The Hillsong United band (stylised as Hillsong UNITED or UNITED) is a worship band that originated as a part of Hillsong Church. Formed in 1998 as part of Hillsong’s youth ministry, the band consists of several rotating worship leaders from the church, including Brooke Fraser, Joel Houston, Reuben Morgan and Marty Sampson. Due to several songs written by the youth ministry, Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech recommended that they record an album, which resulted in their debut extended play, One, which was released alongside the Hillsong Worship album Touching Heaven Changing Earth. Since then, the group has released eleven annual live albums, as well as four studio albums. The band composes songs and performs in church services as well as concerts in worldwide tours.
The band’s members are involved in Hillsong Church services and also play for the church.Many were volunteers who went unpaid for their time or contribution.
As such the line up changes on a regular basis due to the volunteers needs and the needs of the church; that is to say, due to the naturally resultant “churn”. Former original drummer Luke Munns (1998-2006) played on seven live recordings and transitioned out from the drums to front the rock/indie band LUKAS. Following his marriage to Michelle on November 2006, Sampson stepped down as one of the main leaders of the band. He contributed two more songs with United—”Devotion”, which he wrote and sang, and “Saviour King”, which he wrote with Mia Fieldes—before he officially stepped down. These songs were part of the 2007 release All of the Above. Current members of the Hillsong United band include Joel Houston, Jonathon Douglass (J.D.), Jadwin “Jad” Gillies, Matt Crocker, Taya Smith, Dylan Thomas (on rhythm guitar), Timon Klein (on lead guitar), Peter James & Benjamin Tennikoff (on keyboards), Adam Crosariol (on bass guitar), and Simon Kobler (on drums).
The annual Hillsong United CD/DVD was recorded for many years during the Hillsong youth ministry’s October conference Encounterfest, and albums released in the first quarter of the following year.