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Interview: Worship Leader Andrea Hamilton

Andrea Hamilton is a songwriter, musician, and worship leader in Southern California. Recently, Andrea talked to Worship Links about balancing friendship and leadership, worshipping in the hard times, and the worst time to get hiccups.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for us. It’s truly appreciated! The first question is an easy one. Tell us a little bit about yourself in five sentences.

Well, I’m a singer/songwriter/worship leader that started at 15 (and am now 30). I’m also the worship director at a church in Southern California called Inland Hills Church, which is the best place ever.

How did you get started in worship ministry?

I grew up in Kansas City and was a part of a couple indie gospel bands that toured the midwest. I learned about worship-leading from my band-mates and still keep in touch with them.

What’s your basic process for planning a service or worship set?

We have a list of our current song rotation for every venue, so I usually start by learning what the message and service will be about, and craft a set from the list, hopefully landing on some relevant and energetic arrangements of songs that fit the vibe of the day. 🙂 I’ve been trying to incorporate more hymns and find fresh versions of them that still stick with the original melody.

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Desert Island Worship Mix: You’re trapped on a desert island, and for reasons too ridiculous to explain, you can only have one CD with five worship songs on it. What are they?

That is a super hard question! But if I had at least one by Israel Houghton, Hillsong United, Jesus Culture, Tye Tribbett, and Bryan and Katie, I’d survive. 🙂

What have you found are some of your greatest challenges in managing a worship team? How do you handle the balance between being a musician and being a manager?

It’s a good challenge to have, but I am really close to a lot of our worshippers at church. They’re amazing people that I learn and grow around, so sometimes it’s hard to balance being people’s friend and being their leader. I’ve had to find ways to gently remind people of my responsibilities and role as director, but still value their input and candidness. I love having a job where I get to be organized and managerial, and also creative and musical. I’m naturally a balance of both. At first it was hard to carve out time to create/write/be right-brained in a busy office environment, but I’ve started to treat those planned times like meetings with God – I ask Him to help me write and explore, and that gives me the focus I need to stay musical in the midst of never-ending to-do lists. 🙂

What scriptures speak to you the most about worship?

I see a special beauty in worshipping during hard times. I think it’s a beautiful offering, and like Bill Johnson says, an offering that we won’t be able to make once we’re in Heaven. This life is our chance to worship in the midst of the storm.

1 Thes 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances

Ps 103:2-5 Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so your youth is renewed like the eagles…

I also love Revelation 1:10-18 – a description of Christ from a vision that John had. I can’t help but worship the Lord when I read this little glimpse of how glorious He is. 🙂

If you could give one piece of advice to up and coming worship leaders, what would it be? Conversely, what’s some advice you wish you’d received earlier on?

I would encourage any worship leader to SPEND ALONE TIME WITH JESUS. Because we always want to serve our people out of the overflow of one-on-one worship before God. And the more you’re tuned in to Him, the more you can lead the way He wants, and help the people you’re singing with. 🙂 One piece of advice I wish I’d received early on is – watch out for false humility.

What do you think worship in the church will look like in ten years?

What a great question. 🙂 I would guess – and hope! – that there will be even more excellence in musical worship as we continue to pursue the idea of offering our best to God, and as the Church continues to grow and raise up artists. I also think there will be a greater and greater emphasis on genuineness and honesty in the style of worship as we move out of some of the hype and showy-ness. People are really beginning to smell fake from a mile away.

Any new worship artists on your radar at the moment?

I recently got to worship with Corey Voss, great new worship leader out of Nashville – very glad I’ve heard of him now!

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What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done while leading worship (that you’re willing to share)?

I was sharing a few special songs as a guest artist at a big Calvary Chapel here in So Cal, and got the hiccups right before I went on stage! They were the kind where you don’t know when it’s coming, so during the first song I hiccuped into the mic a few solid times – people were chuckling. So, I made a joke about knowing this crowd would forgive me, and thank goodness the hiccups went away before my more “serious” second tune!

Thanks again for answering our questions. If people want to find you online, what’s the best way?

You can visit HopefulPop.com to hear more about my pop and worship music 🙂
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