World-renowned Australian Christian rock group Hillsong United has rocketed up the U.S. charts with their newest album release All of the Above, debuting at the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Top Christian/Gospel Albums.
In addition to Billboard, the group's eighth CD and first studio recording is also No. 1 on iTunes' chart of Christian music digital album sales, No. 1 on the Nielsen Christian SoundScan chart, and has moved to No. 60 on the Billboard Top 200.
The band's success comes largely due to their youth outreach and creating music that both inspires listeners to something greater while at the same time offering contemporary worship that fits the generation.
"One of the strengths of our church is the way the youth are embraced and encouraged to be a part of all that is happening," explained Joel Houston, the group leader, in a statement. "It's what makes United distinctive. We're not just a band. The very nature of who we are and what we do is inclusive. It's a discipling model. Everything we (the current band) do is because someone gave us the opportunity."
All of the Above was released on May 22 and followed a number of concert appearances while the band was on its North American tour the last two months.
The band kicked off the series of performances by performing as the headlining act at this year's Battle Cry event in Detroit on Apr. 13, which brought in thousands of youth to hear the gospel. The band's youth focus was a strong match for the event.
"Our focus is to build our church, to keep reaching people who need to know Christ," said Phil Dooley, youth pastor of Hillsong Church, in a statement. "We'll do that every way we know how and with every resource available to us. In the process we need to invest into the next generation and equip them to take what we're doing even further. Ultimately, it all comes back to loving God and loving others. When you release that vision into the hands of young people, they catch it and see how they can fit in."
The band is currently in Canada performing along the tour, but they will return to the states on June 5 to hold four more concerts in Jackson, N.J., Gainesville, Ga., Houston, Texas, and Tacoma, Wash.
Alongside the concerts and new album, the Australian Christian rockers have also set up "The I Heart Revolution" campaign. In it, they encourage youth to create a revolution for God's love and to make a lasting impact in the world. The band members have expressed how today's love has been "watered down," but everyone can serve as an ultimate example for the greatest love - that from God.
"Love God, love people, that's it. That's the revolution," states the band in The I Heart Revolution website. "Revolutionary I know … but if we understand what that means, if we get it, if we establish in our thinking how that looks and we start living it, we will change the world."
On the web: The I Heart Revolution website.