Darlene Zschech: I was raised in a Christian home and with Christian grandparents. But whether it was my parents, or maybe the culture of their family, we kind of drifted away from the things of God and I didn’t come back to Christ until I was fifteen. That’s really the point I remember getting radically born again, and from that day to this I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the love of God.
Mercy Hope: As a worship leader, I know your heart is to point people to Jesus and turn their eyes to Him. How have you dealt with the temptation that’s so prevalent in the music industry to make it all about you?
Darlene Zschech: I think living in Australia helps. To be honest, Mercy, I don’t really live in that environment. I know where I’ve come from and I’ll never forget what life was like without Christ. So anything that happens like that I just kind of deflect and keep pointing people to the Author of my life. I just do the best I can do and don’t really focus on it. I don’t really listen to what people say, good or bad. The Media – you know, you just can’t live there. You’ve just gotta wake up every day and serve Christ.
Mercy Hope: Amen. If there is one song that would stand out in your mind as your anthem, what would it be?
Darlene Zschech: I kind of see my life somewhat like a bridge. Face down, helping people cross … internationally, cross denominationally, cross generationally, so depending where I am that anthem changes.
Mercy Hope: I’d like you to share about your trip to Rwanda, Africa.
Darlene Zschech: We actually went with Compassion International. We’ve done a couple Compassion trips. On this one we went to Uganda, and then to Rwanda, and then we went to Kenya. The plight of the Rwandan people, I guess not only because of what they’ve suffered through, but are working so hard to emerge from, really just caught every fiber of our being. I still can’t really put it into words what happened on that trip.
When we hopped on the plane to leave, Mark and I were like, “Look, we’re just one couple, but we have to do something.” We felt like God was saying, “Now you’ve seen it. What are you going to do about it?” And we were like, “We don’t know!” It’s just overwhelming.
We’d known about the genocide, but we hadn’t really known about the genocide. We had a safe distance. Most of the world had a safe distance from Rwanda to be really compelled by it. They call it, “The time when the world forgot them,” which we did. So we thought, well, imagine if we just gathered friends from across the earth who really just actually love Jesus, and love people. Imagine what we could do we if we could just go shoulder to shoulder over those same 100 days (April 6- July 16) and just redeem the time and say, “Yes, we did forget, but man, we’re gonna guard these 100 days and bring the love of God into as many situations as we can in that nation.
I tell ya, it’s such a God idea because within 48 hours of my husband even speaking it out it took off. Kind of like, the song, “Shout To The Lord.” I didn’t even really write it, it just kind of took on its own life. The same thing has happened with Hope Rwanda.
Mercy Hope: Talk about Mercy Ministries Australia.
Darlene Zschech: Mercy Australia is fantastic. Mark and I, (and please don’t make us out to be heroes, because we’re really not), before we were married had been involved in youth ministry and we always said that one day we’d like to open a place for young women, because, I mean, I struggled with eating disorders, and Bulimia in particular, when I was young, and that overwhelming sense of inferiority. You just know that the enemy comes to seek and destroy and to steal from people their future and we thought that maybe one day we would open a place like that.
It was actually while we were at GMA that we heard about Mercy and we asked whether we could go and visit. So we went, and Mark and I met Nancy Alcorn in the foyer and it was as if we had known each other all our lives. Within 12 months Mercy was born in Australia, and we have two homes there now. Actually, Mark is now heading up Mercy International. And we have a home opening in the U.K., and one in New Zealand, and other homes in Australia. It’s very, very exciting.
Now that we’re a few years down the track we’ve got graduates working in the program and we’ve got babies born who were going to be aborted and it’s so exciting! We’ve dedicated a few of them ourselves, actually, and it’s just so great!
Mercy Hope: Amen! That has got to be almost indescribable!
Darlene Zschech: Oh, it is! To see a life turned around … I never get used to seeing what the love of God does in people’s lives.
Mercy Hope: Worship is so much more than just going to church and singing worship songs, although that is a key aspect. Worship is a lifestyle, and through your work with Compassion International & Mercy Ministries you truly exemplify that. What would you say to encourage Believers to move worship out of the four walls of their church?
I truly believe we must be worshipers because unless we have worship, and connection, and encounter with God our hearts are so hard that we don’t even see need, but true worshipers — their hearts are soft and vulnerable in the Presence of God and you see need and it’s not even a choice! You have to do something about it!
