Artists Still Live Here — Hillsong Creative Magazine

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HILLSONG CREATIVE HILLSONG CREATIVE

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JULY JULY 2021


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BARBARA LEPHUNTING by Michelle Van Rennen

“Whatever I have been given, I want to give. I know what it feels like to have nothing. I don’t ever want to keep what I have just for myself. ”

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THE POWER OF PRESENCE by Rachel Mthembu

“The whole world around you doesn’t have to be beautiful for you to achieve your purpose.” - Eddie Phiri

AN INVITATION TO WONDER by David Andrew

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“Each one of us is only given a finite time on this earth. No one gets more time. We don’t get to control the quantity, but we do get to control the quality. How do we maximise our quality?”

“So what does it mean to consume media responsibly in today’s day and age? How do we stay in control of the messaging that we are receiving while also being intentional about the narratives we are telling? ”

“But on the day that I’m afraid, I lay my fears before You and trust You with all my heart. What harm could a man bring to me? With God on my side, I will not be afraid of what comes. The morning praises of God fill my heart as I trust His promises.”

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FINDING HOME IN HELLO by Sarah Laing

How songwriter Simone Roets found her voice in a new country.

INTENTIONAL MEDIA USE by Janae Janik

FOUND IN COMMUNITY by Samantha Ortiz

“We aren’t meant to do any of this life alone, least of all the stewardship of our God-given gifts. I don’t need to convince you to create. But maybe you need convincing that you weren’t meant to create, alone.”

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WE ARE STILL HERE by Tom & Paula Christie

INVESTMENTS ALL CREATIVES SHOULD MAKE THIS YEAR by Beth Kellock “Being able to align both my ‘creative’ and ‘businessy’ sides has been the greatest delight, and I love being able to bring hope to biz owners by making marketing simple.”


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“I’ve learnt that Imposter Syndrome diminishes with vulnerability in community. When we get honest with one another, share our fears and insecurities, when we come with openness, a willingness to listen and a desire to be real, all kinds of doubts fall away.”

“You kind of feel like you’re part of something. You know, you’re serving a purpose with what you’re doing.”

ARNAUD DU TILH & I - A TALE OF TWO IMPOSTORS by Nikki Sealey

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OLYMPIC FANFARE TO FAMILY by Janae Janik

KRISTOFFER GRINDHEIM by Sebastian Strand

Kristoffer Grindheim, an emerging Director of Photography in Norway has a background in music, but always knew he wanted to work with films. Over the last few years, he’s had the chance to work on high-end car commercials, award-winning music videos, and is currently chasing the dream of a feature film.

#artists artistsstilllivehere

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A GOOD BOOK by Rich Langton

“We forget the reality of who the God is that we serve. Sometimes we forget the big picture of what He said. Not just what Jesus did on the cross and His resurrection, but all God has promised for the days to come.”

CONTENTS

featuring

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“Our gifts and talents are special, and they make a difference in peoples’ lives, but it’s the art of human connection that reminds us we’re not alone. ”

Rapid fire questions with the next generation of songwriters.

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A GRAPE STORY by Kmy Denton

MORE THAN A SONG by Tyler Douglass, Isaac Fisher, Josh Kpozehouen, Tahisha Hunt, and Daniela Marchio

DEBUNKING MYTHS ABOUT EXCELLENCE by Hillsong Creative Podcast

LESS IS MORE by Amanda Viviers



WELCOME I’m writing this from my patio. The winter chill stil in the air, but also just enough heat coming from the afternoon sun to keep me here. I’m caught in procrastination, partly due to some form of imposter syndrome (which you can read more about in this issue) and partly fooled by lockdown’s ability to stretch the length of the days and make you think you really have more time than you do! In approaching this magazine issue, our team set out to bring you stories framed around the theme of “encouragement at just the right time.” Personal stories of people within our community who found themselves in that exact situation, and how that encouragement changed their trajectory. Stories that will elicit hope within you; perhaps serving as the encouragement you need, right now, to go another lap pursuing what is it that you are chasing and believing for in your own life. Because I’m not sure about you, but I need encouragement more than ever. As much as we all long for life to go back to some sort of “normal”, the reality is it’s a long road and maybe even a different, more beautiful road to a new normal that the Lord is leading us down. So let the stories of people like Barbara and Eddie, who were brave enough to change their normal amid uncertainty, encourage you. Let the journey of Justin discovering what matters most challenge you. Let the words within these pages remind you that remaining is worth it. Much love,

Kris Mateika Creative Director & Editor


AN INVITATION TO

WONDER remaining a student Words: David Andrew


I once heard about Pablo Casals, a world-renowed cellist who was still practicing four to five hours a day at 81-years-old. When asked why he still continued to practice this much at his level of critical acclaim and advanced age, Casals answered: “Because I think I am making progress.”... Astounding!!!!

unsettling or delighted surprise, for no one can adequately explain the mystery in which one finds oneself immersed in every moment.”

It is an invitation to experience wonder. Huston Smith takes us further with this thought in a mystical direction when he writes: “A spiritually Music is an incredible thing... heck, art of any form realised being is simply a person with an acute carries this little built-in benefit: there is no end sense of the astonshing mystery of everything.” to the depth of experience. When you learn more about art, about a song form, about how to play a I wanna be that person, eyes open to the new musical technique, or learn to make art with astonishing mystery, eager to encouter the surprise a new medium, something incredible happens. of every moment of wonder in this existence. This Your depth of enjoyment is expanded. The more is the greater motivation for my aspirations as an you know, the more you can encounter. The more evergreen student. I want to constantly push back you know, the greater your experience. And... this against the temptation to become a professional, is where it gets fun... the greater the depth of that is to “rest on my laurels” and think that I have encounter and experience, the more, in turn, you done the work so now I can produce art and people are able to comprehend about art and the more can tell me how good it is. you are able to learn about it. It’s a never ending cycle. You learn something new, that new skill No, I constantly want to be in a place where I’m allows you to immerse yourself more fully in the making art that relies on new, untested skills, encounter and experience of art. And as a result skills I’m not good at it. Like learning to play the of your fresh encounter and experience, you are trumpet over 2020. I wanted to do it because I able to pick up new knowledge and skills; skills that would be forced to embrace my role as a student. weren’t available to you until you had reached a A squawking, stumbling, brass student. new stage of your encounter and experience. This is what allows an 81-year-old cellist to still answer The ego often needs little reminders that it is not “I think I am making progress”. in charge. I wanted to do something that I could be embarrassed about if people wanted to see me What you then become painfully aware of is the demonstrate my skills on that instrument. I wanted vast multitude of things you could learn and keep the wonder, not the safety of already attained skills. learning through all of eternity. There are so many I wanted the mystery, not the certainty. I want to instruments I want to play, so many languages feel like I’m being diligent with the time I’ve been I want to learn, so many forms of art I want to given, and at the end of the day, I think I’m still become proficient in, but alas, time races forward making progress. and we get no ‘do-overs’. What are we to do with this existential dilemma? _____________________________________ Each one of us is only given a finite time on this earth. No one gets more time. We don’t get to control the quantity. But we DO get to control the quality. And how do we maximise our quality? How do we increase the depth of experience? We live with eyes up and ears open. We live with an anticipation and expectation of wonder.

David Andrew is an overly ambitious artist who, in an attempt to practice what he preaches, is recording eight albums this year of varying genres and musical approaches, collaborating with some of his favourite musicians from around the globe. He describes his upcoming album release Being, Consciousness, & Bliss as a Post-Classical Underwater Rave, contending with the ground of reality, the infinite and the need for David Bentley Hart, in his book The Experience of bodily motion using “fully sick beats”. You can follow his God: Being, Consciousness, and Bliss offers to us endevours over on instagram at @davidjandrew, and a thought, that “the begininng of all serious by listening to his current release, “Modern Hymns”, on reflection on the world begins in a moment of your streaming music platform of choice now.


Photo Series: Seth Nichols

Words: Cassandra Langton Images: Seth Nichols


My question: What are God-worshipers like? Your answer: Arrows aimed at God’s bull’s-eye. Psalm 25:12 (MSG)






INTENTIONAL MEDIA USE Words: Janae Janik

There is power in media. From the movies we watch, to the social media sites we interact on, we are constantly engaging with content that speaks to our interests, values and belief systems. So what does it mean to consume media responsibly in today’s day and age? How do we stay in control of the messaging that we are receiving while also being intentional about the narratives we are telling? In a recent episode of Hope 103.2’s UNDISTRACTED Podcast1, host Laura Bennett and Ben Field, Director of Programming for Hillsong Channel, discuss just that. Here are 10 ways Field suggests engaging with your screens effectively both as a consumer of media, and as a creative. 1 Bennett, Laura. “Ben Field:‘If we tell stories well, we can shape the narrative of history.’” Undistracted with Laura Bennett, Hope 103.2, 18 April, 2021.


Images: Sebastian Strand


AS CONSUMERS 1. BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU COMMIT TO Field says that doing research is extremely helpful in deciding what to spend his time on. He gets recommendations from trusted friends and looks up the filmmakers on IMDB, which can give a good indicator of the type of content and quality of a specific movie. He says that if he’s unsure, he will watch the beginning of a movie or TV show and then decide if it’s worth his time to continue watching.

2. HAVE AN OPEN CONVERSATION POLICY WITH KIDS While Field does set up parental blocks on the kid’s devices to monitor what they are watching, He also says that he wants to foster an open conversation with his kids. He acknowledges they seem to be aware of things happening in the world a lot younger than he was at their age, and through conversation wants to create a safety net within his home to explore confronting subjects. “I would rather them come to me to understand certain things that they’ve seen rather than go to the schoolground and have their perspective shaped by, you know, a friend who’s also trying to figure out what it is.”


3. HAVE YOUR OWN CONVICTIONS AND OWN VALUES. LOOK AT THINGS WITH A LEVEL OF DISCERNMENT. Field says if the media he is watching doesn’t sit well with his soul, then he makes a conscious choice to not watch it. “I think the only way to do it on an individual level is really, search your heart for you know, what your own convictions are, what your own values are. And then as content comes through and as you’re watching things, it’s registered against that.”

