PW: I am originally English but my family moved to New Zealand when I was 15. Nine years ago i came back to England with my wife because it's always been my homeland. We had a list of churches we were going to check out and we went to Hillsong so we stopped there. We started calling it our church and we got involved in the team very quickly. While serving as a volunteer with the church for three and a half years I was working in the banking industry when one day I was asked to become a staff member and work for the Church, which was fantastic and a big change.
CT: The new album, "The Beautiful Exchange", are you excited about it?
PW: Yeah, there are a couple of things that are significant about this album. One being the message obviously and the title track of the Beautiful Exchange is a theme that we really wanted try and capture in this album.
There has been a lot of teaching about it in our church so we really wanted to try and capture that. The Beautiful Exchange is something we experience through salvation. We exchange our weakness for His strength, we exchange our sin nature for His nature, for this righteousness.
That is the Beautiful Exchange, that is something we receive freely not because of anything we do because what Christ has done for us. It's almost too good to be true but it is the truth.
The other significant thing about this album is that it is the first global project done as a church. Hillsong has recorded albums over that last years, this is our 19th album. The last 18 have been recorded in Sydney by the team there and so have always been kind of Sydney-centric and over the last six years Hillsong London has recorded a few albums separately to that.
But we are very much one global church which operates as one church with one vision, even though we are spread out with a few different congregations around the world. So we thought we would try and capture that oneness. This is the first time we attempted to do that.
We've recorded 12 tracks in Sydney and six tracks in London with the local teams and we put all 18 songs on the DVD and picked 12 of them to go on the CD. So that’s exciting for us.
CT: Could this be a new direction for Hillsong?
PW: Yeah almost definitely, one of the things that was happening is that there was a little bit of confusion from people that do buy Hillsong music as to the difference between Hillsong Live, Hillsong United, Hillsong London and we were thinking if we keep going with that then where does that stop. Do we have a Hillsong Cape Town album, a Hillsong Paris album? So it does look like a sensible decision from that point of view just to avoid confusing people.
CT: How else is Hillsong London encouraging young people in their faith right now?
PW: There are always projects on the go. We passionately believe that the local church is actually God’s vehicle for reaching humanity with the answer of hope and the answer to that is Jesus Christ.
We really passionately believe that so we are always just encouraging young people to see that the local church is the church of Jesus Christ and the thing that God is using to reach humanity and the best thing they can do it is to line their lives up with the purposes of God.
In some cases some people's perception of the church has to be changed and what we do is about that. Then we encourage people to be involved in their local church to serve to contribute in one way and to make it what it could be.
CT: What does it mean to worship?
PW: There is a lot of teaching on what worship is and there is truth in all of it so my understanding of worship is that it’s not actually so much of a verb, an action, something you do. Some people would say that and I understand that, but my understanding of it is it’s more of an adjective, a description of something.
Worship to me is a response. It describes the response of the human heart when it realises the greatness and the goodness of God. When we get a glimpse of the majesty and the awesomeness of God and at the same time get a glimpse of what He has done, everything for us, that He can have a personal relationship with us.
It is a natural response as human beings because we are created to worship God and we actually realise His majesty and His greatness and at the same time realise His love, the depth of His love, which I don’t think we will fully recognise or get our heads wrapped around.
But when we get a glimpse of His love for us, a natural response is that we worship. So worship is a descriptive word. It is what happens when we realise the greatness and goodness of God.
I don’t think worship is something we do to get a response from God. We don’t do the act of worship to get a response from God. God has already done everything and worship is our response to what He’s done when we realise how great that is.
CT: What are the future plans for Hillsong London?
PW: At this stage we are looking at the whole global project and the way that we will be moving forward. We may do some digital EPs. There are a lot of other great songs coming out of the house that one album is not enough, there is not enough space to fit them all, so we might do some digital EPs and distribute them to local church leaders.
CT: Your favourite Hillsong song and why?
PW: Probably judging by my most played list on my iTunes is “All I Need Is You” which is a little bit older now but it's one of my most listened to songs. For me when I spend personal time with God it’s a song I tend to stick on for whatever reason. I cannot give you a deep theological reason but I think the lyrics are just ... they just sum it all up. “All I need Is You.”