|Darlene Zschech enjoys a truly global ministry|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Thursday, 07 February 2013 12:59 PM America/New_York|
Australian worship leader and pastor has become ‘part of the fabric of contemporary worship’ in the church
Christian retailers would be not be surprised if worship leader Darlene Zschech has prayed the prayer of Jabez—“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” (1 Chron. 4:10). There is no doubt that, in fact, God has done just that for the recording artist who is now known around the globe.
As a pastor and worship leader, Zschech has led millions of Christians in worship around the world. With her songwriting skills, she has penned more than 80 songs, including anthems such as “Shout to the Lord,” a song covered by at least 20 other artists and sung by an estimated 30 million churchgoers every week.
Integrity Music—now owned by David C Cook—has served as the label Hillsong’s U.S. distribution partner from 1995 to 2010 and has signed a long-term songwriting/music publishing agreement with
“To date, over 3 million copies of that album have been sold around the world, not to mention her other recordings, and Integrity Music continues to resonate with the 80+ songs she has written and recorded,” said Steve Nicolle, vice president of sales at Integrity Music.
“Darlene is a true worshiper of God at heart, and also a tremendous singer and songwriter,” Nicolle said. “She is also a pastor, author and communicator who is very exuberant and authentic. When you put all of those gifts together, you have something very special and rare.”
Nicolle sees the Easter-themed “Victor’s Crown” on Zschech’s new album as a standout song. Releasing March 19, Revealing Jesus: A Live Worship Experience (Provident Distribution), is the first album on RGM-NEW BREED Music, which also plans a follow-up album.
“We think it, like ‘Shout to the Lord,’ will be one of those that will be sung around the world for years to come,” he said. “It’s just that good.”
Through Israel Houghton, “we negotiated this live recording of Darlene’s, which Israel produced, wrote songs and lent his voice and incredible talents to,” Nicolle said. “Michael W. Smith and Kari Jobe are also featured on the project, and we couldn’t be more thrilled on how it has turned out. The strength of the songs on the recording, the quality of the production of audio on the CD and stunning visuals of the DVD, together with the guest appearances all combine to make this one of the most significant worship releases we have ever had the privilege of bringing to the marketplace.”
While serving as a worship leader and pastor for Sydney’s Hillsong Church, Zschech wrote for, performed on and helped produce 16 Gold- and one Platinum-selling Australian Recording Industry Association live Hillsong albums.
Shout to the Lord was nominated as Album of the Year and the title song was nominated as Song of the Year in the Dove Awards. In 2000, she was nominated for Songwriter of the Year and received the Gospel Music Association International Award for her impact on the global church.
Dan Michaels, senior vice president marketing and promotions for Fair Trade Services, has worked with Darlene and her husband, Mark, on past recording projects.
As for why she is so successful in music ministry, Michaels said: “Darlene executed the basics with remarkable results. Timeless songs that made a connection to the heart of an individual. Superior performances and production. A vision to serve with passion and purpose that is clear to see whether you are listening to her CDs, experience her live or are fortunate enough to know her personally. Darlene has a burden for global reach with the gospel and charitable efforts, and a work ethic second to none.”
Beyond music, Zschech has written several books published by Bethany House. Extravagant Worship (2004), The Kiss of Heaven (2005) and The Art of Mentoring (2012) have been translated into 19 languages combined.
During the period when she didn’t have any books published, Zschech and her husband, Mark, planted a church in New South Wales, Australia. She was also engaged in some significant mission ventures, including traveling with Compassion International, and with her husband created a new nonprofit.
“They also made a commitment to do whatever they could to bring relief to human suffering,” said Steve Oates, vice president of marketing at Bethany House. “Through this desire, HOPE: Global (www.hope-global.org) was born, a nonprofit organization that helps restore hope and justice to countries devastated by war, genocide and poverty.”
Her latest book with Bethany House, Revealing Jesus, releases this month, with the CD and CD/DVD deluxe set releasing simultaneously with the book. A floor display (pictured) houses the products, and the header from the display can be used as a header for an endcap.
“This devotional was poured out from the pages of Darlene’s personal journals,” Oates said. “Honest, raw and beautifully written, it contains meditations and scriptures revealing the heart of Jesus.”
Revealing Jesus is a fitting title for the project, as she has made it her heart’s quest “to know more about Jesus, to be more like Him and to make Him known, to show His love like I should,” Zschech told Christian Retailing. “The more I read the Word, I continue to read about the authority that we have in the name of Jesus; that the cross was enough, that Jesus paid it all for you and me. And this has caused me to be more bold in my approach to writing songs for congregations to lay hold of, declaring the finished work of Christ and declaring that God is here—that greater is He that is living in me than he that is in the world.”
Because her music is “part of the fabric of contemporary worship within the church,” Michaels said: “Her history with Hillsong, touring and success at radio certainly have played a role connecting to lives of a CBA retail customer.”
Zschech has come a long way from singing jingles for McDonald’s, Special K, KFC and Diet Coke, which she did as a teenager.
“Now that we are pastoring Hope Unlimited Church at the Central Coast, sometimes it feels like I’ve gone full circle,” she said. “My children range in age from 24 to 11. My grandchildren are 3 and 18 months old. My husband and I are now senior pastors, and in our 27 years of marriage, we had never said to each other that we had that desire. We write, travel, teach, lead, but I think I am still the same person deep down—so grateful to Jesus for rescuing me, so grateful to God for my family and friends and so grateful to God for His church that welcomed me home 32 years ago.”