Sidney Mohede (pronounced Mo-heed-ee) serves on staff at Jakarta Praise Community Church in Indonesia's capital city and is known for recording in English, Indonesian and Mandarin, ministering throughout Asia and beyond. With over 380,000 Twitter followers, a 300,000+ Facebook community and millions of YouTube views of his performances and work with JPCC and the ensemble Giving My Best, Mohede is an inspiration to worship leaders and worshippers alike.
Born in Indonesia, Mohede immigrated to the U.S. as a child following his parents' divorce. At the age of 10, he found himself thrust into a completely different culture, struggling to adapt to his new life as an American kid growing up in southern California. After some rebellious years leading into high school, Mohede accepted Christ at the age of 17, changing his trajectory and launching onto a ministry path that would eventually lead him back to Indonesia.
Today, Mohede and his family reside in his birthplace of Jakarta, where he serves as the Network Pastor for JPCC, a 12,000-member congregation. He also makes time to travel, leading worship and serving as a guest speaker and teacher at conferences and events throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, The Netherlands, the U.K. and U.S.
Mohede has written over 200 songs and recorded numerous projects, including the English language album, The Rescue, which features a co-write and duet with longtime friendDarlene Zschech on the song "It Is Done." Fans of Israel Houghton may also recognize Mohede, who penned the song "Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher)" featured on Houghton's GRAMMY Award winning album Love God/Love People. Mohede has also led worship and taught at Houghton's annual "Deeper" worship conference.
Hallels: Thank you so much for your time in doing this interview. Tell us more about yourself, how did you come on staff at the Jakarta Praise Community Church and how did you come to lead worship?
Thank you so much for having me! And for that kind review of 'The Rescue EP' on Hallels.com. My name is Sidney Mohede, I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and moved to Southern California when I was still in elementary school. I became a follower of Christ when I was 17 at a small Indonesian church in Los Angeles and because I was naturally strong in music and singing, joining the worship team was a natural process. I started leading worship for our huge youth group (about 7 of us. Ha!) and the rest is history. This year in 2015 marks my 25th year of leading worship (and if your math is good you'll know how old I am this year) so I've been blessed and grateful to be able to do this for as long as I have.
In 1995 I had the call of God to go back to my homeland Indonesia, so I left my family and friends and went back to see what God had in store for me in the land that I had left behind for many years. It was a tough decision at the time because I literally had no idea what the plan would be once I was back in Indonesia. All I had was the faith that God knows exactly what He is doing and all I had to do was to follow His leading. In hindsight now, it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Not long after that, I was leading worship at this small Friday night Bible Study gathering and by 1999, what started as a Friday nights Bible Study & Fellowship became Jakarta Praise Community Church. This year in 2015 we are celebrating our 16th anniversary as a church.
Hallels: With many of our readers having never been to Jakarta, how would you describe the churches in Indonesia? Are they struggling or growing?
I think not only Jakarta, but all of Asia is having a major growth in Christianity and churches. For many countries, Christianity is not the majority religion, and that gives an amazing dynamic for growing churches. A lot of churches have to think 'outside the box' to be able to influence this generation with the Message of Truth about Jesus, and it's absolutely exciting to be living in Jakarta and Asia in this generation. Our church JPCC has now grown to about 12,000 in the last 16 years, and we are definitely not the largest in size, because there are churches in Asia far bigger than that. But our church is never interested in building a large 'church', we are far more interested in building large 'lives'. So the growth of Christianity here can always be seen in influence, not just numbers.
Hallels: Prior to "The Rescue," I believe you have had other worship albums too in Mandarin and Indonesian?
Yes, right from the beginning since 1995 I've been blessed with the right people in my life, amazing musicians, producers, and songwriters passionate for Jesus. In the last 18 years or so we have produced more than 30 albums so far (under Giving My Best, True Worshipper and JPCC Worship banners), mostly in our own language Bahasa Indonesia. I've always been more interested in producing team/church projects rather than solo projects. That's why I only have 4 solo projects (including The Rescue) so far. I love producing church/team albums, there's just so much happening and I love seeing the collaboration and interaction within the team.
Hallels: How did you get to work with Integrity Music?
That's a very good question, haha! In 2013 Jonathan Brown (Managing Director and Vice President of Integrity Music Europe) visited Jakarta for a very brief trip and had asked me to meet with him. He told me that Integrity Music have been following our songs in Indonesia and asked me to come to Colorado Springs for a meeting with the people at Integrity Music. It was a very 'God's timing' kind of thing, everything just flowed naturally and I felt like part of a family. We've always been self-producing and self-publishing all these years in Indonesia, so the idea of signing and partnering with an international music label such as Integrity Music was a very humbling experience for me. I really love their vision of "Helping people worldwide experience the manifest presence of God through worship", that we are a Global Church, and that worship is a universal language, no matter what language we speak in. I'm just honored to be a part of that.
Hallels: As I was growing up I attended Hillsong Church where Darlene Zschech was our worship pastor, what is it like to record a song on your EP with Darlene? What was she like in the studio?
I really respect and admire Darlene, not only for her voice and worship leading influence in my life and around the world, but also for her beautiful heart and passion for the pursuit of Jesus in her life. I remember attending Hillsong Conferences in the early days and was so awestruck by her extravagant worship and passion on the platform. Throughout the years, I've been blessed to know her and her husband Mark more on a personal level and my respect grew even more. When I was visiting her church HOPE UC in Central Coast, Australia, we had this conversation about The Rescue and I told her that when Mia Fieldes and I were writing "It Is Done," we were thinking of her singing the song with me. Darlene immediately said yes, and the rest was history! She actually recorded her vocal in Sydney and sent the audio track for us to mix. It was exhilarating to hear her voice on the song "It Is Done", she brought such power and authority to the track. I'm so grateful!
Hallels: In my review of your EP I raved about "Jesus It is You." It's such a gorgeous song. Can you tell us the story behind this song?
The song "Jesus It is You" is written by an amazing singer-songwriter and a very dear friend of mine, Ben Abraham, from Melbourne, Australia. I've known Ben and his family for many years (his parents are pastors at a church in Melbourne). So one day, we had a guest choir come into our church and one of the songs they sang was "Jesus It is You", that was taught by Ben when he was visiting Indonesia. I immediately fell in love with the song and had a connection to it. I talked to Ben and asked him if I could record that beautiful song for The Rescue and it is still one of my favorite songs to lead worship to anytime I travel. People always relate to the beautiful and honest lyric of this song.
Hallels: Currently in North America, we only have available the "Rescue" EP, are you following it up with a full length album? Will it be live? Will you be working with Darlene Zschech and Israel Houghton again?
At the moment, I'm working and producing our JPCC Worship next live recording 'None Like You', which hopefully will be released by August 2015. I have a few ideas for a solo project, but I think I will start to dig more by the end of this year. Last October in 2014, my friend Israel Houghton and New Breed did a series of live recordings in Jakarta, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and the Philippines, and I was involved in that. I think the album 'Covered: Alive in Asia' will be released in May of 2015. And yes, I would be so honored if I could work together with Darlene again in the near future.
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