Why Hillsong United sing to the world
With the release of Let Hope Rise, Taya Smith reveals its more than songs, stadiums and stardom
“Worship, to me, is a heart after God,” says Taya Smith, lead vocalist of Hillsong United. “And that means your whole entire life. We should be worshipping him in how we treat people who cut us off in traffic, and in the person who [serves us] at the supermarket.
“I hope to continue to learn to worship God for a long time.”
“We should worship God in every facet of our life. And I say that convicting myself as well,” says Taya, “cause I’m human and there’s definitely times when I probably am not worshipping God and need grace.”
Taya and the whole Hillsong United crew are the subject of a movie being released today, Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, which chronicles the humble origins of the now global music ministry of Hillsong Church. If she is affected by being a global superstar, it doesn’t show.
“I’m very normal,” says Taya. “I live in a house with my sisters. They’d say I’m very normal.”
“I’m just a local Sydney girl, that is part of a local church planted here in Sydney and I worship God hopefully not just on a platform, but with my life.
“Some of notoriety that’s come over the last couple of years has definitely been surprising and probably shocked all of us in [Hillsong] United, but if God is going to reach people in the cinema – it’s crazy, I never expected it – but it’s amazing that I get to be a part of it and I’m going to do my part in whatever it looks like.”
Growing up in Lismore, in northern NSW, Taya says that she has always loved music. When she was three years old, she would run around the house making up songs and singing – and she’s never stopped singing and finding joy in music.
She grew up in a church-going family and gave her heart to Jesus when she was five years old, but by the time she was a teenager her family had stopped going to church. When she was about 16, she and her sister decided that they wanted to be in church, so they chose a local church in Lismore – one with a youth pastor and a youth ministry.
“I had never been part of [a youth ministry]. My mind was blown, I understood what he was saying. For me, to be able to read the Bible and understand it was huge. It was a love letter written for me,” says Taya.
The truth of God’s love for her is buried deep in Taya’s heart, and she quotes Proverbs 4:23 – ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it’ when she speaks about what it means for her to worship God.
“When I’m on platform, that is an overflow of that secret place with God,” says Taya.
“I feel like we learn deeper worship every day that we walk with God, and I hope to continue to learn to worship God for a long time.”