Darlene Joyce Zschech is an Australian Pentecostal Christian worship leader, singer and songwriter. Described as a “pioneer of the modern worship movement”, she is the former worship pastor of Hillsong Church and is currently a member of Compassionate, a charity founded by Martin Smith.
Life And Career
Born on 8 September 1965, Zschech started on television at the age of 10, as part of an Australian children’s show, Happy Go Round. When she was 13, her parents divorced and the emotional stress of being on television and her parents’ divorce resulted in her having bulimia for about four years.
In 1980, at age 15, her father rededicated his life to Christ and began taking her to church, where she also became a committed Christian and met her future husband, Mark Zschech. When they married, her husband suggested that they move from Brisbane to Sydney, which was confirmed at a small church they were visiting one Sunday when the guest speaker said in the middle of his sermon, “This doesn’t happen to me very often, but whatever it is you two prayed last night, God says do it now.” They began attending Hills Christian Life Centre, which would become Hillsong Church.
Zschech sang jingles for a number of international companies including McDonald’s, KFC and Coca Cola, until she eventually joined the staff of Hillsong Church after penning “Shout to the Lord”. She released a vinyl album in 1987 called “Make the Choice” and a cassette album in 1993 called Pearls & Gold.
In 2003, Zschech released her first official solo album, Kiss of Heaven. Change Your World followed in 2005. She has since released two albums, in 2011, called Simply Darleneand You Are Love. In addition to writing songs, she has written five books: Worship (1996), Extravagant Worship (2002), The Kiss of Heaven (2003), The Great Generational Transition (2009) and Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional (2013).
On 11 December 2013, Zschech was diagnosed with breast cancer. In a blog dated 30 November 2014, she wrote that she has been healed of cancer, which her doctor termed “quite miraculous”.
Although she has achieved numerous gold albums and her songs are sung in many nations of the world. Darlene’s success simply stands as a testimony to her life’s passion for serving God and people with all her heart. Alongside her husband Mark, they are the Senior Pastors of Hope Unlimited Church (HopeUC) on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia.
Many years ago Mark and Darlene made a life commitment to do whatever they could to bring answer and relief to human suffering. One of their great joys in life has been to work with Compassion International, serving the world’s poorest of the poor children.
It was during a Compassion trip to Central Africa in 2004 that Mark and Darlene were prompted to initiate Hope: Rwanda. Hope: Rwanda was a global endeavour designed to bring hope to a nation seemingly forgotten since the horrific genocide of 1994. The 100 Days of Hope (April 6 – July 15, 2006) project was strategically coordinated to cover the same 100 days that saw approximately 1 million people viciously slaughtered. Now HOPE: Global continues to bring hope and healing to Rwanda, and a new ‘HOPE’ has spread into Cambodia, Vanuatu, and India. The HOPE team are excited about all the future endeavours that continue to gather great momentum.
Darlene and Mark live in the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales with their three daughters, Zoe, Amy and son-in-law Andrew, Chloe and son-in-law Hosanna, and beautiful grand-daughters Ava Pearl, Ruthie Feather and grandson Roman Emmanuel Mark. While they travel extensively and have the honour of working and ministering alongside amazing friends around the globe, the family remains Darlene’s delight. Darlene says, “First and foremost I am a woman who simply and wholeheartedly loves Christ, and serves Him through loving my family, serving the church, and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”