Hillsong: A church with rock concerts and 2m followers

_108138189_img_1113Source: BBC News

As Christian churches throughout the US face widespread decline, one church is bucking the trend. But is Hillsong a triumph of marketing or faith?

If someone were to choreograph an ideal concert audience, it would look something like this.

Everyone has their hands up and everyone is swaying. The opening bars of each song are met with a roar of frenzied recognition. For the few who don’t already know them by heart, the lyrics beam down from massive screens flanking the stage.

The songs sound expertly engineered to elicit an emotional reaction. The melodies rise, fall, then rise again like a more dramatic version of Mumford and Sons. The band, Hillsong United, had sold out the Anthem, among Washington’s favourite venues.

The collective style of the 10 members on stage is mirrored by their audience: skinny jeans, over-sized T-shirts and tattoos. This uniformity makes the fans look less like a crowd and more like a congregation.

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