(Photo courtesy of Rogers & Cowan)
In His Name
Why Hillsong’s Brooke Ligertwood is Using Music to Point to Jesus
By Sarah Komisky
To know Brooke Ligertwood (also known as Brooke Fraser), is to know Hillsong Worship. She is someone who is deeply committed, not only to the local church, but also to building a legacy. Proud to be apart of the Hillsong Worship music group, Ligertwood – a songwriter and worship leader, has played a role in the longstanding Hillsong Worship group, based out of Hillsong Church in Australia. Since 1992, the music group has created 24 albums with more than 275 song releases. Additionally, it is estimated that Hillsong Worship songs are sung by the voices of 50 million people in 60 different languages. This has truly been a gift given to the church over a few decades and Ligertwood doesn’t take that lightly. The legacy is not of her own merit, but one that points to Jesus, being apart of something bigger than herself.
Originally from New Zealand, Ligertwood has enjoyed a music career beginning as a teen (signed by Sony), and has evolved over the past 14 years. Under her maiden name, Brooke exceeded eight x platinum sales in her home country and produced five #1 radio singles, remaining true to her faith in her expression of beautiful art. (http://hillsong.com/contributor/brooke-ligertwood/)
Simultaneously, the singer lived out her other passion, serving in her church, Hillsong. Ligertwood (then Fraser) as apart of Hillsong Worship, crafted songs like “Hosanna,” “Desert Song,” and “None but Jesus” that became staples in the church. Over recent years, Brooke alongside her husband Scott, moved to California, where they serve as leaders in Hillsong LA songwriting. She expresses “I have a place of planting and a place of mission (we all do, actually!) and, by the extraordinary grace of God, the two happily co-exist.”
Clearly evident is the work of God seen in Hillsong Worship reaching a generation of youth. Ligertwood doesn’t take her role lightly, commenting “Hillsong Worship has a 30 year legacy now and it’s overwhelming and honestly so refreshing to be part of something entirely anchored in the local church, with such a rich heritage yet always looking forward to the next generation. For all of us involved, whatever our part may be, we’re aware that we are building something so that our ceiling will be the next generation’s floor (I just totally stole that line from our Senior Pastor Brian, by the way).”
Sung and co-written by Brooke Ligertwood, the song, “What a Beautiful Name,” was penned in the suburbs of Sydney over a few days. Sung in churches around the globe, the anthem that sheds light on the person of Jesus has gained momentum fast, climbing the charts on the Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs Chart at the 2-1 spot. The song recently surpassed the song “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” as the most streamed track weekly in all of Christian music including both audio and video streams. Known to be the fastest climbing single in church history on Christian radio, the song has clearly struck a chord with listeners. (Rogers & Cowan)
Released on Hillsong Music’s Let There Be Light Ligertwood simply states, “At the end of the day sometimes the Lord just decides to breathe on something.”
Comparing the writing process of “What a Beautiful Name” with other congregational anthems of the past, Ligertwood is quick to offer a response of humility acknowledging, “The process is the same – being open to the Spirit of God, with a motive to serve and give expressing to the heart of God, being prayerfully diligent with the gifts He has given, and submitting the end product as an offering – being open handed with it. The goal would be to be faithful throughout the entirety of the process.”
Inspired by Hebrews 1:1-4 and Colossians 1:15-20; 26-27 in Scripture, “What A Beautiful Name” zeroes in on the beauty, power, and wonder of Jesus, unfolding the facets of His name. On the subject, Ligertwood is resolute on pointing out that understanding these three attributes of Jesus’ name is vital to our souls.
She notes, “Speaking the name of Jesus is a game changer. Offensive to some, adored by many, loathed by others – the name of Jesus might just be the least neutral word there is. In a time where there’s a lot of diluted pseudo-spirituality around, we as the church need a clear, unequivocal confession – we are Jesus people.”
Speaking (and in this case, singing) is something Ligertwood hopes to be used to plant a seed of faith in our hearts and lives of others. Noting that worship can be an outlet for speaking faith and truth into our lives she says, “When we magnify the Lord we find that in discovering more of who He is, we discover more of who we are.”
She adds in a recent press release, “Our prayer for this song is that we can all enter into a deeper, more lateral, revelation of the person of Jesus Christ – the epitome of beauty.” (Rogers & Cowan)
Along with Let There Be Light, Hillsong Worship also released on March 31st, a six song EP entitled What a Beautiful Name. The album features a live version from a Hillsong Conference in Sydney as well as an acoustic, orchestral and gospel version along with a Hillsong Young & Free Remix.
Ligertwood shares with the press this past week, “The reach and impact of ‘What A Beautiful Name’ has been encouraging and truly humbling. We seek to bring songs that can genuinely connect the hearts of believers with the heart of God through worship, and the connection this song seems to have made can only be by the grace of God. With the release of the ‘What A Beautiful Name’ EP this week we are hoping churches from across denominations and stylistic sensibilities can discover a version that uniquely speaks to their context and can equip them to lead this song whatever their setting, whether they have a full gospel choir at their disposal, a DJ set up or simply an acoustic guitar.”
When asked about why she thinks the church needs this song at this moment in history she responds in sincerity saying, “Truthfully, I don’t know that the world needs anymore songs. What it does need is a Church alive, servant-hearted and a flame with the love of God and fueled by a revelation of the grace of God seen and experienced in the person of Jesus Christ. That’s what the world needs. And that’s why we write songs that we pray equip and encourage the Church to realize who She is and who She is called to be.”
As Easter season is approaching, Ligertwood encourages readers to press into Jesus in an even deeper way commenting, “There are so many beautiful devotionals around and I would encourage everyone to be deliberate about framing Easter in their own inner lives this year. Look for devotionals or writings penned by people outside your own denomination. Find the richness available from perspectives different to the ones you would normally be exposed to. I’ve experienced such enriching Easter seasons in the past by connecting with open brethren friends on Monday-Thursday, reading through excerpts from ancient catechisms in devotionals like “Seeking God’s Face,” etc. Think outside the box and discover more this Easter.”
To discover more about Brooke and Hillsong Worship, visit: