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Vanessa Hudgens Loves Hillsong Church for 'Their Focus on Having Personal Relationship With Jesus'

( [email protected] ) Apr 01, 2015 03:15 PM EDT
In a recent interview with the New York Times, "High School Musical" actress Vanessa Hudgens opened up about her Christianity and why she loves Hillsong megachurch.
Vanessa Hudgens, 26, has appeared in numerous films, including ''High School Musical'' and ''Spreak Breakers''

"High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens recently shared that she loves attending Australian Megachurch Hillsong because it strongly encourages congregants to have their "own personal relationship with Jesus."

Although she was raised a Catholic and adhered to atheism for many years, the 26 year old actress recently embraced Christianity, in part due to the influence of her boyfriend, 23 year old Austin Butler, who also attends Hillsong.

"It feels like Arcade Fire - it's epic like that," Hudgens told the Times regarding the church's award-winning worship band Hillsong United. "They really focus on you having your own personal relationship with Jesus, which is wonderful."

Hillsong Church was founded in 1983 by Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston and is known for its relaxed, modern atmosphere and extensive mission program. Hillsong's website states that it is "a Church about a God, who is all about people," and their "singular, all-consuming passion is to build God's Church and Kingdom."

Over 100,000 worshipers attend Hillsong's services held every weekend at its twelve campuses throughout the country, including New York and Los Angeles. In Australia, the megachurch has six campuses and twice as many extension services.

In addition to Hudgens, many celebrities regularly attend Hillsong, including pop singer Justin Bieber, NBA star Jeremy Lin, actress AnnaSophia Robb, and model Hailey Baldwin.

"We try to reach everyone here whether you're homeless or in the world's eyes, a celebrity, we pray our church can reach you," Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz explained of the church's success in an interview with New York's Fox 5.

"A service is more about what you came in expecting. We want our services to encourage people, equip people, empower people and educate non-believers," he added. "The whole principle of our church is come as you are, you're going to be accepted for who you are. We have a place for everybody."

Last week, Hillsong United released their latest single, "Touch The Sky," which is featured on their new album, Empires, which is slated for release on May 26.

Also last week, the church released a new trailer for "Hillsong-Let Hope Rise," a documentary-style film chronicling the journey of the Australian worship band.

"The only thing that matters about our story is that everything that we do represents the heart of God," said Joel Houston, who leads the Dove Award-winning band. "I believe that God created music for the soul purpose to connect the human heart, our soul with Heaven."