4. FIND THE REDEMPTION Even though he is very intentional about what he watches, Field doesn’t only stick within the ‘Christian’ genre. He believes there are redemptive qualities to be found in every medium and it’s not fair to generalise a whole category. It comes down to personal conviction. A personal favourite of his is crime documentaries because he finds himself being drawn towards the character’s pain and wanting to understand them holistically. “I have moments where I’m watching the person standing up on the stand in a court you know, court room scene, and my heart and empathy is for them. How did you – how did you get to a place in your life where this became your reality?”


AS CREATORS 1. TELL REDEMPTIVE STORIES In keeping with the last point, as creatives, we have to understand that every story has a message that is being shared. We must ask ourselves why this story needs to exist and be told. Not in a way that is forcing a perspective, but to enlighten and enlarge empathy around a particular subject matter. “There’s opportunity to challenge people’s thinking and challenge their heart condition towards things.”

2. USE CREATIVITY TO UNITE PEOPLE AND CREATE UNDERSTANDING Media is often a powerful tool to help fuel conversations about issues in our current world. Movements like Black Lives Matter and MeToo ended up being starting blocks for filmmakers to further engage with audiences on these topics through media. Field says that we need to be cautious that we are asking the right questions in these scenarios and using our skills to bring unity amongst people. “If media and the arts can be used as a way to be able to speak other people’s languages – to be able to unite people. I think it’s a powerful tool to be able to do that.”


3. BE OPEN TO TWO SIDES OF EVERY CONVERSATION Ben talks about how as creators, we have to understand the power of the messaging we can be sending through our films and programs. It can be easy to have an agenda and there can be a danger if we are stuck in our pre-conceived ideas rather than seeking to understand the other side of the story we are trying to tell. “When you take time to understand the other side. When you take time to look at it through their perspective...you’re able to then come together. And that doesn’t mean that you have to agree…but at least your perspective is going out understanding the bigger world in which it exists.”

4. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE Field says we need to know the audience that we’re creating for. For instance, if we are making a movie for church, then doing it in a way that feels more like a sermon is fine. However, if we are trying to reach people outside of the church, then we need to find a way to do that. There is often a disconnect because filmmakers see their films as a way to preach, but there needs to be an intentional pursuit of cinematic excellence if we want to reach a universal audience. Ultimately, as a filmmaker, we need to know the type of content that we are called to create. “That’s where I think the conflict is…when we abandon the art form of cinema and we just have a message about it…that’s not what people are drawn to.”

5. KEEP THE ART FORM Field is passionate about the art of filmmaking and believes as Christians we often do it a disservice. People go to the movies to escape real life. They want to be immersed in a world and in an engaging story. Therefore, as storytellers we have to be intentional about creating an experience that will engage our audience. “Story telling in movies is a craft; it’s an art form that allows you to think and explore. It’s a form of escapism, and it also challenges our thinking and creates empathy for others.”

6. INSPIRE HOPE IN THE DARKNESS Field says that faith-based films often lack the depth of true valley moments in their attempt to paint a clean picture of the Gospel. They are often afraid to show certain uncomfortable scenes because the messiness doesn’t feel Christian. Unfortunately, this can create stories that don’t feel realistic of the authentic challenges of life. Field believes we can explore darker elements if our intention is to tell stories of hope and grace in the midst of it. “The Christian message exists stronger in the valley moments because our eyes are not on what we can do to get out of those but on our Creator who is there to be able to help strengthen us and bring wisdom to those things.”

To listen to the full conversation, check out UNDISTRACTED with Laura Bennett on your favourite podcast platform or at hope1032.com.au


MEET BARBARA LEPHUNTING Words & Images: Michelle Van Reenen



Wow. Where do I even begin with the story she is on her way to church. I was firstly shocked, because for a moment she even slipped my mind, and of Barbara… It all started on a Friday morning when she came to my house as I had booked her through a cleaning company. This isn’t something I’ve ever done before, so I was a bit apprehensive in the beginning. I remember cleaning the whole house before she even came in, because I felt so strange that someone else was cleaning my house.

secondly excited. She is joining us for church with her little one, Bophelo. When she arrived at church, they were both in awe and shocked at the people, the building, the worship, the whole experience. Everything about that was completely different to what she has grown up with. She lived in a small shack in Dunoon an informal settlement just down the road from us in Cape Town.

So, with that said she came in, face bright and so friendly and started cleaning. It started off a little awkward each minding their own business - so I came into the kitchen and started a conversation with her. I asked her if she wanted tea and her face was perplexed. I remember this clearly, because afterwards she actually told me that she was so taken aback by the conversation and interest that we had in her life and me actually offering her tea. This has never happened to her before. (crazy, right!?) And that moment, funny enough - changed my life. And hers.

It’s mind blowing. One moment you are in a completely developed community with parks and shopping centres and schools and 5 minutes down the road, you find yourself with a polar opposite picture of poverty. Moms walking kilometers with buckets of water on their heads and a baby on their backs, kids running in the dirt playing with tires and make-shift cards, lines queuing waiting for the truck to bring them water so they can wash their clothing. This was her reality.

The day went by and as she left we were almost like longtime friends. I invited her to church and gave her my number. That was it. Two weeks passed and she sent me a message saying

Sunday came and went and it was the start of a beautiful story unfolding… Every Sunday she joined us for church with her two kids. Weeks went by and she started inviting friends to come along. Every Sunday we had a new friend joining us and it came to a point where people didn’t fit in our car anymore.




She started paying taxi fares for her friends to join. Anything to get them there. People saw something different in her and they wanted it too. As the months went by she went from strength to strength, however still battling with the reality of life, needing finances and a secure job to provide for her kids. She tried everything - waking up in the wee hours of the morning to bake and sell muffins in her community, selling secondhand clothes on the street, house cleaning, construction cleaning. Every job was just a means to survive and keep her head above water. But deep inside she carried her dream with her all the way. Her passion to make clothes and own her own business. This was a desire of hers all her life and although she pushed it aside, she had never forgotten it. It was always there in the back of her mind - constantly nudging at her, but reality always reminded her that it was a dream out of her reach. Then the day came. March, 27 2020. The Covid pandemic. South Africa went into a national lockdown. Barbara and her community were stranded. Thousands left without jobs and food. Fear and anxiety crept up in the communities. The need was real, urgent and confronting. This reality pushed us to think outside the box and we came up with an idea. I messaged Barbara and asked her if she ever heard of a scrunchie. The silence on the other side of the phone was a clear indication that she had no idea what it was! (Haha!) So, I sent her a picture and before knowing what she said yes to she just said.. “Let’s do it!” That day I posted on my social media platforms, asking friends to support Barbara and her family through buying hand-made scrunchies. Many people reached out and said that they would love to support her. We got some material and a secondhand machine donated and she started that evening teaching herself how to make scrunchies. She and her son Marvelous (matric that time) sat together and made 100 scrunchies… all wrong! Haha - not even kidding! So, we sat together, trained and started again - this time looking way better!


“Whatever I have been given, I want to give. I know what it feels like to have nothing. I don’t ever want to keep what I have just for myself.”




Weeks went by and orders came in - people were loving it! All unknowing that she was actually busy outworking her dream… A month went by and we started getting more and more people involved. One day, as I was on my way driving to a friend’s house, my phone started beeping. Notifications came through every few seconds and as I picked up my phone looking at what’s happening, I saw order after order coming through. Perplexed, I tried looking at what happened and I realized that a social media influencer saw Barbara’s Instagram page and shared it. From there it went viral! She went from 100 followers to over 2000 in just a few days. That is where it all started snow-balling…

her community. She would arrive with an old car and a trailer every day for a week to pick up food parcels and drive around the community to hand it out. Wow, that was a special memory…

Barbara’s scrunchies became well-known among people as it went from a side-hustle to a full time job. I will never forget the first night that we sat and packed the orders together in my house. We got so many orders we had to close the online shop. We made scrunchies and packed orders till 3am that morning, while Bophelo fell asleep on the couch watching a movie. This was surreal. She kept saying: “I will never complain about work. This is a gift. I am so thankful. I am so blessed!” No matter how hard it got or what challenge she faced, she pushed through, knowing that no dream worth pursuing will ever come easy.

She has always told me “Whatever I have been given, I want to give. I know what it feels like to have nothing. I don’t ever want to keep what I have just for myself.”

It is now more than one year later and she still has her business and it is flourishing. Her son, Marvelous passed matric and got accepted to University on a scholarship. He will be the first one to graduate in her family. Her little girl, Bophelo is in grade one and is adjusting so well to her new school. She keeps helping every person with whatever is in her hands, and to some degree I really think this is why she has been so successful.

I love that. What an inspiration. From a stranger walking through the doors of my home - to a leader, a business woman and a really good friend.

