Whether packing out an arena of 20,000 screaming fans or encouraging students at a small church camp, the end result is the same--the audience is transformed into a congregation and the stage into an altar of worship. And that’s just the way Georgia-based worship band Unhindered likes it. “This whole thing happened out of a desire for ministry,” explains guitarist/frontman Pat Barrett. “Before there was a band there were a bunch of guys in high school who wanted to see God do something extravagant in their community.”
Of course that doesn’t mean Unhindered is content for anyone to sit down during its set. “We want our music to bring people into an encounter with God,” declares keyboardist and co-frontman Ben Smith. “One of the biggest obstacles to worship is believers who are self-conscious. We want to kick down that wall, so we get the whole crowd on their feet, jumping around. It is amazing to watch people when they really feel free to worship.”
Unhindered began as a friendship between Ben and Pat in high school. They honed their skills in a youth group praise band before finding themselves in demand at events around the region from Fellowship of Christian Athletes gatherings to church camps and evangelistic revival meetings. “We started a Saturday night worship service once a month and kids from all of the neighboring high schools would gather together,” Pat recalls. “It was raw, unhindered, intense - people just going after God. It started growing like crazy, and we began receiving invitations to perform at other events as well.”
College at the University of Georgia proved to intensify the two friends’ original calling to lead people into an unhindered worship experience. J.R. Collins and Christian Paschall, both of whom had played with the band periodically during their high school years, came on board as regular members. During their sophomore year the band met guitarist, Ashley Dasher, who proved to be the missing link that solidified Unhindered’s final lineup.
The band’s growing popularity caught the attention of nationally renowned Teen Mania Ministries, who booked Unhindered for an Acquire the Fire event. The synergy between the band and the ministry was both obvious and intense. “They called us to play at an event in front of 5,000 people,” Ben explains. “It was overwhelming! There was an instant connection with them.
“A few months later they called us up again,” Pat interjects. “They were starting a new worship label that would focus on worship for the next generation. We were really intrigued by that idea.” After much prayer and deliberation, the band began a partnership with the newly formed EE-Taow Records. Since signing with the label, Unhindered has played nearly 150 dates a year including Acquire the Fire events, Battle Cry gatherings, Xtreme conferences, Student Life camps, and local church concerts and camps, building relationships while building up the body of Christ.