Listen: Hillsong Church's Cassandra Langton chats to Laura Bennett.
Next week the stereotype of sleepy and disorganised ‘creatives’ will be overturned, as thousands of them gather – in the same place *at the same time* – to attend Hillsong’s Worship and Creative Conference.
In its third year, the newest addition to Hillsong’s conference roster sets itself apart from their other gatherings, solely focusing on the nature of creative expression, and how artists share Biblical truths through their work.
Overseeing the vision of the conference is Hillsong’s Global Worship and Creative Pastor, Cassandra Langton. Together with her husband Rich who manages the Australian worship teams, the couple backstop one of the world’s most influential communities of Christian creatives. With the Worship and Creative Conference, they’re inviting anyone and everyone, both from in the church and outside it, into that collective for three days of inspiration.
Creativity Fostered at a Young Age
“I came from a real creative family,” said Cassandra (pictured). “My Dad is an undercover creative; he was an engineer, but in another day I think he would’ve been and artist and a poet.
“He fostered a real love in me for all of the arts, and he was constantly pushing us to galleries, and music, and stage shows and all sorts of things, [but] I have a business degree too. I’d wanted to pursue fine arts at university and he said, ‘Go get a real job’,” Cassandra laughed,
“So I think creativity’s all been sitting in me, but I have a business side as well.”
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With Hillsong Worship and United having just won two Dove Awards this week – for Worship Song of the Year and Worship Album of the Year respectively – the need to think intentionally about how songs are shaped, and what to do with our creative talents, isn’t lost on the Hillsong team.
“We’re all creative in some way shape or form. It’s how we’re built and wired, whether you’re an accountant, business person, or full-time mum.”
Taking the stage at The Dove Awards alongside official winners Ben Fielding and Rueben Morgan, fellow Hillsong Worship singer and songwriter Brooke Ligertwood said, “I was thinking about the people inside this room and how we came to be here, and those outside this room… I thought about the 8 billion people on the planet, and the responsibility that rests on us to steward the purity of the worship on the earth.”
It’s no small burden, but one Cassandra said isn’t just for vocalists and musicians to carry.
We All Have Creativity & Worship Inside Us
“I would say everybody belongs in the room [at Worship and Creative Conference],” Cassandra said. “We’re all creative in some way shape or form. It’s how we’re built and wired, whether you’re an accountant, business person, or full-time mum.”
This year, the conference is called ‘For Clarity’, and that’s something the church believes everyone needs.
“I feel like [clarity]’s a really important thing at this time in the world,” said Cassandra. “It’s so easy to get lost in everything that’s going on, and feel lost in the state of the world, or lost in our mental health – but all of us need to take time to get clarity on who we are and what we’re called to do, and how we function.”
Speaking on how creative pursuits can bring that clarity, Cassandra said, “Every single creative discipline has a way of cleaning things; you clean dance, you’re looking for clarity of sound in music, or in order to paint you need to clean your tools and start fresh. I think that [process] frames all the artistic endeavours into looking for a clear message to communicate, and clarity in their expression of it.
“Art opens your heart; it bypasses your logical thinking and gets to the core and enables you to feel things before you think them,” said Cassandra. “The arts are tools in our arsenal for communicating with the world, and helping them see things differently, and from a different perspective – like a diamond, twisting it and asking, ‘Do you get it yet?’ Art gets to the heart of who you are.”
Hillsong Worship and Creative Conference will take place in Sydney October 23rd- 25th, and can be joined online from anywhere in the world via live-streaming of the sessions. Online registrations are still available at https://hillsong.com/wcc/online/.