As the months went by, so many miracles unfolded. People donated sewing machines, contributed money for material and shops reached out to stock her scrunchies - even as far as the UK and Canada. (How amazing is that!) Even radio stations reached out to her where she was hosted live and told her story, encouraging others to pursue their dreams. At one point, ETV News (our local news station) reached out and came to do a live interview with her in her home in Dunoon. At this point she had already appointed two ladies in her community that helped her. Throughout all her successes, there were many ups and downs along the journey. The reality of living in a township was very real. The danger was very real and eminent for her at some stage and unfortunately the reality of her family and background was still very much a challenge, however she somehow always came out on the other side. She pushed hard to create a better life for her and her children. She was determined to be a change in her community and made sure she always gave what she had. One of my favorite moments was at Christmas time last year where she gathered her friends and joined us to hand out food parcels and presents for the kids in

Pictured above: Barbara’s daughter Bophelo, Michelle & Barbara



ARNAUD a tale DU TILH & of I two imposters

Words: Nikki Sealey Images: Ben Faulkner



“The game’s up Nik. You had them going for a while, their 100-year slumber, stare blankly at me and say but they’re just about to wake up and realise you’re ‘who on earth is this person and what right does she not who they thought you were. They’re going to have to be here?’ realise you’re a fraud.” Surprisingly, that didn’t happen. Everyone carried on I was in Chiang Rai, Thailand and about to step as normal, the presentation went off without a hitch, into a meeting of Marketing and Communications everyone was interested in how we could learn from executives and CEOs from around the world. They this partnership. were a wonderful group of representatives from our NGO’s global funding offices. In a short while I was The thing is, that line of thinking was not new for me. due to give a presentation about a partnership that That little rhetoric, that rogue of a censor in my head had been particularly successful for our UK office. has piped up in every new job or role I’ve ever taken, every presentation I’ve ever had to make. I was terrified. I quake at the thought of public speaking at the best of times and I prefer the wings I can trace this back to my teenage years. One day, to centre stage. Even though I knew my subject inside my Year 12 English teacher handed my creative out and was even passionate about it, I had never essay back to me with the words ‘Come and see me’ spoken to this group before and I was quite possibly scrawled at the top. Puzzled, I walked up to her desk. (definitely, in my head) the most inexperienced She drilled me with her piercing blue gaze and in her person in the room. clipped Eastern European accent said, “I am going to ask for a meeting with your parents. This is not your I was wracked by self-doubt and I was completely work.” convinced that the moment I started speaking, as if from a trance, the room would suddenly stir from I was mortified. She accused me of plagiarising the


work (though she could not procure any evidence), sat across from my parents and essentially said that I was not that good a writer to produce a piece like that. For a kid who was hardworking but painfully shy and soft-spoken, that was a crushing blow.

Fast forward a few years and I was in a doctor’s waiting room, leafing through a mind-numbing magazine when my eyes froze on two words: Imposter Syndrome.

While I don’t recall the substance of that article, I will I don’t truly know if that experience contributed never forget those two words. I realised for the first somewhat to this feeling, but over the years that time that everything that I had felt for years had a doubt would surface in every room I stepped into, name. It was actually ‘a thing’. every new task or role I undertook. ‘I don’t have the right skillset. I definitely don’t have the experience My mind tripped a memory of a novel I had chosen other candidates will have. I don’t really deserve to to critique in high school called ‘The Wife of Martin be in this room, at this table, on this platform, in this Guerre’ by Janet Lewis. Based on a true story in 16th role, apply for this job, this project, this opportunity… century France, the heir to his family’s land, husband to a young wife and father to a son, Martin Guerre And if I did get the role or opportunity, that fiendish disappears one day and fails to return. Years pass and villain, my very own traitorous mind, would say “You’re then one day, chaos breaks out when he reappears. totally going to get found out and your fraudulent In every aspect - looks, mannerisms, the intimate ways will be exposed.’ knowledge of his household - he is the prodigal returned. However, over the course of time, his I kept all this to myself for the better part of 25 years wife has a nagging feeling that this isn’t actually her because I was convinced that it was a secret I alone husband, he is an imposter. harboured and had to deal with. In the end this man is in fact exposed as an imposter




I’ve learnt that Imposter Syndrome diminishes with vulnerability in community. When we get honest with one another, share our fears and insecurities, when we come with openness, a willingness to listen and a desire to be real, all kinds of doubts fall away.

when the real Martin Guerre does eventually return and Arnaud du Tilh, the deceiver, is convicted in court and publicly executed for his grand hoax and deception of the entire village including his own family.

fraudulence are no respecter of persons. It floored me to learn that some of the most well-known and celebrated creators of literature, scientific breakthroughs, musicians and artists, even successful businesspeople also suffered with Imposter Syndrome; people like Maya Angelou and Albert We’ve all heard the true stories of people Einstein. It is so common that it can be found across impersonating others to defraud companies, families gender, race, age and a host of occupations but it also and other shocking tales. disproportionately affects those in underrepresented groups within society. But Imposter Syndrome or Imposter Experience is not based on real life acts. Rather, it can be described In her incredibly insightful book, Lean In, Sheryl as an internal feeling of fraudulence when you don’t Sandberg says ‘For women, feeling like a fraud is a believe you are as competent as others think you are; symptom of a greater problem. We consistently a belief that you are undeserving of recognition or underestimate ourselves. Multiple studies in multiple praise for your work or accomplishments or a feeling industries show that women often judge their own that your skills and ideas are not worthy enough performance as worse than it actually is, while men and your abilities are limited. You are plagued by a judge their own performance as better than it actually festering doubt that it will only be a matter of time is.’ before people realise ‘you are not all that you are cracked up to be.’ It can be incredibly debilitating and While calling this phenomenon a ‘syndrome’ is helpful, self-sabotaging. it is important to stress that it is not a mental illness. It’s also not something that really has a cure, much to I found out that this self-doubt and these feelings of my disappointment.


But isn’t it remarkable that when something that has been harboured in the dark and fed by doubt, is unearthed and brought into the light, how by that very act, it ceases to have the same potency or power it once did? Sure, it’s still there, and perhaps may never retreat, but in the light, everything looks different.

I’ve learnt that Imposter Syndrome diminishes with vulnerability in community. When we get honest with one another, share our fears and insecurities, when we come with openness, a willingness to listen and a desire to be real, all kinds of doubts fall away.

It diminishes when we decide to take those risks anyway. To say yes anyway. Believe the best of ourselves anyway, and when we raise our hand and give it a go, courage seems to expand within and our At a core team strategy and planning day we each had faltering steps and misgivings don’t matter as much to tell the group one thing we considered a weakness because we are all fallibly human and haunted by a and one strength we could bring to the table. plethora of both real and unsubstantiated fears and doubts. I had a full-blown battle raging in my head as others spoke. I was sifting through options, attempting to We then discover that the thrill of being life-long pick some mild weakness (and vague strength) that I learners and contributors together far outweighs the could offer quickly and move on. Yet I felt increasingly discomfort and self-doubt. compelled to admit, ‘I am an imposter!’ In fact, perhaps there’s another way to look at this I didn’t quite say it like that of course. But with a fair Imposter Syndrome. Perhaps it can be held in a measure of trepidation I told them that I felt like a tension by artisans and creators in all walks of life in fraud most of the time and that at any moment, they’d such a way that it leads to what Dani Shapiro calls ‘the see me for who I am, Arnaud du Tilh. (I obviously beautiful unrest’ – harnessing our hesitancies and didn’t really say I was Arnaud du Tilh, either, but you honing our craft in spite of them, to shape a world get my point). where everyone creates and contributes and find they do belong right where they are. There was a genuine shaking of heads from this goldhearted group of people. They affirmed me for who I But that’s a tale for another time. was and doused that long-held belief in an outpouring of encouragement. So only a few weeks ago, after years of battling this internally, I admitted it aloud.





OLYMPIC FANFARE TO FAMILY How one audio engineer has found the value of those closest to him amidst a global pandemic.


Words: Janae Janik


In a few hours, thousands would infiltrate Olympic Stadium in London where the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games was being held. Millions more would watch at home, eyes glued to their television screens in anticipation. The atmosphere was electric as the athletes walked in proudly waving their nation’s flags. In a quieter back room behind the scenes, Justin Arthur breathed a well-earned sigh of relief. Finally, after months of tedious preparation, this was the moment. They had done it. Since 8:00am that morning, Justin Arthur, along with the rest of the audio systems team had been checking every single detail to make sure everything would be working for that evening. His job as a Senior Systems Engineer, alongside his team, was to capture the sound from the main stage so that everyone, no matter where they were sitting, would be immersed in the dynamic artistry of that ceremony. It was no small task in a stadium holding up to 80,000 people. “I would go for three walks around the stadium looking at, just looking at all the cable paths and making sure that, you know, a cable’s not hanging by a thread that

has been damaged,” Arthur explained. “Is everything in its proper place?” The team rehearsed all possible scenarios where something might malfunction. What should they do if a computer crashed? What was their backup? This was one of the largest events in the world and they had to be ready for anything. But once the planning was finished and everything was checked and sorted, it turned into a waiting game. “That’s like the most nerve-wracking time cause you’re done you’ve done, everything you can do. You’ve checked everything,” Arthur said. This was the largest show Arthur had been a part of, and an incredible accomplishment to pull off. But of course, every talented creative starts somewhere, and for Arthur, that place was his local church. His dad played the bass and he started helping out with the sound team on Sunday mornings. These early years laid a foundation for being able to see the bigger picture when it came to this field.


Event: BAKU 2017

Event: London Olympics 2012 - Audio Patch


Arthur has also been in charge of sound design for many of Hillsong’s conferences and says that his faith helps keep him interested in his work. “You kind of feel like you’re part of something. You know, you’re serving a purpose with what you’re doing.” In addition to serving at his church, his school had a strong music department with a recording studio that enabled him to develop his skills. By his early years of High School he was in charge of all of the sound equipment at his school.

“The biggest thing I’ve realized at the moment is you know, how much not being at home affects the family,” Arthur said. He’s noticed that his relationship is stronger with his daughter because of having been there earlier on and even his older two kids are significantly more engaged when they have video calls since he’s been at home. Where they used to simply give a wave and carry on with what they were doing, now they want to have a conversation with him.

Surprisingly, he never officially went to university for audio engineering. Rather he learned by being open to any opportunity presented to him. Companies would let him take equipment home or stay late and he would continue to teach himself about the technicalities of the audio world. He says in the industry, a person’s success is based largely off their reputation. When he did a good job, people referred him to others, which lead to additional opportunities.

These days, the weight of grandiose opportunities is measured against those small joys. For Arthur, he’s decided to put his family first.

Those opportunities have included traveling all over the world as an audio systems engineer. Companies from places like New Zealand, Greece, Singapore, Russia and the Middle East have requested his expertise. Often, a job would take him away for three to six months out of the year.

