It was 1998 when the group of friends from the ministry called “Powerhouse Youth,” led for many years by Pastors Phil and Lucinda Dooley of Hillsong Youth Ministry gathered and formed the band. In the summer of the previous year, the team made a huge impact on the summer camp of their youth ministry. Upon returning from camp, the youth ministries of Hillsong Church they decided to join together monthly, calling these meetings “UNITED” nights.
As the house band for Powerhouse meetings, they played original songs and reorganized popular radios at their weekly meeting for young people ages 16-25. Band members have sometimes also contributed to the larger interdenominational ministry Youth Alive Australia and its albums. Most of the band members also attended the services of Hillsong Church. The group became large and split into two groups of young people: Powerhouse (aged 18-25) and Wildlife (12-17). Reuben Morgan, backed by guitarist Marcus Beaumont and worship leader Tanya Riches, administered all nights, albums and United events until 2003 when the role was passed to Joel Houston .
Darlene Zschech and Reuben Morgan thought about the album in their first year considering that there were already a lot of songs finished. Its name was the EP one. Everyday was recorded in 1999 and packed with the annual album Hillsong Worship. Both reached a gold-disc status in Australia.
Members of the band are involved in the services of Hillsong Church and also play for the church. Many were volunteers who were not paid for their time or contribution. As such, the alignment changes regularly due to the needs of volunteers and the needs of the church; that is, due to the naturally occurring churn. Luke Munns, who was the band’s drummer from 1998 to 2006, played seven live recordings and left the drums to lead the LUKAS indie and rock band. After marrying Michelle in November 2006, Sampson stepped down as one of the band’s top leaders. He contributed two more songs with United – “Devotion,” which he wrote and sang, and “Savior King,” which he wrote with Mia Fieldes – before he officially left office.
Hillsong United’s current members include Joel Houston, Jonathon Douglass (JD), Jadwin “Jad” Gillies, Matt Crocker, Taya Smith, Dylan Thomas (guitar), Timon Klein (guitar) Peter James and Benjamin Tennikoff. (on keyboards), Adam Crosariol (on bass) and Simon Kobler (on drums).
Hillsong United’s annual CDs and DVDs were recorded for many years during the Hillsong Youth Ministry’s Encounterfest conference in October and the albums were released early next year. All of the Above was recorded in the professional studio, which was their first album to be finished like that. The band toured in several countries, leading worship in various places and has international influence. The official UNITED logo was designed by Munns for the album To the Ends of the Earth.
Five years ago, they won five Dove Awards, including the song of the year for “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail).” The band got nominated at the American Music Award in 2015. In the same year, they won a Billboard Musicas gospel Award in the Top Christian Artist category. The band won three Dove awards in 2016.