Hill­song

Toronto Life - - Holy Hipsters -

WHERE: The Con­cert Hall at Yonge and Daven­port CON­GRE­GANTS: 2,000

At most churches, mass be­gins with a hymn. At Hill­song, ser­vices start with an EDM beat drop and con­fetti can­nons. A fresh-faced 10-piece band strums the open­ing chords of a swelling Chris­tian-rock an­them. As the song ex­plodes into a cathar­tic sin­ga­long cho­rus, 800 wor­ship­pers sway and reach for the heav­ens. World­wide, the Aus­tralian megachurch com­prises 130,000 mem­bers, dozens of churches and a TV chan­nel. Al­bums by the church’s le­gion of tour­ing bands oc­ca­sion­ally out­sell Tay­lor Swift. Justin Bieber is a reg­u­lar pa­tron—su­per­star NYC pas­tor Carl Lentz bap­tized the Biebs in NBA star Tyson Chan­dler’s bath­tub. At the new Toronto chap­ter, launched this year, pas­tors and wife-hus­band duo Julie and Damian Bas­sett de­liver af­fir­ma­tions and scrip­tural in­ter­pre­ta­tions, armed with the Bible in one hand and an iPad in the other. They founded their own Toronto church, Van­tage, in 2009 and be­came an of­fi­cial Hill­song out­post this year. They sug­gest mem­bers tithe 10 per cent of their to­tal in­come to the church. At ev­ery ser­vice, Julie asks at­ten­dees to stay up to date by fol­low­ing them on so­cial me­dia. “You’re all on In­sta­gram, right?”

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