“You sit there in a stadium for you know, a fourteen hour day for an opening ceremony of an Olympic Games or whatever, which is really cool and interesting. But for me, I think my priorities have shifted where its like, I’d actually rather go and do, you know, a corporate dinner up in Sydney and then be home the next day with the family.”

It was a conversation that him and his wife had early on. The two of them met through caroling where his wife would sing and he was on the production team. They were friends for ten years before starting to date, and when they eventually did get married, Arthur would often fly his wife over to spend some time together in the exciting locations that his work would take him. Nowadays, him and his wife have three young children all under the age of six. When he travels, his wife stays home with the kids and they communicate through phone calls and video chats. “We were both kind of in the mindset that, in that first stage of life for a child they’re not really aware. They’re not really, you know, they don’t really understand the world around them or what’s going on. So if I wasn’t there for the first three months of their life then it wouldn’t really be a problem per se.” However, when Covid hit, the entire industry changed. With traveling out of the picture, Arthur found himself at home for the first time in years and specifically for the early moments of his youngest daughter’s life.

He’s recognised the incredible significance in the seemingly mundane moments – being there for the little things, like family birthdays or his kid’s school plays. The small joys that make up life are what make everything worthwhile.

And maybe that’s one thing the pandemic has taught us. That beyond the busy schedules that fuel us as creatives, our families and the people we surround ourselves with are what truly matter. They are still there at the end of the day when the show continues on. When the accolades fade into oblivion or the accomplishment becomes another typed line on a resume, it’s their laughter and dreams and hope that give meaning to the work we do.


“And maybe that’s one thing the pandemic has taught us. That beyond the busy schedules that fuel us as creatives, our families and the people we surround ourselves with are what truly matter.”

Event: National Day 47


we are still here

encouragement at just the right time

Words: Tom & Paula Christie Images: The Small Things Co.




I remember the 18th of March 2020 so clearly. The announcement of the nationwide Covid-19 lockdowns were made, and I sat on our stairs at home staring at my phone waiting for the influx of calls from clients to begin. I felt sick, my head was spinning, I was shaking and I melted into tears. I felt like our wedding business we had worked so hard for over the past five years was collapsing around us. I spent six hours on the phone with clients, with a calm and caring demeanor as one-by-one they postponed and cancelled their events. We lost 95% of our work for the next six months in those hours. The lengthy lockdowns in Melbourne resulted in our business being unable to function. We continued to lose eight months of work in cancellations and postponements, and faced refunding thousands of dollars to clients who no longer wanted to proceed with their weddings. My husband Tom and I went from

running a profitable business to living off government benefits. Each continual request for a refund brought on more anxiety and feelings of uncertainty. The lengthy and extended lockdowns caused us to at times feel panicked, dry and depleted of all creative energy. Our Hillsong Melbourne Community rallied around us during this time, and we were inundated with food and provisions that were overwhelmingly generous. We have always run our business with the conviction that it was given to us by God, and that we are to be good stewards of the provision he has given us. I look back at an Instagram post I made the next day where I said, “This won’t stop us. It might slow us down, but it won’t stop us. We are going to keep pushing forward in our God given dreams, we are going to keep tithing, we are going to keep being generous in every way we can”.

Despite being hit hard through this Covid-19 season, we were able to secure and renovate a warehouse / showroom space to expand our business. Walking through this space we knew God’s provision was over us, with the size, layout and location being exactly what we needed to take our business to the next level. The space even included a separate first floor office, which we have been able to lease out and cover 70% of our rental costs.

I am writing this as we still sit under restrictions that basically render our business closed. Despite this we are determined that this season won’t cost us our vision and that we won’t shrink back despite the numbers not adding up. We continue to be generous in all aspects of our lives and to sow back into our church family who have held us up during this season.

During the period of November 2020 - May 2021 we reopened our business and with the balancing act of booking new clients and fulfilling postponements we were run off our feet. Our business was able to rebuild and flourish, seeing us employ eight new staff. God also blessed us with a pregnancy during the lockdown season and we now have our little boy Lenny, who constantly reminds us of God’s goodness.

“But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart. What harm could a man bring to me? With God on my side, I will not be afraid of what comes. The roaring praises of God fill my heart as I trust his promises.”

A verse that has really spoken to us during this season:

Psalms 56:3-4 TPT



A GOOD BOOK Words: Rich Langton

I’m not sure what you do in your free time, but I like to read. Not all the time, but definitely some of the time.

I must admit, to start with I thought that it was NOT the sort of book I’d read, and obviously therefore not recommend. But then I read the sub-title and that was what got me hooked. The full title of the book I’m not a fast reader by any means, and I’m sure not is “The Unseen Realm: Recovering The Supernatural as prolific as some, but I do enjoy the pace of it. It’s Worldview of The Bible”. not fast, but there are life-changing discoveries to be made from the investment others have made into When I read that, it grabbed my attention and has writing good books. stayed with me for some weeks now. It immediately made me think, what does it mean to have the So, I’m always on the lookout for the next good book. supernatural worldview of the Bible? It’s often the title that draws me in. I think that’s why I was attracted to a book I stumbled upon recently It jolted me out of the now, and out of all the “stuff” called “The Unseen Realm” by Micheal Heiser. of life in the here and now. It reminded me, with that one simple statement, there is more, much more, Turns out, he’s a scholar in the fields of biblical going on in the world than I usually think about or studies and the ancient Near East, and he is a Scholar- recognise. It was just the right thing for me, right in-Residence at Faithlife, the makers of Logos Bible when I needed it. Software. It made me remember that there’s always more going I knew none of that at the time. I just read the title on than we can see. There’s more going on in the and if I’m honest I thought it sounded kind of out world, more than the circumstances that I am aware there… but something sparked my interest. of. There’s more than a pandemic and more than a lockdown going on.



Reading that statement, “recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible” was a reminder that you and I are people of faith. Faith in things we can’t see. Faith in a God who is all-powerful, all-knowing and everpresent. We stand on His word as the foundation for this belief. We know He has gone before us, goes ahead of us, and is with us now. And yet, I wonder if you are like me and sometimes forget what the breadth of all this means? We forget the reality of who the God is that we serve. Sometimes we forget the big picture of what He’s said. Not just what Jesus did on the cross and in His resurrection, but all God has promised for the days to come. Maybe we forget that He’s still at work and that His plan is being outworked.

Not only that, but I forget that He has promised to reconcile ALL THINGS. In other words, to make all things right. Where there has been injustice, He will bring justice. Where evil has had its way, He will avenge. He will heal, restore, and make right. The reality is, there is an unseen realm, with an unseen God who presides over it. It’s this God who has adopted us into His family. He has made us His own. And He will NOT allow us to be abandoned. When I stop to think about who our God is, and to dive deep into His word and to dwell on it, I come away remembering that we have nothing to lose, we are not alone, we are not in trouble, and we are not living through circumstances that He is unaware of.

It seems the world around us can instead surround us. It can squash our faith and it can appear to be all there is. If we’re not careful, it can take our focus and attention. In fact, our phones and the online world is designed to do just that… to attract and distract and to take our attention.

Which is why I write today. I write to remind you of who God is and what His word declares. I write to encourage you to dive headlong into Scripture and to rekindle a heart that burns for things that are unseen. May you remember that your prayers are worth praying, they are heard and will be answered. May you hold firmly to your relationship with Jesus and your And yet, the reality of our faith, of who we are, isn’t faith in what’s to come. based on what we can see, or the situations we find ourselves in. The basis of our faith is the word of Our God won’t leave things half-done. He won’t God… and in the word of God, the people of God forget or stop until His will is complete. He is with have always had a supernatural worldview. They you, and He will carry you now, and forever. believed that not only was God with them but that His entire Kingdom was with them, fighting for them And while I realise these are lofty things to write, I in the heavenly realms. And not only that, but that pray that they will in some way be the encouragement the God who is with them is Holy and Sovereign. They you need at a time when you need it. I pray you too believed that God is good and that He would do good, will be inspired to remember that while we believe in and that if things had not yet come to pass as he had an unseen God, we can be confident in who He is and said they would, then it was not over! what is to come, by looking to His living word and ever encouraging scriptures.

“I’m not sure about you, but from time to time I find myself, not faithless, but forgetful. I forget that God is ultimate in every way. I forget that He knows what He’s doing. He has ALL THINGS in control. Nothing slips past Him. No injustice, no pain, no hurt, no wrong doing… nothing!!”

Anyways, as I said earlier, I like to read. How about you?


