Hillsong's Darlene Zschech Leaves After 25 Years of Service

After serving at Hillsong Church for 25 years alongside Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston, renowned worship leader Darlene Zschech will be leaving the megachurch to assume a senior pastor role at a nearby Pentecostal church.

She will be leading Church Unlimited, near Syndey, with her husband, Mark, beginning in January 2011.

"We are incredibly honored and VERY excited to be heading into this great opportunity to serve the people of the Central Coast and everyone at Church Unlimited. We are entering into what we believe will be a wonderful and fruitful season ahead," Mark Zschech said in a statement earlier this week.

"We really feel like God's called us to the central coast and to really have an impact there. And really the two words that are on our hearts are to lead and to build. We're going to build a church for everybody."

Church Unlimited began searching for senior leaders several months ago, in conjunction with Australian Christian Churches (ACC) State and National leadership.

"Our aim was to find God's choice, those who would lead us into the incredible destiny God has for our house," the church stated. "God is faithful!"

Hillsong pastor Brian Houston expressed good wishes for the Zschechs.

"I feel good about it ... and our church leaders and elders feel good about it because Mark and Darlene have really sown into our church for a long, long time," he said in a message to his mega-congregation, which is also part of the ACC denomination, formerly Assemblies of God.

"The Zschech family have been an integral part of our church family and whilst they will be greatly missed, we feel as though this is a good and a timely step for them."

The Zschechs will still be involved in various Hillsong praise and worship projects, including an upcoming live album as well as Hillsong conferences.

Mark highlighted, "Whilst Darlene will remain very much in her various roles in worship ministry and myself in mission and media endeavors in the developing world, we have always been local church people."

They will begin in their new role as senior pastors at Church Unlimited on Jan. 23.

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