Reuben rocks Norwich with Hillsong worship
2007: International worship leader Reuben Morgan
and a band from the 20,000-strong Hillsong Church
in Australia performed in Norwich
on Monday night (July 23) to a packed crowd of 650. Keith Morris
reports on the gig and an exclusive interview with Reuben.
It looked and felt just like a rock concert. Drayton Hall, current home of Norwich Family Life Church was packed to the rafters, the dry ice was drifting across the stage, the coloured lights illuminating the drum kit and keyboards. As Reuben Morgan and the Hillsong band emerged onto the stage and struck up the opening chords of My Redeemer Lives the crowd went wild bouncing up and down with lifted arms. The building literally shook along with the music.
As they raced through songs from Reuben’s latest album Everyone,
the words flashed up on plasma screens above the audience but they were unnecessary as everyone seemed to know every single word. The ninety-minute set captured the attention in a moving and inspiring evening.
But this was not a rock concert, it was a worship service. The focus of attention was ultimately not the band but the God to whom they devote all their songs.
Organiser Jon Norman summed it up: “This was not a concert but there was a purpose behind tonight. It was somewhere you can encounter Christ.” And Jon’s words were proved spot on when around 25 youngsters responded to a call to commit or recommit their lives to Christ.
I managed to catch Reuben for ten minutes just before he went on stage and he was quite clear that even though he has topped the Australia pop charts, he is not a rock star but a worship leader, a music pastor.
Australia's premier Christian songwriter, Reuben was back in Norwich because of a connection with Jon at the Hillsong College in Australia where they first met. Hillsong is more about worship than planting churches. There are just three across the world. The 20,000 one in Sydney, one in London and one in Kiev, Russia.
”We are here in Norwich to build up the church and build up his people,” said Reuben. “We want to contribute to the life of the Church here and encourage people to encounter God. We want people to experience and receive from God. I believe that Jesus Christ is real, alive and relevant today and is worth looking into. I want to help connect with people where they are at, whether they are young or old. I want them to know that they matter to God.
“We are trying to work with local churches to encourage them and help them to move forward. We can help them build a momentum, build enthusiasm and see what could be.”
Reuben and the band were in Norwich in the middle of a European tour which took in Germany, Sweden and Budapest playing to crowds from 500 to 5,000.
If you were at the concert, let us know what you thought by adding your comments below.