It was the first time a Christian album had debuted at number one on the mainstream ARIA music charts and, according to the Sydney-based Hillsong Church team that produced it, “makes a powerful declaration that Christianity is alive and well”.

For All You’ve Done is the latest in a string of 13 live worship albums released by the church. The double CD contains 15 praise and worship songs written by nine songwriters, all of whom are members of Hillsong Church.

CD Hillsong

“It’s very exciting that the worship of Jesus Christ is the most popular music in Australia this week,” says Hillsong’s senior pastor, Brian Houston.

“It makes a powerful declaration that Christianity is alive and strong and the church in the 21st century is going forward.”

Founded in 1983 with a congregation of 45 which met in a high school hall, Hillsong Church - initially known as Hills Christian Life Centre - is today one of the largest churches in Australia. These days it operates out of two sites: a 21 hectare park in the Hills district and a site close to the Sydney CBD. 

Hillsong Music Australia - the arm of the church which oversees the production and release of music - launched its first album, Hillsongs, in 1988 - a studio recording featuring 11 songs. The first live recording, The Power of Your Love, was made in 1992.

Since then, all 12 of the live albums have reached gold status in Australia with an additional 30 awards for gold and platinum status granted in other countries.

The latest album was recorded on 29th February.

“The recording captures the spirit of our church coming together to honor, celebrate and praise our wonderful Lord,” says worship pastor Darlene Zschech, who along with husband Mark has written some of the most renowned worship songs circling the world today.

“Through our music, we are able to give expression to our faith and gratitude to Him.”

More than 11,000 people were present when the latest album was recorded at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Not that such numbers are surprising these days.

Hillsong’s congregation now numbers more than 17,500 people and the album’s debut comes hot on the heels of the church’s annual conference - the 19th it’s held - which this year attracted 21,600 registered delegates for the day sessions and thousands more attendees at the night sessions. 

This year’s conference - where most of the albums were sold - was centred on the theme of “Passionate” and featured local and international speakers including US-based Christians Joyce Meyer and Frank Damazio, Allan and Helen Meyer, of Melbourne’s Careforce Church, Paul O’Rourke, the chief executive of Compassion Australia and Australia’s Federal Treasurer Peter Costello.

Houston, meanwhile, says that “hit records and financial rewards” didn’t play any part in the motivation for producing live worship albums.

“(W)e believe one of the main reasons for the continued success of these albums is that the songs of worship are sung in churches of all denominations across Australia,” he says.