Joel Houston

Joel Timothy Houston (born 19 September 1979) is an Australian musician, songwriter, pastor, and leader in the Sydney-based band Hillsong United, a worship band of Hillsong Church.

Joel Houston
Background information
Birth nameJoel Timothy Houston
Born (1979-09-19) 19 September 1979
Brisbane, Queensland
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresContemporary worship music, Christian rock
Occupation(s)Producer, songwriter, worship leader
InstrumentsBass guitar, vocals, acoustic and electric guitar
Years active1999–present
LabelsHillsong, Sparrow, Capitol
Associated actsHillsong United, Hillsong Worship, Able

He has been co-pastor at Hillsong NYC since 2010.[1] He is the head of the Christian worship band Hillsong UNITED, for which he sings, plays guitar, and writes songs. In 2008, he became the Creative Director at Hillsong Church. He is the oldest son of the church's founders and Global Senior Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston and grandson of Frank Houston (who was the Senior Pastor of Sydney Christian Life Centre which is now the City venue of Hillsong Church). He has two siblings, a brother Benjamin and a sister, Laura.[2] Houston was also the bass player for the band Able, which was composed of Marty Sampson, Michael Guy Chislett and Luke Munns, which won the Channel V Leg Up competition in 2001.[3][4][5]


Early life

Joel is the oldest child of the Hillsong church's senior pastors and founders Brian and Bobbie Houston and grandson of pastor Frank Houston.

Joel has two siblings, Ben Houston (lead pastor of Hillsong Los Angeles) and Laura Toggs (pastor of the Hillsong youth ministry in Australia and also member of Hillsong Young & Free).[6][7][8][9]

Houston wanted to play the piano at the age of seven. However he found an inclination to play bass and this led him to play the bass guitar for a number of Hillsong Worship albums instead.[10]

Hillsong United and Hillsong

Houston's first debut with the Hillsong United as a vocalist was in 2002, however he had been playing bass guitar with the band for several years prior to this, and contributing various songs, including the title track from the group's debut full-length live album, Everyday. As part of Hillsong United music team, Joel Houston has helped lead worship conferences in North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. He has also contributed to the main Hillsong album recordings as well, which are led by worship pastor Reuben Morgan. Many of the songs he has written or co-written are sung in churches worldwide and have been translated into 32 languages. His music has been featured on Hillsong albums that have quickly risen on both the Australian and American Christian music charts.[11][12] In March 2007, Hillsong United's eighth album All of the Above debuted at No. 6 on the ARIA charts.[13] Joel Houston has been the Creative Director of Hillsong since 2008. Joel is currently co-pastor of Hillsong NYC with Carl Lentz.[1]

Personal life

Joel married Brazilian model Esther Lima in 2012 and had a son, Zion, in 2013.[14][15][16]


Albums on which Houston has written and performed songs:

