Over 800 theaters across the U.S. premiered the new film “Hillsong: Let Hope Rise” that grossed $1.3 million last weekend according to “Box Office Mojo,” a company owned by the Internet Movie Database.
Hillsong United is a Christian rock band from Sydney, Australia, formed in 1983. Their international ministry has expanded to cities on five continents including Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and London, England. The film is a documentary about the band’s progress and how God has blessed them with success. Director Michael John Warren states in the movie’s first few moments, “This film is intended as a theatrical worship experience.” The film is centered around a concert they held at The Forum in Los Angeles, California, in 2014.
Recently, the movie has received negative reviews. Frank Scheck, a writer from The Hollywood Reporter, said that the film contains “bland interviews with several of the band’s members,” and a will not win over skeptics listening to the band.
“For any such soul who wanders into the wrong multiplex auditorium by mistake, the film makes a poor introduction,” Scheck said. “It provides only scant background information and no deep insights about the musicians.”
Los Angeles Times writer Kevin Crust said in a review that the film did a decent job of showing their day jobs as pastors and ministers of the church. Crust also states that the film provides stories of how the band members deal with struggles.
“The film is at its most effective when band members and lead pastor Brian Houston testify to the strength their faith provides during times of crisis,” Crust said.
On Monday nights, a portion of Harding’s student body gathers at Fellowship Bible Church to participate in a weekly service called Sanctuary, where a live band helps lead worship. The worship band is made up of students of different classifications. Senior Lindsey Luter said she believes whole-heartedly that Searcy is a mission field and the work that is produced through Sanctuary is to build a community in the freedom Christ gives us. Luter said their goal is reaching out to the people of Searcy.
“I think that what Hillsong does is incredible. I also know that not every church is meant to be a megachurch or a global church, and that is okay,” Luter said. “What takes my time and prayer is the way I can serve here in Searcy.”
Luter said one of her life-long goals was to attend the Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, while on the Harding University in Australasia program. Fellow Sanctuary band member, Sarah Roe, has a sister who works at the Hillsong church. Luter said Roe’s sister brought them to worship, where they gained insight into the background and inner workings of the church.
“On Thursday nights, they have a personal worship service for the creative team which includes anyone involved with media, lights or decoration,” Luter said. “After the worship, they split off into whatever they need to get done for the upcoming Sunday. The cool thing about that is the way they value creative people. You do not have to be a part of the band to be special.”
“Hillsong: Let Hope Rise” is rated PG. Check local theater schedules for show times.