FINDING HOME IN HELLO

HOW BRISBANE WORSHIP LEADER SIMONE ROETS FOUND BELONGING IN A NEW COUNTRY

Words: Sarah Laing




When Simone Roets first moved to Australia in 2017 with her husband Estiaan, she was homesick for her native South Africa, struggling to find work and yearning for community. “Coming to Australia, I was like ‘what are we doing here?’ I couldn’t work or find a job for at least a year because I didn’t want to go back into law, which I had studied back home. My husband disliked his job at the time, and we were questioning our decision to move to Australia,” she says. “I’d always felt called to be a songwriter, and over the years several people had confirmed that over my life, saying I have to write songs. When I got here in Brisbane, it was as if this lifelong dream had just faded away. I still had something in my heart though that trusted God, that he would put people around me and place me in an environment where this desire, this thing that’s always been there somehow would come out.” Feeling desperate and ready to give up on a life in Australia, Simone and Estiaan decided to try attending Hillsong Brisbane Downtown’s Team Night one warm Brisbane evening. “I walked in and Caitie Wall (Creative Pastor) came straight up to me and said hello and got me involved in everything at Team Night. I ended up helping her with admin, with rosters, literally everything. I didn’t even sing, but I loved it,” she says. “Even though I was battling a bunch of things in my own heart, just being part of that community made such a difference. You still speak in your own language, and you feel misunderstood at times, but I felt like I still somehow belonged and knew that God had a plan for us here in Brisbane.” After encouragement and many prayers from the Brisbane Downtown creative team, Simone found work as a personal trainer and executive assistant and stepped into leading the vocal team. Estiann moved into a dream role at work. “I think sometimes we forget how much of an impact we can have in someone’s life, and it just starts with a ‘hi’, literally ‘hi’, and ‘hey, do you want to come help in this area’ or ‘hey, do you want to come sit with us’,” says Simone. “It’s the value of reading a room in a moment and being able to see that this person is looking like they don’t fit in, or it just seems like someone should walk up and talk to them. I don’t think people always realise the value of that simple act. Because, for me, that was so crucial when I first moved to Australia.” The richness and beauty of the Brisbane Downtown team’s community inspired Simone to open her home to others and start a connect group. Last year, during COVID, she and Estiaan were able to purchase their first property in Brisbane, which they have renovated with a goal of extending hospitality to the local community. “I think the big thing for us was that our home would be a safe space for others, a place of joy, a place of creativity and a place where God’s presence could be felt. Somewhere we wouldn’t get stuck in a rhythm of watching TV series or doing things that really weren’t adding any value to our lives. We carry the presence of God, so surely the spaces where we walk should be different, should feel different,” she says. “There’s such a special thing about letting people into your home, and not just letting them in, but letting them into every part of your life. It just sort of trumps any surface level friendship. Over time you’ll learn to love people in a way that could actually surprise you.” And it was somewhere amid these four and a half years of being surround by, and investing into, creatives in Australia that Simone’s songwriting was also rekindled. As she poured out into community and people, she found inspiration to write again. To her surprise, the songs arrived in her own native language Afrikaans. She is currently in the middle of writing her own solo album in South Africa, for the next few months, and smiling at how God has woven her story together.


THE POWER OF


Words: Rachel Mthembu

PRESENCE


When Eddie Phiri first walked through the doors of Hillsong Cape Town in 2009, he felt utterly lost and alone. Finding himself in a new country without work or family support, he went to the one place he knew he might find a sense of home. As the words of “You Hold Me Now” by Hillsong United wrapped around him, Eddie knew he was meant to be there. This grace was a God-given certainty in a season of swirling change.

in Cape Town, he felt God telling him he wasn’t there to sing. This was the toughest time in Eddie’s life. He was in a new country with no employment, no home and no family support. Church was the only safe place for him, but being told not to do the only thing he felt he knew had stripped him of his last sense of familiarity.

In spite of all this, Eddie still had a strong conviction to serve. Not knowing what else to do, Eddie decided if he Zimbabwean born and raised, Eddie lost his parents couldn’t sing, he was going to serve the calling that he at a young age. Raised largely by extended family, loved. With no background in production whatsoever, growing up he often felt he had little in the way of care he started at the beginning. He picked up a cable and or understanding. Ultimately it was lack of options for learned how to roll it. This simple act of service was the employment that drove him to leave Harare as a young start of a new trajectory that would define his life for adult looking for work in South Africa. Armed with little years to come. but his faith, and a relationship with Jesus that had set him apart from his family of origin from a young age, he Even when Eddie was living in a homeless shelter for left his homeland for the hope of a better future. four months, he went to church every Sunday and faithfully served. Whilst living at the homeless shelter South Africa can be a problematic place to navigate for he begrudgingly participated in a retreat they held foreign born Africans. Only a year before Eddie’s move, meant to inspire the residents to reflect on their a wave of xenophobic violence swept the nation in 2008 dreams. Having only recently begun serving at church leaving 67 people dead. This was the atmosphere Eddie on production, Eddie wrote something down he didn’t was walking into, but it was his only option. believe would be attainable – to be a sound engineer. He received feedback that it was highly unlikely he would After a short time in Johannesburg, Eddie had to leave succeed; and if so it was a goal that required a formal after disagreeing with the relative he was working for education and would take him up to ten years. about the ethics with which he ran his company. This was how he found himself at Hillsong Cape Town, being Eddie did it in five years, without a formal education. encouraged in a dark season by a song written on the Entirely self-taught, he achieved this dream by showing other side of the world. This was the foundation on up every Sunday. Eventually he became a project which the rest of his story unfolded. manager, found employment in the church and helped launch other Hillsong campuses in Cape Town. Since the age of nine, Eddie had been singing worship throughout Zimbabwe, for crowds of up to 5000 Eddie often felt like he wasn’t qualified to be a sound people. Though he was sought after for album deals, he engineer or a production manager. He felt like he was never saw worship as a career for himself. But singing an imposter in what was a professional environment. worship was what he intimately knew and deeply loved. But he kept showing up anyway, believing in what he calls the power of presence. Even that familiarity was about to change. Upon arrival


Photo from 2012

His faithfulness and aptitude were seen and fostered by the people he surrounded himself with. He began his journey wanting everything to be perfect, but along the way learnt that perfection and excellence are two different things. He then took his team and the people he mentored on that journey – that elusive ‘perfection’ may not be attainable, but giving it your all results in excellence. Sometimes that is even better.

pregnancy during the first COVID lockdown, it was this family who grieved with them at the hospital. They coordinated meal rosters and turned up at the door with “homemade goodness and a smile letting us know we weren’t alone.” Eddie, Katrina and their three-yearold son Jentzen are now awaiting their latest adventure: the arrival of twins later this year.

Despite this sometimes harrowing journey, Eddie retains Eddie’s greatest joy now comes from leading and a humility and unwavering faith. At his lowest point developing others, both in his team and through where the only thing remaining was his faith, he found mentoring Hillsong College students. He uses his origin his belief in the treasure God had deposited inside story to encourage others that “the whole world around of him. This seed took root and grew into something you doesn’t have to be beautiful for you to achieve your magnanimous and beautiful. This is the treasure that he purpose.” now delights in unveiling in others. Ultimately his journey did lead him back to singing worship. It was through this that he met his Australian wife, Katrina, when she was serving with the Hillsong Africa Foundation in Cape Town. They moved to Australia in 2016, and now serve at the Hills Campus together, where Eddie continues to inspire excellence within the production team.

If Eddie could tell his past self who walked into his local church feeling lost and alone twelve years ago anything, it would be that staying somewhere for a long time does not make it a destination. The sands of life are continually shifting under our feet, and sometimes even after a prolonged season God is whispering to us that He has somewhere new for us to travel. Listening to that still small voice sometimes leads to our greatest The theme of feeling enfolded by the church and his adventures yet. Creative family continued in Australia. When Eddie and Katrina lost their baby girl halfway through her


COMM FOUND IN

Words: Samantha Ortiz

A young woman sits alone in her room, the blue light of the computer screen illuminating her face. The dreams in her mind had been so bright. So vivid. And the thrill of expounding them, satisfying beyond explanation. But as her eyes revisit the words before her, doubt fills her gut. Her cheeks burn with shame and her fingers trail to a single key. Delete. Another frantically pours out her heart into a journal. She’s longed to create music and poetry for years, but she’s only recently found the courage and space to try. What will become of it? She barely knows. She doesn’t know where to go from here, she doesn’t know if she should. Is this worship just between her and God or for others as well?

A new husband, with his eyes on the future and a passion to see others grow, toys with an idea. A book is in his heart, one detailing his journey and lessons, and he wants to bring it to life. But does he have the skill, the grit, the tenacity to write? He’s a teacher and a leader, sure. But dare he plunge into this new avenue? Dare he try? These are snapshots of people in my life. Real people with a gift for words. I’ve discovered them as I’ve discovered myself: in community. Like-minded and like-souled, we are drawn together by calling; a people compelled by a sense of duty to bring what is birthed in the secret-place, to the public eye. It isn’t the goal, just where our stewardship has led us. But making that jump, from secret to seen, is daunting, and there’s no one-way-fits-all to get there. And yet I can tell you how you won’t get there; and that’s alone. My name is Samantha. I’ve been enamoured with writing for years. In the creation of worlds and stories I find myself incredibly close to God and His truths. It’s my worship. But it wasn’t until five years ago, that I was prompted to share my words for the first time. Right away I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I needed help. Community. So finding it, became my mission. I dipped into overseas critique groups and writing communities. I forced myself into vulnerable interactions, letting strangers read my work and accepting their feedback. Terrifying? Daunting? Yes. But I wasn’t alone.


MUNITY

Eventually I started a Writers Connect at Hillsong Greater West Sydney. The two women above were among the first to join, though at first, they wouldn’t even call themselves writers. The young man reached out shortly after, wondering with excitement and anxiousness, whether he should give it all a go. Like me, they’d all been stuck in the secret-place, unsure how to move forward. Unsure if they should. But everything changed once they found one another. After three months, the first young woman’s community challenged her to write and NOT delete; to face her fears and doubts and keep going. Now, she’s writing the sequel to her first ever completed novel. In community, the song-writer grew bold enough to share her lyrics and melodies. We discovered that her music so perfectly interwove with my latest novel, that I ended up putting her words among my own. Beautiful, breathtaking, partnership. The man plunged in, deciding to learn on the go. He didn’t aim to do it perfect, but shared his fresh, raw work so that others could help him make it better. Rather than learning alone through years of drafting and editing, he jumped into community. I can’t help but admire his courage. He doesn’t realise how many years he’s saved himself by doing this small, brave thing. As for me? I’d never go back to doing it alone. Even for a writer like me, there are no words to describe the elation, satisfaction and peace that comes from sojourning beside a like-minded, like-souled individual. We aren’t meant to do any of this life alone, least of all the stewardship of our gifts. I like to believe, when we commune this way alongside one another’s Godgiven-purposes, we get to experience a portion of what God experiences, living in perfect community within himself. I don’t think I need to convince you to create. But maybe you need convincing that you weren’t meant to create, alone.


