VANCOUVER, WA—Computers containing song slides, lead sheets, and orders of worship for Passion Church were seized this week by agents from Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). Worship leader Zackhery Smyth has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into his song choices for the church’s Sunday services.
“According to our reports, Zackh has not led a Hillsong United song since playing Mighty to Save in late 2009,” said CCLI investigator Jordan Crossing. “Under Worship Ordinance 387.4b, this is punishable by up to six months in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.”
The raid came as Smyth was charting arrangements of some forgotten 18th-century hymns he was planning to introduce to the congregation. “Evidence indicates that [Smyth] was trying to actually take his congregation deeper than their feet could ever wander,” said Crossing. “But he was trying to do it with substantive lyrics that contained objective doctrine. Those days are over, and I’m glad to see them go.”
“We want this to be an example, and let other worship leaders know that if they try to bring back hymns, their feat may fail.”