Darlene Zschech is back for her first album since being diagnosed with breast cancer, and Here I Am Send Me is not only an amazing offering filled with new songs for the church to sing, but a personal testimony to God’s faithfulness for leading her through that journey. Zschech’s voice was emblematic of the sound for Hillsong Worship over the years, but like her previous solo albums, Here I Am Send Me offers a more personal, intimate connection to her heart and ministry.
Darlene and her husband Mark are pastors at Hope Unlimited Church in New South Wales, Australia. For Here I Am Send Me, Zschech teamed up with some friends to co-write these songs, including Martin Smith, Paul Baloche, Jenn Johnson, Leeland Mooring, and several other songwriters from the team at Hope Unlimited. The result is a wonderful collection that focuses on giving God glory for who he is and what he has done.
The opening song, “You Are Great,” is a perfect way to start the album. With its lush orchestration and full sound, this song sets the stage for the rest of the album by just declaring the greatness of God. Written with Martin Smith, this song perfectly blends lyrics and music to serve as a vehicle for the worshiper to exalt the Lord and stand in awe of the greatness of our God.
The next track is “You Will Be Praised,” another great song written by Zschech, Paul Baloche, and Jenn Johnson. After going through a battle such as cancer, Zschech reminds the listener that our God will be praised before the storm, in the middle of a storm, in death, or in life. This truly is a song of praise for any situation, “in joy or in pain,” and it is clear that the lyrics here come from a personal place of experience.
In a distinctly stripped-down, more acoustic style that allows the vocals and lyrics to shine, “Beloved (When I Survey)” is a beautiful song of surrender written along with Leeland Mooring and Casey Moore. The familiar words to the hymn “When I Survey” are added to the end of this song in a new melody and interestingly enough, in a 3/4 time signature, which works very well.
The album ends with two songs that shift our worship outward, as the listener is challenged to take God’s love out to the nations and to our neighbors. “Here I Am” is a challenging song of surrender, and “Go” is a great way to end this top-notch album by one of today’s premiere voices in worship.
Sounds like: Recorded live at Hope Unlimited Church, the album has that live feel, and the high production quality brings the listener right into the room, which allows for a joint worship experience.
Most Singable: “You Are Great”
Strongest Biblical Content: “Here I Am, Send Me”
The Whole Package: “You Will Be Praised”
– Barry Westman