Darlene Zschech: The Church is born to be the lighthouse on the earth, so we’ve always got to remember that, and music has always been the most powerful communicator. When we come together as a Body with our expression of love songs to our God, attaching music to lyrics and the Word of God and inspired melodies, and basically this is Heaven. It really does help people. Music has the ability to inspire people from the soul of who they are,
then to their mind, their emotions, etc. etc., and they make a choice, because worship is always a choice, to ascribe greatness to honor God because of His worth through song, through the lifting of hands, through the making of melody, all those things. So worship is a POWERFUL thing when we come in unity. I mean, it’s the only place ever that you’ll hear the same song sung by different generations, different ages, different tastes, understanding … but we can all sing “Amazing Grace” around the earth with the same conviction! It’s supernatural what happens in worship through music.
But then in Romans 12, it talks about our lives poured out—our spiritual act of worship actually being sacrificial lives.
Throughout the Psalms it tells us to worship God and then it talks about bringing justice to those who have no voice. Proverbs 31 talks about speaking out on behalf of those who have no voice and bringing answers.
I truly believe we must be worshipers because unless we have worship, and connection, and encounter with God our hearts are so hard that we don’t even see need, but true worshipers—their hearts are soft and vulnerable in the Presence of God and you see need and it’s not even a choice! You have to do something about it!
When you read through the Gospels and look at how Jesus lived His life, because He had the most beautiful Heart, you see that He was always moved by compassion, always in a relationship with the Father, and always meeting the needs of people with no voice. In fact, He stopped the crowd to grab the one who was seemingly insignificant.
Mercy Hope: With your amazingly full life, and all the wonderful ministry things you are involved in, how do you keep your marriage and family so strong?
Darlene Zschech: I think it’s a matter of life vision. I don’t think it’s just a matter of balance, because it has a lot to do with Divine order, because everyday that changes. And with our family, this is not me doing my thing, this is us doing our thing. For our daughters, this is all they know. In the Ministry it’s “What are we doing this week?” and it’s fun. I mean, it’s getting scary now because Amy is nearly seventeen, and we’ve traveled a lot and we’ve really made the world a small place for her, so talking about her future and Rwanda and maybe Kiev, and I’m like, “Oh, thank You Jesus!” (Laughs) So we do this together, and when I have down time I protect it. The office knows it’s out of bounds. Unless someone is dying, they can handle it. We’re not indispensable.
And I think humor is a really good thing. We’ve learned in our family that you’ve got to have a good sense of humor. Laugh a lot. It makes your journey wonderful! Don’t get too intense.
Mercy Hope: I know a lot of Christians right now who are battling discouragement and just having a hard time keeping their head up. Their laugh is gone, or at least hard to find. What would you say to encourage those who are “going through” right now and need to find their song, their joy, again?
Darlene Zschech: My encouragement to them would be, that they would always know how valuable they are to God; how loved they are and that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives!
I have experienced major discouragement and disappointment to the point that I felt very alone and overlooked. And for me, even as a young person, Psalm 139 was really critical to allowing me to stand at all, just as a human being before God and in my family. It just talks about my worth, and I think sometimes we can get overwhelmed by that feeling of “not good enough.” Nothing we could ever say or do could ever measure up to what people expect of us, but my first thing would be to remind the girls that they literally are of royal descent and to absolutely treasure it, and it does not matter what you’ve done, it does not matter where you’ve come from. Today you are just so treasured. I think just knowing that really helps you to get up in the morning and go, “Wow! God really does have a plan for me.” You may not see it today, but He does.
And, Mercy, for me, I’ve found that worship is critical, not public worship, private worship was critical and pivotal to my Spiritual growth—just coming before God—because when I actually made the decision and positioned myself and actually got into the things of God, it’s amazing how you can hear His voice! It’s incredible that the Creator of Heaven and earth would actually want to speak to you! But when you position yourself and actually take the time, you will hear the Voice of God. One word in the depths of your soul, I’ll tell ya, you’ll be changed forever! That’s what happened to me, on a number of occasions. When He said to me that, “I never needed to perform for anybody,” that “I’m not for sale. I’ve already been bought with a price and I’m His.” Just so many times when I really understood being cradled by God and held in His palm. How can you get full of your own self-importance when you know really who you are as a person, and how frail and vulnerable?
Just be faithful with what He’s put in your hand today. That’s all you need to do. Usually what’s in your hand will end up leading to what’s in your heart. Be faithful with that today.
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