  • Everyday (1999)
    • "Everyday"
  • For This Cause (2000)
    • "For This Cause"
    • "Everyday"
  • Best Friend (2000)
  • You Are My World (2001)
    • "My Best Friend"
  • Blessed (2002)
    • "One Desire"
  • To the Ends of the Earth (2002)
    • "All About You"
    • "All"
    • "To the Ends of the Earth" with Sampson
    • "Am I To Believe"
  • Hope (2003)
  • More Than Life (2004)
    • "One Way" with Jonathon Douglass
    • "Evermore"
    • "Open Up the Heavens"
    • "Where the Love Lasts Forever"
  • For All You've Done (2004)
    • "One way" with J.D
    • "Evermore"
  • Look to You (2005)
    • "Salvation Is Here"
    • "Tell the World" with Douglass and Marty Sampson
    • "Shout Unto God" with Marty Sampson
    • "'Til I See You" with Jad Gillies
  • God He Reigns (2005)
    • "Salvation Is Here"
    • "Yours Is the Kingdom"
  • Super Strong God (2005)
    • "One Way" with Douglass
  • United We Stand (2006)
  • Mighty to Save (2006)
    • "The Freedom We Know" with Matt Tenikoff & Marty Sampson
    • "From the Inside Out"
  • Supernatural (2006)
    • "Everyday"
  • All of the Above (2007)
    • "Point of Difference"
    • "Break Free" with Matt Crocker & Ligertwood
    • "Desperate People" with Chislett
    • "Solution" with Crocker
    • "My Future Decided" with Marty Sampson & Douglass
    • "Never Let Me Go"
  • Saviour King (2007)
    • "Break Free" with Crocker & Ligertwood
    • "In the Mystery"
  • In a Valley by the Sea (2007)
    • "Break Free" with Crocker & Ligertwood
  • The I Heart Revolution: With Hearts as One (2008)
    • "The Time Has Come"
    • "One Way" with Douglass
    • "'Til I See You" with Gillies
    • "The Stand"
    • "Break Free" with Crocker & Ligertwood
    • "Where the Love Lasts Forever"
    • "Tell The World" with Douglass & Marty Sampson
    • "My Future Decided" with Douglass
    • "Shout Unto God" with Marty Sampson
    • "Salvation Is Here"
    • "From The Inside Out"
    • "Solution" with Crocker
  • This Is Our God (2008)
    • "Your Name High"
    • "Run"
    • "With Everything"
  • A Cross // the EARTH: Tear Down The Walls (2009)
    • "No Reason To Hide" with Crocker
    • "Tear Down The Walls" with Crocker
    • "Your Name High"
  • Faith + Hope + Love (2009)
    • "The First and The Last" with Reuben Morgan
    • "For Your Name" with Jad Gillies & Morgan
    • "No Reason to Hide" with Matt Crocker
    • "Glow" with Crocker
  • A Beautiful Exchange (2010)
    • "Our God Is Love" with Scott Ligertwood
    • "You"
    • "Beautiful Exchange"
  • Aftermath (2011)
    • "Take Heart"
    • "Like an Avalanche" with Dylan Thomas
    • "Aftermath"
    • "Bones" with Jill McCloghry
    • "Father"
    • "Nova" with Matt Crocker & Michael Guy Chislett
    • "Search My Heart" with Matt Crocker
  • God Is Able (2011)
    • "Rise"
  • Live in Miami (2012)
    • "Break Free" with Matt Crocker and Scott Ligertwood
    • "You"
    • "Search My Heart" with Crocker
    • "Bones" with Jill McCloghry
    • "Nova" with Michael Guy Chislett and Crocker
    • "Aftermath"
    • "Shout Unto God" with Marty Sampson
    • "Like An Avalanche" with Dylan Thomas
    • "The Stand"
    • "From The Inside Out"
    • "A Song To Sing..." with Jad Gillies
    • "With Everything"
    • "Your Name High"
    • "Take Heart"
  • Cornerstone (2012)
    • "Children of the Light"
  • Zion (2013)
    • "Relentless" with Matt Crocker
    • "Up in Arms"
    • "Scandal of Grace" with Crocker and Ben Tennikoff
    • "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" with Crocker and Salomon Ligthelm
    • "Stay and Wait"
    • "Mercy Mercy" with Crocker
    • "Love Is War"
    • "Heartbeats" with Michael Guy Chislett, Crocker and Tennikoff
    • "Tapestry" with Chislett, Tennikoff, Crocker and Scott Ligertwood
    • "Mountain" with Crocker
  • Glorious Ruins (2013)
    • "You Never Fail" with Brandon Carter and Chris Davenport
    • "Glorious Ruins" with Matt Crocker
  • "We Are Young & Free" (2013)
    • "Lifeline" with Michael Fatkin, Renee Sieff and Melodie Wagner
  • No Other Name (2014)
    • "Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)" with Jonas Myrin
    • "No Other Name" with Myrin
    • "Mountain" with Matt Crocker
  • Empires (2015)
    • "Here Now (Madness)" with Michael Guy Chislett
    • "Say The Word"
    • "Heart Like Heaven" with Matt Crocker
    • "Touch The Sky" with Dylan Thomas and Chislett
    • "Street Called Mercy" with Crocker
    • "When I Lost My Heart To You (Hallelujah)"
    • "Even When It Hurts (Praise Song)"
    • "Prince of Peace" with Crocker and Thomas
    • "Empires" with Chris Davenport, Ben Tennikoff and Thomas
    • "Rule" with Crocker
    • "Closer Than You Know" with Crocker and Chislett
    • "Sunburst" with Scott Ligertwood, Crocker and Chislett
  • Open Heaven / River Wild (2015)
    • "What a Saviour" with Chris Davenport
    • "Heart Like Heaven" with Matt Crocker
    • "One Thing" with Aodhan King and Dylan Thomas
  • Let there Be Light (2016)
    • "Behold (Then Sings My Soul)"
    • "Look to the Son" with Matt Crocker, Scott Ligertwood, Reuben Morgan and Marty Sampson
    • "Let There Be Light" with Michael Guy Chislett, Crocker, Brooke Ligertwood and S. Ligertwood
    • "Grace To Grace" with Chris Davenport
    • "As It Is (In Heaven)" with Ben Fielding
  • Wonder (2017)
    • "Wonder" with Matt Crocker
    • "Shadow Step" with Michael Guy Chislett
    • "Future Marches In" with Crocker
    • "So Will I (100 Billion X)" with Benjamin Hastings and Michael Fatkin
    • "Splinters And Stones" with Chislett
    • "Glimmer in the Dust" with Aodhan King, Hastings and Dylan Thomas
    • "Greatest of These" with Hastings and Fatkin
    • "Shape of Your Heart" with Crocker
    • "Not Today" with Crocker
    • "Life" with Crocker and Chislett
    • "Rain/Reign" with Crocker
    • "Water To Wine"
  • There Is More (2018)
    • "Valentine" with Scott Ligertwood and Brooke Ligertwood
  • III (2018)
    • "Highs & Lows" with Aodhan King and Ben Tan.[17]
  • Can You Believe It!? (2018)
    • "My Best Friend" with Marty Sampson[18]
  • People (2019)
    • "Ready or Not" with Marty Sampson
    • "Good Grace"


