Every year for the last 20 odd years, Hillsong Church had used their annual conference to launch their annual worship album releases in July. However, this year, they have not released a new album. Earlier in the year, during the Easter week, they released a teaser single "O Praise the Name." But the creative team have decided not to follow it up with a full-length live CD this year. Instead, they chose to use the conference to record new songs. Rather, than releasing a new record for the sake of protocol, they have decided to wait on the Lord. This is in conjunction with the conference theme to wait upon God and hear Him speak.
Previously, the chuch had used the conference in Sydney, Australia as a platform to launch their albums. This has met with great success. In 2004, Hillsong Church and Darlene Zschech debut their album "For All You've Done" and it catapulted the album straight to #1 in Australia. Due to the massive numbers of conference attendees, the album was a no brainer best seller across the nation. As a result, all of Hillsong Worship albums have benefitted from such a promotion.
This year, for the first time ever, the Creative team has gathered all the leaders from many parts of the multi-campus church - Sydney, LA, London and NYC - just before the conference. And the team took over the top floor of one of the church offices in a very unglamorous studio set up and spent countless sleepless nights sharing ideas and working together to push the musicality forward. The atmosphere of combined effort lead to more co-written songs by multiple members of the team, often across different campuses.
This whole process has looked completely different to other years, and it means the Worship team are all entering Hillsong Conference very tired, but closer than ever. A desperation for God to move in these nights is apparent in every conversation, and the Hillsong Conference theme of "Speak, we're listening" is a cry that is echoing through each song, lyric and sound.
One song called 'Open Heaven' began when Matt Crocker sat at home and instead of trying to write a song for an album, he decided to put into song a very personal and intimate revelation he had.
What came out was an understanding that an eternal God can speak a word that is individually relevant to an infinite amount of people.