KRISTOFFER GRINDHEIM Words: Sebastian Strand Images: Kristoffer Grindheim

I recently had the chance to have a conversation with Kristoffer Grindheim, an emerging Director of Photography in Norway. Kristoffer has a background in music, but always knew he wanted to work with films. Over the last few years, he’s had the chance to work on high-end car commercials, award-winning music videos, and is currently chasing the dream of a feature film. It’s a chilly autumn afternoon when I open up my Zoom account to start the meeting. Before this conversation, in an attempt to do some background research, I started where all millennials would start. His social media accounts. What struck me with @kristoffergrindheim’s Instagram profile were the tasteful thumbnails of cinematiclooking posts. A lot of his content is portrait-based. Not in terms of the aspect ratios of the frames, but in terms of his subjects. People of all ages and backgrounds fill the Posts grid. A URL in his bio sends me to his Vimeo profile. As I flick through some of the insanely professionally-looking commercials and films, I see accolades in the comment fields from people all over the world.



Me: Good morning, god morgen! Hvordan går det? (I’m trying to woo him with my limited Norwegian glossary.)

television. He decided then that he was going to pursue the dream of one day working on feature films.

Kris: Det går veldig bra! (I’m very good!)

Kris: I’m a person with a very deep passion for this craft, and I knew that from an early age. But although I dreamed of DP’ing, I sometimes had to edit as well and often ended up editing for hours. Sometimes 12 hours without eating. I remember one particular time when the software crashed on me after a long stint. I lost hours and hours of work. But because I have this drive, I resolved that I just had to keep going. I knew that I had enough passion and patience for this craft to keep at it. I knew what I wanted, and I was willing to work hard to get there. As long as you continue, you’ll end up great. It’s just a matter of time. Somebody “makes it” in 10 years, some in 30. But as long as you continue, you’re gonna get there.

Some courtesy banter. I realise my lighting is pretty bad. Me: I should’ve thought about that since I’m interviewing a DP. (a DP, or a Director of Photography, is generally responsible for the camera work and how a frame is translated through the lens, including lighting of the subject and the background).

Kris goes on to show me how he has a web browser with a white background open on his screen that he can move around in order to provide soft lighting around the side of his face. Zoom can be cinematic. About five years ago, I was on my way to a sunrise shoot on a mountaintop. It was a one hour hike on Kris: My dad always worked as a freelancer, so I’ve foot carrying all the gear. It was stressful and terrible, never been scared of doing that [for a living]. It’s pushing through the foliage. If you removed the always been natural. aspect of filming, it would be the worst experience ever for me. But because we were about to film, and He tells me that he was raised in a Christian household I had the actor, the gear, and the skill to make it look in Bergen on the West coast of Norway. In those days, beautiful, I was super excited to get there. It’s this their church was one of the only churches in Norway energy that I can’t explain, only describe. When I see that had a “TV ministry.” Growing up in the youth the end result in the camera or on the screen, it’s so ministry there, that meant they had access to gear, fulfilling. cameras, cranes, the lot. Me: Looking at that screen, why do you think that Kris: At church, the beauty was we didn’t need to beauty is important? have live cameras. It was if we wanted to, we could do it. We didn’t have the pressure to deliver anything but Kris: First of all, I want to say it doesn’t have to be could play around and have a lot of fun, and it turned beautiful at all. But it does have to be interesting out great. somehow. The best advice I ever got from a DP was to just go film something that’s high-end and beautiful Because of his developing camera skills within this and wows everyone. And then when you’ve done church context, as a young teenager, he started that, you can drop the pressure of making something getting opportunities to work at real production beautiful. You now have that high-end product for companies. Some of his work ended up on national your reel, and can focus on what your next project television. needs, beyond beauty. I want to be able to tell a story in a correct and respectful way. Most of the time that Kris: My dad would do sound and I did camera along doesn’t mean “beautiful” or “exciting.” A lot of the with friends from church. In a break once, I got to time my job isn’t to make something fancy, but to play with the camera crane. I had done a lot of crane find the best way to communicate what’s needed to in church, so the producer said, “Oh, this guy can do be said. the crane!” So I started doing crane on live sports events. Last year, Kris had the chance to work on a music video touching on the Black Lives Matter movement. At age 14, Kris started realising that single-camera He’d been approached by the artist to direct the projects such as music videos and skateboard films music video, and when listening to the song, he was were his preferred way of working, rather than live


Add epic image here

struck by the very direct lyrics. Kris: I’d never directed film, but they didn’t know that. They just assumed. But I felt like I was able to tell the story in a correct way. I wanted the audience to really get the lyrics. It was so important. So most of the elements we used had the purpose of pointing people to the lyrics. The video is mostly the face of the artist. The music video ended up winning awards and was nominated for Best Music Video at the biggest music video festival in Norway.

help get them there. I had a hard time understanding the concept of “finding your voice.” I think a lot of people especially in this Instagram generation find their voice in a filter or a simple trick that then defines their creativity. But I just want to tell them that they’re so much more than that filter. I’ve had people tell me that when they saw a particular film, that they just knew it was shot by me. But it wasn’t because of the genre or visual style. What I realised was: when you work on a film, you make a million choices, and I had my own way of solving problems and finding solutions. It’s grown to become like a huge toolbox. My “voice” is that toolbox. No matter the genre or format or style, I still have the result of all of my choices. That is my voice. That can be seen in any project at some level. “Your voice” shouldn’t be a thing that limits you. It should be something that opens you up to be able to do anything.

Kris: It’s not very often a music video with so much lip-sync is nominated. This song didn’t need any of the fancy stuff, just build on the lyrics. I kind of realised that I’m on a level where I’ve been able to achieve [beauty] previously, so I was now able to tell the story in this music video correctly. Me: What’s the importance of film within a church context? My goal isn’t to be a DP that has a certain “look.” I want to be a DP that people want to work with, and Kris: I’ve been doing music in church for 15 years. The regardless of what we’re creating, I want them to main problem (to me) with creativity in the church trust that I can do whatever they need. Not a “horror is that it’s really hard to get over yourself. Can you movie guy” or “music video guy” but a visual guy, that actually go to church and play and not focus on no matter what the director wants to create, I can yourself, on your playing, “Was I good? Did I look



cool?” Is it possible to do creativity in church without being self-centred? Because when that’s the focus for a month or six months or ten years, rather than the focus being on growing as a Christian, welcoming somebody, meaning something to someone… You might not even have the energy to invite them over or out for coffee. That’s been my battle. When using my creativity in church, am I selfish? Or am I looking more and more like Jesus? When I ask myself those questions, the answer is kind of embarrassing. When it comes to film, is my focus to tell the story or to fulfil myself? It’s so hard when you work with something you love. We most definitely need film and film production and music and everything else in church, but who are we when we do it? [Throughout a project,] did I only grow as a filmmaker or did I grow as a Christian? Did church become a film studio to me, or is it still a church? The one thing I want to tell you today is that as a church we need to put the person before the project. That’s my “stupid one-liner.” It’s not worth people wearing themselves out for the sake of a project. When somebody’s a volunteer, we need to help protect their everyday job, their social life, their sabbath. We should talk about it more, teach people about it.

Me: What do you mean by that? Kris: I started off with the story of when I was young, and we didn’t have any “to do’s.” It was really important to be able to be part of the church as a Christian, to be able to grow and not be a filmmaker, but be a person in church. It’s a balance that’s really hard. As a kid, it gave me so much to be there. We have to put the people before the projects. We have to love the people more than the projects, and find a healthy, sustainable balance between “what do we have” and “what can we make”. In church, I don’t want to just make films. I want to teach people how to make films. If only I make the films, it’s going to stop when I’m not around. If we have one filmmaker in church, he shouldn’t be making films. He should be teaching whoever wants to make films how to make films. But despite it challenging me, I do love creativity in church. We have this exceptional position to do extraordinary things. A position to tell really important stories. We have so many great stories that need to be told, but we have to be smart about it.


INVESTMENTS ALL CREATIVES SHOULD MAKE THIS YEAR Words: Beth Kellock

Hey, I’m Beth! I run a Creative Marketing business called ‘GOOD NEWS CO.’ Being able to align both my “creative” and “businessy” sides has been the greatest delight, and I love being able to bring hope to biz owners by making marketing simple. When we hear the word “investment” we often think of big bucks, big spending and big stacks of cash we don’t have. But I’m here to challenge you to not just think about money when the word “investment” comes along. Whilst financial investments are beneficial, I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money. However, I do highly recommend you invest in three key areas of your life - no matter what kind of creative you are.


1. YOURSELF

You are the greatest investment you could ever make. Your skills, talents, gifts, abilities and professional development are what is going to help you grow, and to set you apart. Think about what ways you can invest into your skills as a creative, to hone in on your gift, to update your materials or to free-up your time so you can invest more into your practice.

2. YOUR PEOPLE The team of people you surround yourself with will shape the world in which you live. Choose wisely your friends, mentors, housemates and partners, and invest into them as well! We are all called to spur each other on in the gifts we’ve been given to go out and do good deeds (check out Hebrews 10:24), so invest your time into building-up those around you as well.

3. YOUR VOCATION

You may be a creative by trade or are dabbling in it outside of your paid work. Regardless of your circumstance, find ways to invest into your vocation and career. How can you be more creative at work? How can you invest into your professional skills to help you excel in your career? How can you invest in your gifts and talents to better serve God’s kingdom? Whether you’re new on your creative journey or are a veteran, you still have skills to use, adapt and grow in an ever-changing world.


A GRAPE STORY Words: Kmy Denton

If I had to pick a meme to best portray what life has been like in recent weeks, it’d be the “when life’s testing you, but you’re trying to stay positive” one starring that sweet golden retriever. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go ahead and pop that into your browser and have a giggle cos, gee, it’s good! I should preface this by saying that I am genuinely doing okay right now, but my goodness life can get a lil cray sometimes, (YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN!?), and these memes—well they just have a way of getting us through the times.

lock eyes with a very beloved couple in our church, Terry and Julie Scott. I hadn’t seen them, but they had obviously seen me in my distressed state and immediately began picking up grapes and putting things back in my pram. They helped me up from the floor (lol), and they asked if I was okay.

