He has been co-pastor at Hillsong NYC since 2010. 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 Senior Pastors and founders 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. 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.
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, including Korean and German. His music has been featured on Hillsong albums that have quickly risen on both the Australian and American Christian music charts. In March 2007, Hillsong United's eighth album All of the Above debuted at No. 6 on the ARIA charts. Joel Houston has been the Creative Director of Hillsong since 2008. Joel is currently co-Pastor of Hillsong NYC with Carl Lentz.