Ten years ago, American native Annie Garratt packed her bags and left Seattle to study at the Hillsong International Leader College in Sydney, Australia. Like a thousand other international students that year, she spent her time learning about worship music and ministry at Hillsong Church's training program. Now 32, Garratt had no idea she'd still be in Sydney, much less serving as a creative pastor, overseeing vocalists at all 15 campuses of Hillsong Church.
More than 20,000 people attend Hillsong's churches weekly, and thousands more listen to their award-winning live worship albums. Garratt has led worship with Hillsong Live and Hillsong United, the church's chapel band and youth band, respectively. Most recently, she was part of Hillsong Live's 22nd album, Glorious Ruins, which focuses on the theme that God can take the ruins of one's life and turn it into something beautiful.
TCW caught up with Garratt to hear about the new album, church community, and how she balances ministry and parenting two children under the age of three.
How do you maintain the balance of being a mother and having a busy ministry career?
I just do one thing at a time [laughs]. There is no secret formula. My husband and I are busy, and we don't have a lot of other family here. When we got married, we decided that instead of just rolling with life and letting it happen, we wanted to lay out the things that were important to us. We put boundaries in place. I definitely still have days when I feel overwhelmed, like I can't do it all. I try to remember that whatever God is calling me to do, he will grace me to do it; he'll grace my kids and family. I wake up each day and just try to do one thing at a time. When things do get out of balance, I re-evaluate where I'm at and keep my priorities straight.
Ministering to women seems to be near to your heart. What advice do you have for Christian women trying to live lives pleasing to God?
Comparison can be such a big thing that women face today. There's pressure to fit a certain mold, but you just have to focus on what God is calling you to do. Keep it simple. Focus on what you know God is calling you to do. If I try to imitate someone else in the way they live their life, then I'm going to get off track. Stay your course and trust that God will lead you. What you have to bring to the table is exactly what's needed.
For Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper
- Carolyn Custis James: What It Means to Be a Woman in MinistryeBook Format Available! Author and speaker Carolyn Custis James offers leadership insights for women.