Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston has revealed that his multi-site megachurch based in Sydney, Australia, rarely sings the CCM hits "Shout to the Lord" and "Oceans" anymore in an effort to bring "life and freshness" to its services.
"When it comes to influence, predictability is our enemy. Because you never get influence from doing things the way they've always been done," Houston said during the Catalyst Conference, a multi-day event held from Wednesday to Friday with the theme being "Uncommon Fellowship", according to The Christian Post.
"You get influence from creating new ways. Stepping out, taking risks. Hoping people will see that there's another way of doing this...Over the years we've dared to do things differently. We've dared to take some risks. There are certain things like the Word of God that's unchangeable," continued Houston.
"You may be shocked to hear we don't sing 'Shout to the Lord' anymore at Hillsong Church. It's not 1993. If you come all the way to Australia and you hope to hear 'Shout to the Lord,' your chances are slight. We don't even sing 'Oceans' much anymore."
Houston went on to note he likes "that new songs are written that bring new life and freshness. I love the creativity that goes along with it. I love the creativity at a conference like here at Catalyst."
"Thank God for spontaneity. Thank God for innovation. Thank God for creativity," he added. "Spontaneity is our friend in the church."
Founded by Houston and his wife, Bobbie, in 1983, Hillsong Church has an ever-expanding footprint of churches that circle the globe, with three U.S. sites - in and around New York City, Los Angeles and most recently in Phoenix, Arizona. Hillsong's reach extends across 14 countries and five continents, and it boasts an average weekly attendance worldwide near 100,000, according to its website.
When asked the secret to the church's tremendous success - particularly as weekly attendance is on the decline in most churches across the country - Houston explained to The Gospel Herald during a sit-down interview in August that church leaders strive to present the timeless message of the Gospel in a way that resonates with the average individual.
"[With] everything going on in the world, people do still have a deep desire to connect with something greater, I believe, God - Jesus." he said. "I I just think if you can take an old message and have it framed in a way where the message is the same but the way that it's received by people is just absolutely relevant to their world - I think people are looking for authenticity."