Hillsong United’s Benjamin Hastings Feels ‘Compelled to Teach’ the Church through Music
If Benjamin William Hastings wasn’t a singer, songwriter and worship leader, he says, he’d probably be in a classroom behind a podium, teaching students.
Then again, as a member of the award-winning group Hillsong United, he’s already teaching the church through his music.
He co-wrote So Will I (100 Billion X), which won a 2018 Dove Award and spotlighted the glory of God in creation. He co-wrote The Father’s House, a popular song by Cory Asbury. He also co-wrote Know You Will, which is up for a nomination at this year’s Dove Awards for Worship Recorded Song of the Year and tells the story of God’s rescuing power.
The Dove Awards will be broadcast Friday on TBN.
“I feel like if I wasn’t in music, I’d probably be a teacher,” Hastings told Christian Headlines. “… I do feel like for whatever reason, this calling inside of me that this is kind of what I’m meant to do. I feel really compelled to teach.”
Music, he said, is a teaching tool for the church.
“I do feel compelled to like kind of pull revelation [from Scripture] and then figure out a way to communicate that to people through art,” he said. “And hopefully they listen to the songs and learn something about God they’ve never seen before.”
Hillsong United released its first studio album in 2007 and has won a Grammy (2018, What A Beautiful Name), American Music Award (2016 for Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist) and 10 Dove Awards (including twice for Worship Album of the Year).
Know You Will tackles a deep subject but was partially birthed in a comical incident involving co-writer Joel Houston, Hastings said. Houston was practicing his golf swing in the studio when a ball slammed into a fire extinguisher, flooding the studio with its residue. “As they were waiting for” the mess to be cleaned up,” Hastings said, Houston and co-writer Michael Fatkin “wrote the chorus.” Hastings added his part to the song later. The song indeed includes a reference to a flood. (“When I see a flood, You see a promise.”)
Hastings’ first solo album is scheduled to be released Nov. 4. It includes 25 tracks. He remains a member of Hillsong United.
“It’s been a lot of work. It’s been a really big couple of years,” he said. “But I’m really proud of it. I feel like I got to share things in there that I probably otherwise wouldn’t be able to share within United. … I feel really honored to get to do both and I’m trying my best to juggle it. I’ve got a very gracious family.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jason Kempin/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.