Every Sunday, more than 50 million churchgoers stand, raise their hands and sing songs like “I Will Rise,” “Oceans” and “Mighty to Save,” written by the worship band Hillsong United.
While songs written by the band are known and loved by worshippers around the globe, few are familiar with the story of how the band came to be. That story is coming to theaters this May in the film “Hillsong: Let Hope Rise,” directed by Michael John Warren and produced by Jonathan Bock of Grace Hill Media.
Bock first had the idea to make a film about Hillsong when he visited the Hillsong Church’s campus in Sydney, Australia for a conference. On that trip, he came to admire the church member’s attitudes of service.
He approached Hillsong leader Joel Houston about producing a film, Houston said, “why would anybody want to see a movie about us?”
Focusing on the humble hearts of the band members and the church behind them, “Hillsong” follows the group as they record their upcoming album and tells the story of Hillsong’s rise to global prominence from a small suburban church.
“What we tried to do with this film is capture the heart of the church I fell in love with on screen,” Bock told Townhall.
It’s an exciting success story: the top track of their latest album, “Oceans,” was number one on Billboard’s Christian singles chart for 45 straight weeks, and the album reached number one on iTunes as a whole.
“The crazy thing about this movie is none of us really took it seriously in the beginning,” Houston said in a statement. “But, you know what? The thing about Hillsong United and Hillsong Church is that God took some pretty ordinary kids and some pretty ordinary people and over 30 years has actually done something quite significant. It's something none of us could have done on our own.”
When the film was first viewed at a test screening, guests started singing along to the film, worshiping as the movie -- just as they do on Sunday.
“In the process of making the film, we might have created a whole new genre -- of theatrical worship,” Bock said. “It was pretty fantastic to see.”
"Hillsong: Let Hope Rise" will hit theaters across the U.S. on May 29.