As I gave a quick summary of the week we’d had, they asked where I parked and continued to listen as I spoke. They told me how sad they were to hear that we’d had such a rough couple of weeks, and they continued to encourage me as they loaded the This story begins a couple of days after Mother’s Day, groceries into my car. They let me know that they’d be as I found myself at the grocery store with a semi-well praying for me. I thanked them, and waved goodbye. baby girl. We’d spent Mother’s Day evening in hospital due to her distressed breathing, and it had been a As I sat in my car, I realized I could no longer feel the sleepless few days off the back of a sleepless and breaking point looming over my head. The burden I sickness-filled few weeks. Braving my way through had been carrying was lighter. Why? Because of the the aisles, I stealthily managed to balance every single encouragement I received from people of faith at item either in or on the pram itself—no small feat just the right time. God knew I needed to come faceand certainly nothing short of Rocky’s “Eye of the to-face with people who were ready to speak life into Tiger” moment in Rocky II (ya feel me?). my weary soul. It didn’t take much time but simply the intentional sowing of kindness and love. My faith Alas, as I made my way up to the automatic doors, was waning, but my spirit encountered Holy Spirit I inhaled the faint aroma of victory knowing I was through them, and it was all I needed to energise my almost to the car when my leaning tower of groceries soul. came instantly crashing down. Grapes filled the entry way in what can only be described as pure carnage. Our gifts and talents are special, and they make a That golden-retriever meme I mentioned earlier? It difference in people’s lives, but it’s the art of human hit full throttle at this point with only my self-respect connection that reminds us we’re not alone. Being in keeping me from sprawling across that exit and a healthy community of people who genuinely care devouring the chocolate I had purchased moments for one another has got to be one of God’s greatest prior. ideas, and it’s one that we better be about. Cos if God’s all about people, then people really are all that It was here that I heard a voice say, “Aww, that’s matters in this world. Spilled grapes and all. Kmy”. I looked up, hands full of soiled grapes, to



“WHEN IT COMES TO EXCELLENCE IN CHURCH OUR OUTCOMES ARE NOT TECHNICAL. THEY ARE DEEPLY SPIRITUAL.”


EPISODE 153 DEBUNKING MYTHS ABOUT EXCELLENCE

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MORE THAN Words: Tyler Douglass

I’ve had the incredible honour over the past few years to watch Isaac, Dani, Tahisha and Josh grow up in our youth ministry, using their gifts and talents to glorify God! They are all freakishly talented when it comes to songwriting, singing and music in general, but what I’ve loved most is how their relationship with God has grown, and this has been so evident in the songs they have written and the way they lead their peers in worship. In Psalm 145 the Psalmist speaks of one generation declaring His works to the next and I’m seeing this in front of my own eyes with these four young people and I think you’ll see it too! The future is in very good hands.

A SONG


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JOSH KPOZEHOUEN What is your current go-to song? There’s too many to name, I have multiple go-to’s haha What brings you joy? Seeing people thrive and genuinely impacted. Do you write the lyrics or the melody first? In most cases I would start with a melody, but sometimes a specific lyric may be what inspires a song. Where do you like to write? I literally write wherever. What’s your earliest childhood memory of music? My earliest childhood memory would be when I was a toddler, using chop sticks and hitting my toys to drum along to United songs. What made you want to become a musician/singer/ songwriter? I guess the two biggest motivating factors, would be firstly my love for music as anytime I would create, it felt natural like I was born for this. The second factor would be my desire to create music that would move and touch people the way it did for me. What’s your favourite lyric that you’ve written? I don’t have a favourite lyric just yet! But I would say any lyric that expresses a concept in a simple, yet beautiful way would definitely be the best. What does authenticity look like in your music? Does your music come from personal experiences? Authenticity I think describes the rawness of a writer, and that comes with weakness, flaws, imperfections and realness. So, with that being said authenticity in my music looks like just being genuine with your message and intentions and often that is achieved best by writing from personal things I have experienced.

Do you get anxious before performing? Hundred percent, for me the anxiety comes right before, and in those few seconds I remind myself who I’m doing this for and that it isn’t about me. It also helps to remember I’m doing what I love. How do you deal with comparison? Comparison can be really unhealthy, I guess my method is just to remember that we are all different and unique and to keep the main thing the main thing. Who is an artist that inspires you? Why? There are so many artists but recently it would have to be Jon Bellion, his production and writing goes straight to the heart. Do you ever feel that your music is finished? Is art ever complete? I don’t think music is ever finished. While it is essential to finish songs, I do feel like music in its entirety is a lifelong quest of discovery, expression, questions, emotion and surrender all the way to the end. What about music makes you feel passionate? It really interests me that the seemingly small details, can be what impacts a listener, whether it’s a plug-in or a short melody, it can move someone in a profound way, and that’s amazing. What’s a creative medium that you’ve never tried, but that you would like to? Photography Whats one piece of advice you’d want to share with the world? Keep chasing the outrageous dreams, even when you feel like giving up. What about music impacts you? The ability of music to touch the deepest parts of me, is for me the most important way it impacts me. Music has that power, to bring peace to the soul, to express the inexpressible.


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TAHISHA TARLLAH VAKAYADRA HUNT What is your current go-to song? My current go to song is “Wilderlove” by John Mark McMillan. The images he paints arrests me all the time. I should also add, if I know I need some direct Word of God infused into my spirit when “life” happens, I do have specific worship songs that I will go to. Example, when I snapped my ACL, during an important season of my life, I hit rock bottom and my go-to songs on a daily basis were “Lettered Love” by HW and “Prince of Peace” by HU. What brings you joy? On a scale of getting my favourite dessert (hot fudge brownies and ice cream :) to…. Jesus!? ‘Joy’ is an interesting concept. I know it’s a choice when I’m eating my favourite dessert and still feeling anxious…So at the risk of sounding religious, but truth (if you can handle it ;), joy to me is the assurance that I’m right where Jesus wants me to be at any point in time. Truly. Because sometimes life throws curve balls and my brain can’t compute…my anxious thoughts settle when Jesus tells me it’s all G.o.o.d. :) Where do you like to write? No fixed place (thank God for mobile gadgets) but when I’m intentional about making time, it’s often usually secluded. My heart is to draw lyrics and melodies from the throne room of God. Wherever that happens is of no consequence. What about music impacts you? Melody. I feel a certain sense of disappointment if the melody of a song doesn’t do justice to the power of the lyrics and I have felt the loss of a melody if I feel (in my opinion) it had greater potential to tell a different story to what’s lyrically translated. Sia’s “Underneath the Mistletoe”, love the melody. What’s your earliest childhood memory of music? My mum singing this one song over me whenever I was sick or upset, for as far back as I can remember, to ‘lull’ me to sleep. Apparently she would do this from when I was a baby. I pretty much grew up with music. My maternal grandfather wrote songs and was quite the musician/composer in his days back in Fiji. My earliest memories of ‘home’ is music. I grew up with lots of ideas and interests about the direction of my life artistically. One day my perspective changed to I am called to worship. Music is a natural

outcome. What’s your favourite lyric that you’ve written? “Before my first breath, You knew me…” What does authenticity look like in your music? Does your music come from personal experiences? Authenticity is another interesting concept to me. Authenticity, for me, comes from my personal revelation and experience with God. I feel responsible to constantly stay planted in Him as I navigate life, to continuously draw my reason and meaning from Him. I have been through enough in life to know the truth in what I’ve heard more seasoned worship leaders/song writers say i.e. that you cannot honestly take others somewhere you have never been. I still have a lot of life to experience and I want to keep my pages curious, open and ready for the writing. To write, create and lead from a place that’s real, for others and for me. The authenticity, most importantly, is Jesus and His truth revealed in each story. How do you deal with comparison? I feel it’s limiting and unhealthy. I understand if people are trying to draw comparisons to understand someone’s style or method. However if comparisons are done to decide if one is better than another… it’s very human but hardly Christian. How do I deal with it? I remind myself, sometimes daily, that I have my own unique lane and my process, timing and ‘outcomes’ are unique to who I am and who God has called me to be. I remind myself that I am graced for this. I can’t imitate or emulate someone else, although very human, it has the promise of a greek tragedy ending. What about music makes you feel passionate? The fruits/outcomes it produces in people’s lives. Producing beautiful music is one thing. Dealing in hope, healing, deliverance, restoration for the lost, sick, broken and hurting. That sets my heart on fire. The stories that are told. What’s a creative medium that you’ve never tried, but that you would like to? Movies. I also enjoy script writing.


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DANIELLA MARCHIO What is your current go-to song? How Deep is Your Love by PJ Morton and Yebba What brings you joy? Going on an adventure with some great friends. Also love a warm tea and a good movie on a rainy day! Do you write the lyrics or the melody first? This is a hard one because it always changes. Usually, I find a melody first but most of the time it is attached to a concept already. Lately I have been trying to mix it up and write lyrics first, but both are great for different reasons. Where do you like to write? I usually write in my room at home. It’s where I feel most comfortable and the most myself. What about music impacts you? Music has this crazy way of creating emotion and portraying ideas and truths like nothing else. I have had so many moments where music has put words to a feeling or has even given feeling to my words. It is such a beautiful thought to me that all throughout time, music has been something that connects people, cultures, time zones and centuries. It gives a window into the heart of a person or a culture and there are few things quite as special and sacred as that. The thing that impacts me most is what a friend once pointed out to me and has stuck with me since. When we write something placed on our heart in the purest form of worship, we echo the song of heaven. Knowing that we could be singing along with an angel’s song is the greatest gift ever and something we should never take advantage of. What’s your earliest childhood memory of music? When I was little my dad went on a trip for work. He came back and gave my sister and I these tiny music boxes. They were the kind where you turn the handle to make a twinkly tune on little metal prongs. I held on to that music box for years. That was my first real experience of music that I remember. What’s your favourite lyric that you’ve written? “Mercy’s open arms are up ahead” I wrote this at a time where the world needed some hope. Writing about God, not just for who he is but what he embodies is so