  1. Houston, Brian (14 April 2010). "Update #2: HILLSONG NEW YORK CITY". Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  2. Jones, Caroline (1 August 2005). "The Life of Brian - Transcript". Australian Story. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  3. "Welcome to Twitter - Login or Sign up". Twitter. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  4. "Welcome to Twitter - Login or Sign up". Twitter. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  6. "Joel Houston on Instagram: "My bro and my son - winning on both fronts! Love them both"". Instagram. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  7. "Joel Houston on Instagram: "My sister is far cooler than I am. She also loves cows. These 2 qualities would be at the bottom of a list longer than the collective scroll of our insta feeds to describe just how awesome she is. Happy birthday @lauratoggs love you xoxo"". Instagram. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  8. "Ben Houston". Hillsong Official Website.
  9. "Laura Toggs". Hillsong Official Website.
  10. Blessed. Special features. Hillsong Music. 2002.
  11. Archived 12 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Archived 12 July 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "He's on a musical mission for God". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  14. Mackinnon, Olivia (1 July 2015). "Meet Hillsong's Power Couple, Draped In Tattoos and Designer Clothing". Retrieved 26 October 2018. Hillsong Church's Global Director, Joel Houston and his very glamorous wife, Esther Lima are Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's spiritual guides - and the unofficial face of Hillsong church.
  15. "Esther Houston". Hillsong.
  16. "Joel Houston". Hillsong.
  17. "Highs & Lows". Hillsong.
  18. "My Best Friend Official Lyrics". Hillsong. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
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