang “Go” again, and they sang only one part of One Way’s chorus “One Way Jesus You’re the only One that I could live for” and then started the song from the first verse. (Yes, i’ve memorized the transition! hehe)

In the Philippines, we’re used to using the Prelude – Upbeat – Exhortation – Slow transition. To be honest, we’re actually getting fed up with this. Things are getting so predictable in worship that people lose the “awe” and “excitement”. We are challenged to be more creative and artistic in leading worship so people would fully express themselves before God.

9. Let the congregation sing

Oh, I would also not forget how they slowly played the instrumentals of The Stand, when the keyboard started to slowly key the tune, people started singing the chorus even without the lead singers singing. I think 30% of the time, lead singers let the congregation sing on our own. This is my personal favorite part of every worship service: when the church is able to sing without the worship team. 🙂

10. Always give the spotlight to Jesus

Being the best that Hillsong can be, it was truly inspiring and humbling to always hear them giving to Jesus the spotlight. More than the fun and joy they exhibit on stage, you would always see them pointing above or shouting words like “give Jesus the praise”. Also, there was a time when JD led those who have not yet become a Christian to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. He said that it was the very point of the gathering.

So that’s it! My 10 worship leading tips from Hillsong concert here in the Philippines last June 16, 2018 (3rd night). I have my own worship leading tip based on experience. Read them here: Angelittle’s Worship Leading Tips


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Worship Leaders’ Call to Exhort

Aside from singing songs, leading the church to praise, worship leaders exhort too.

Exhort: a gift-mark of a true worship leader

Proof? Not just 1 verse but 150 chapters of the bible can support this claim – the book of Psalms. Most of it has been written by worship leaders, and arguably all of it was dedicated to worship and leading worship. Studying the worship leaders of the Bible can tell us that the worship leaders often use exhortations to usher the people in the realm of worship.

What is an exhortation? It came from root word “exhort” which is synonymous to spur, persuade, or push.

In exhorting, we don’t beg people to worship God nor do we coerce them. We use the power of persuasion – we need to say something very convincing that will push them to act, in this case, that will push them to worship.

Exhortation is both an anointing and an art – an anointing because it is not just a beautifully crafted words, it has to be Holy Spirit – inspired. But it is an art because it has to be a quip of beautifully crafted words. It is a learned ability. It is done with preparation and prayer.

There are 2 designs of exhortation, horizontal and vertical:

  1.  Horizontal – communicative approach; exhorts and communicates to the congregation; done when there is a need to connect people to the mood of worship, usually in middle-part worship or introducing a song;
  2. Vertical – prayerful approach; talks to God directly; done when the Church has already connected to God, usually ending a high praise.

As worship leaders, we have the job to help people fix their eyes on Jesus and lead them to connect to him and worship him.

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How to put ‘power’ into your exhortation

In the article Tip: Worship leaders exhort too we explained that worship leaders need to learn the art of exhortation. But how do we really craft just the right exhortation that will spark the praise of the people?

I’d like to share with you the “POWER” tip that our worship team uses in preparing our exhortations. As you prepare your words, do not forget to add P-O-W-E-R to it

1. Prayerful Praises

The exhortation is more than just arrangement of words; it has to be prayerfully inspired. And we will not just be saying any kind of insights on the microphone, but our insights are themed on praising and honoring God. Our words should lift God and magnify Him.


“Come, let us worship the Lord. Our God is good and His love never runs out. His love never goes dry. He is faithful and He will never leave us”

It is important to carry our “toolbox of prayerful praises” when we lead worship. As we speak this, it will encourage the congregation to follow and speak up their own words of praise. But if we are quiet, they will just wait on our next move.

2. One-line or the “Bomb”

Drop a bomb. The secret to stirring people up to worship is by dropping a bomb that will explode worship and praises among God’s people. This bomb should be so atomic that it shatters away worries, lies, and deception that lurk in the people’s hearts, hindering them from experiencing full and free worship.

This one-line has to be something that the congregation will easily understand, remember and react. There has to be a one-line phrase that will sum up your major point, the big idea of your exhortation. This is like your main idea where the rest of your lines will be anchored or where it will revolve.


“The Lord treats us with grace, not as our sins deserve.” (The Bomb)

See Item 4 “Extract” for the full sample. This one-liner usually comes with the “extract” part of your exhortation. Most of the time, if you already thought of a one-line, you will most likely be able to craft your brief exhortation.

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Shameless Worship 2

In part 1 of Shameless Worship series, we mentioned that because we have a settled past, we can now worship God loud and proud, with no hesitation.

For this second part, you can take this line away with you: We can give God shameless worship because we have a sweet present. By this I mean our current status with God is actually sweet.


The Apostle Paul teaches us that part of what Jesus did on the cross is to remove the veil that hinders us from seeing God face to face (highlight verse 18):

 Cor 3:10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away.

18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Being able to see God face to face, with nothing covering us, is a truth we should be rejoicing about.

Back in Moses’ time, God allowed him to see only his back. But in our time today, because of the perfect work Jesus did on the cross, removing what makes us unholy (sin), we are now in a level of relationship with God where we can gaze upon him face to face.

When we say being able to see God face to face, I don’t mean that we really literally get to see God, but that we can now have an intimate relationship with God.

God is often viewed as someone so high and unreachable. But today, not anymore, He is actually accessible and we can be so up-close with God.

I have a huge crush on a church-mate that lasted for 9 years so each time I see him from afar, my heart gets filled with butterflies. I feel sparks fly all around. Just this year, this crush now became my boyfriend (I’ll tell you our story soon, but you can get a glimpse thru this poem). Because we are now bf-gf, I now have the privilege of looking at him closely and see him like I’ve never seen him before. Sweet right? It makes me even more in love.

How much more should we be so in love with this God? This God who knows we are made of dust and master of sins. This God who knows us deep within yet loves us the same and allows us to be intimate with him. We indeed enjoy a “sweet present” with God. (Continue to Page 2)

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Shameless Worship 1

Have you ever felt hesitant to worship God?

As a worship leader, I have witnessed many moments in worship when the people feel hesitant to raise their hands, shout personal praises, and just be free and wild in the presence of God. And sometimes we are one of them.

Many are the reasons that inhibit the praise of the people. This includes worries of the future, present condition that seems uncomfortable and distracting, and the strongest worship-buster one may ever carry: shame the heart feels because of the sins we do. For this post, let me cover the very last one.

How important is it to be unashamed, uninhibited in our worship?

Very much. I believe that our way of expressing our faith in God is by getting bold, loud and proud in our worship.

One thing that makes a person shameful is that when he knows his debt has not been paid. If you have experienced having a huge debt, you won’t feel comfortable and free because at any time the debtor would appear and ask you for something you cannot afford to pay.

But not between us and God.

2000 years ago Jesus overpaid our debts when he died on the cross. That means we can be shameless today because we have a settled past!

Heb10:19 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[f] we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death,[g] Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house,22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

God’s Word tells us that we can stand free and confident today, we can stomp our feet, and we can stretch our hands wide open because we are free and our past is settled. The psalmist adds in Psalm 103:

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.