powerful. I love this image because it shows how Jesus is the embodiment of mercy, but He is in no way stingy when He finds His children in need. How do you deal with comparison? I feel like comparison is something that will always circle around anyone’s mind, but I am learning that gifts, opportunities or appearances are all temporary. The thing that people will really remember you for is how you treat them and what you as a person bring into a room. Knowing that I am valued for who I am and not what I do is incredibly freeing when it comes to comparison. It is a beautiful thing to know that my personality and attitude is something that I can control. With that, I am able to better my craft because that freedom lets me grow as Daniella, into a better version of myself, not a lower version of someone who I am jealous of. The way I see it is, I want my gift to be the product of my personality, not my defining feature. Do you ever feel that your music is finished? Is art ever complete? I always feel like that there is more to improve. The interesting thing about music is that it is unique to each person’s interpretation and context. I am still a bit new to songwriting, so I am still trying to find the balance where a song needs work or needs to be left alone. I do think that there is a point in the process to stand back and enjoy what you have created, but at the same time, as the person writing it, you will always see imperfection. Even once art is finished, I don’t see it as complete, but that its interpretation through time will only deepen and mould the art into what it needs to be in that moment. What about music makes you feel passionate? This year, I have been focusing on the thought that I want to see my life like a gallery of God’s beautiful works. Like when you walk through an ornate hallway and everywhere you turn you can see intricate, intentional beauty. The thing about music and especially worship that makes me feel passionate is that we have a chance to make something in return for all the beauty we get to enjoy each day. Whether it is listening to, making or playing music, we get to glorify God through such a special gift. To me, it only makes sense that we would make something beautiful with it. With music being an art that has the ability to connect us so deeply with our creator and even our own sense of self, I am astounded that such a wonderful gift could be given to us as imperfect people to enjoy.


What is your current go-to song? Go to song would be Uncomplicated by Hillsong Young & Free. It’s the first worship song I’ve genuinely cried to for a longtime and I think it’s because of how simple and declarative it is. What brings you joy? Every time I FaceTime my misses (who is currently overseas). I’m an introvert so every time I feel drained socially from big groups and need some alone time, she refills me way better than me just trying to refill on my own. Do you write the lyrics or the melody first? It depends, if I were to sit at a piano and start writing with no inspiration to start with I would always start with melody first. I’d just start singing random things about life and God intentionally, so it kind of gives God room to maybe place a cool lyric in the random melodies I’m singing. Where do you like to write? I hope I don’t get in trouble for this but when my house is crowded and loud (which is all the time) I’d go down to church and sit on the grand piano in the chapel and write for hours. Biggest supporter? My family and girlfriend is a given, but I’d have to say Tyler Douglass hands down. I’ll always give him a say in my life because he honestly cares about me and my future, he always sees things that I don’t see and he has proven to be right with a lot of the things he tells me. What about music impacts you? The thing that fascinates me about music is how it connects to emotion, you can tell a story and actually translate the emotion

into the musicality and lyrics of the song. It’s even better with worship music, I believe that God inputs Himself into worship. What’s your earliest childhood memory of music? I remember when I was eight and I had just started doing piano grading and I absolutely hated it. My teacher at the time who was incredible, always said that I have a huge problem with looking down at my fingers instead of at the sheet music, I would never play by reading sheet music, but by hearing and memory. Which is a pro ,but a con at the same time. So every time we had piano grading I would get so stressed that it would clog my memory to the point of me forgetting what I was even there to do,. That affected me so much. What made you want to become a musician / singer / songwriter? A little thing about me is that I was homeschooled my entire life, so what made me want to become a musician / singer / songwriter is that it was the only thing I wanted to do in my free time and for ‘school time’. JP Starra and Paul Cox were my drum teachers, Eli Escoto was my guitar teachers. I had a piano teacher (but I wish it was David Andrew) and bass was easy. What’s your favourite lyric that you’ve written? “In the silence / My heart grows fonder / To seek and to find That what I’m looking for is You / Like water Tastes more restoring / When my thirst is dry I know that nothing else will do” These lyrics came from a song about the silence of God, it was a hard song to write but it’s so common for people not hear the voice of God. 1 Kings 19:11-13 is when the Lord talks to Elijah and tells him to stand on the mountain and then a powerful wind


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ISAAC FISHER

comes but the Lord was not in the wind, then an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, then a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.

makes sure his own heart is in the right place because writing worship isn’t just about musicality, but also about devotion and so much more.

When I read that verse, I just imagine God telling us our calling or giving us direction but God then says nothing after that. You think to yourself “but God gave me such clear direction”. I was in this season myself. But one day my mind jumped to this one quote that everyone has heard before “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, and in that moment it all made sense to me. Then I thought about thirst and how when we are most thirsty water tastes like heaven to us. And only water can properly quench our thirst, its the same with God and His voice for us.

Do you ever feel that your music is finished? Is art ever complete? I am a visual person so when I read this question my mind went to this image. With my music, I wouldn’t consider it finished until I feel like it’s kind of a house where God can live in and stay in so that when people listen to that song, it’s like they are walking into this house where God is at and then God encounters them.

Sometimes God’s voice can be disrupted and we need to find out way back to that communication, but either way we need to continually search our way back to that communication. How do you deal with comparison? Honestly I still struggle with this, the enemy will really try use this one on me. Something mums teach all their kids is, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.” I got this drilled into my head and I am thankful for it because I’ve turned it into how I deal with comparison. It taught me to stop and think and when I did that I always thought about the Bible verse ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn and that lead to more verses and more verses and eventually God gives me peace. Who is an artist that inspires you? Why? Hanan Sugunarajan inspires me. His songs are amazing and he is constantly devoting himself to writing worship to God. He always

What about music makes you feel passionate? It’s always something new, never done before and its exciting. If its a lyrics no one has heard before or a sound no one has heard in a song before, I love it. What’s a creative medium that you’ve never tried, but that you would like to? I would absolutely love to one day MD a youth program while playing either bass or keys. Please Tyler Douglass let me do this one day. Whats one piece of advice you’d want to share with the world? If you are a songwriter who struggles sometimes like me, remember that there is no right or wrong way to song write, there is just your way, don’t compare just figure out the best way you can song write.


LESS & MORE Words: Amanda Viviers

“I have always believed in ‘less is more’ in everything I do, from work to my personal life” Tory Burch

Disappointment can set in the middle of the year. It feels exciting to begin something and then when we can see the end in sight we can power home but what about when we are in the middle. Distraction can be a roadblock in seeing the fulfilment of the goals we have set.

my goals at the beginning of the year, so I am going on an extreme eating regime to lose that weight. These black and white moments can be incredibly destructive when I continually fail, because of the level of commitment they require. What if we allowed a sliding scale between the goals we have for the year?

What is distracting you in this current season? Often I am black and white. In the midst of distracted seasons, I try to make big decisions by saying okay tomorrow I am going to change everything. For example; “Social media is distracting me away from my work, so I’m deleting every app off my phone.” Alternatively, I still haven’t lost those kilos I have written in

What if you replaced those things that are distracting you, with kinder options? A little bit like this less and more poem I have written above. Less technology and more paper. Straight away, rather than making the goal firm, it becomes more fluid. Helping replace what has been distracting with something positive.


If you started thinking about what you could replace, with kinder options rather than listening to the critical voice, is extremely harmful to yourself. It can make all the difference in the fulfilment of what we set out to achieve. We can be our own worst critics, and the way we speak to ourselves will manifest in our lives. Taking the time to pause in the middle and refresh our vision of the year or season is a powerful tool. You are worthy of taking the time to pause and reset. Social Media and technology are my arch nemesis. I love the inspiration and the opportunities that I find there, but in the same breath, I become so distracted. I am despondent by the after effect of scrolling. Today why don’t you write your list of less and more? When it comes to seeing the breakthrough in our lives, I think we can sometimes believe that the stricter we are on ourselves, the more successful and lasting the change will be. However, I am learning to have a sliding scale of grace; between less and more. It helps to bring a gentle voice of encouragement to those places needing change.

Less technology, More paper Less shopping, More outdoors Less clutter, More space Less rush, More rest Less consuming, More creating Less junk, More real food Less driving, More walking Less noise, More silence Less focus on the future, More focus on the present Less perfection, More grace Less work, More play


CREATION TEAM Global Worship & Creative Pastor: Cassandra Langton | Australia Creative Pastor: Rich Langton Creative Director & Editor: Kris Mateika | Project Manager: Gabriella Melo Korocz Design Team: Ben Yeoh, Daniel Packer, Christel Cherryadi | Cover Design: Michelle Van Reneen Story Research: Rachel Mthembu, Janae Janik

WRITERS Australia NSW: Rich Langton, Nikki Sealey, Kmy Denton, Sebastian Strand, Janae Janik, Samantha Ortiz, Sarah Laing Australia VIC: Beth Kellock, Paula Christie | South Africa: Michelle Van Reneen

PHOTOGRAPHERS Daniel Parker, Ben Faulkner, Sebastian Strand, Seth Nichols, Jana Preuss, Hillsong Photography Team

CONTRIBUTORS Barbara Lephunting barbara_scrunchies barbaralephuthing.com

Hillsong Creative Podcast hillsong.creative linktr.ee/hillsong.creative

Ben Field bennyfield

Justin Arthur justinarthur01 auditoria.systems

Beth Kellock goodnewsco_ goodnewsco.com.au Dave Andrew davidjandrew linktr.ee/davidjandrew

Kristoffer Grindheim kristoffergrindheim vimeo.com/kristoffergrindheim Rachelle Dusting goolugatupheathcote theartistpath linktr.ee/rachelledustingart

Seth Nichols tenshimag Simone Roets simone_roets_ Tom & Paula Christie thesmallthingsco thesmallthings.co Daniella Marchio Edmund Phiri Isaac Fisher Josh Kpozehouen


Follow us on Instagram @hillsong.creative Read our previous magazine issues hil.so/aslh Check out the Hillsong Creative Podcast hil.so/creativepodcast www.hillsong.com


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