18 December 2014
Hillsong hosts UK's largest carol service
Hillsong Church London is preparing to host the largest Christmas carol service in the UK this weekend at London's SSE Arena, Wembley.
For the fourth year running, the church is inviting thousands of people to this creative production on Sunday.
Tickets for the evening performance have already sold out, so a new afternoon service has now also been scheduled.
Gary Clarke, Hillsong's lead pastor, spoke to the Evangelical Alliance about why carols are still relevant today.
"Carols are part of the Christmas tradition, and the fact is everybody does seem to love them. That said, we do try to give some of the carols a modern twist.
"Hillsong Carols is a spectacular festive Christmas celebration for the whole family. It's all about what Christmas is about: Jesus. It's an event that we hope will see many people come to from all over London and beyond – both church and non-church people.
"The carols are possible because of the whole lot of our amazing volunteer team; from dancers, musicians and performers to stage builders, production and TV specialists. We are blessed to have some many incredibly talented people in our church."
But will this just be another church service? "The main difference is that Hillsong Carols is more of a production, with focus on different items that tell the story of God sending His son Jesus to earth, rather than an actual service. There are still elements of a normal service though, such as praise, worship and a short message."
"We'd love to see people bring their friends and family, especially those who aren't familiar with church or don't know Jesus. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to invite someone to church as people seem to be more open to it during this season.
"The aim for Hillsong Carols is to have a church event where people easily could bring their friends and family to, in the hope they encounter Jesus and his message of grace."
You've must been working on this, and other, Christmas events for months, but when does Christmas really start for the Hillsong team? "I guess December is all about Christmas. Firstly, to take this time of the year and recognise and celebrate what God did to save humanity and every single individual. Secondly, it is a perfect time to get together with friends and family and spend quality time together during the month. And thirdly, it's a great time to reach out to the people around us in need. It's not that we don't that throughout the year, but the Christmas season helps bring a focus to it."
What does 2015 have in store for Hillsong London? "We hope to see more people impacted and reached with the message of Jesus and his Church across all our locations in London, Surrey, Kent and Oxford. Some special highlights I'm looking forward to are our Easter services, our women's conference Colour and our Hillsong Conference at The O2."
You can still book tickets for Hillsong Carols at 3pm on Sunday here.