A Chat with Mia Fieldes of Hillsong

Mia Fieldes is the Dove Award-nominated writer of Christian worship songs like “Saviour King” and “Beautiful”. She’s known for her involvement as a musician with Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. Mia visited Richmond, BC for a day of workshops and an evening worship event. At 27, she’s vivacious, hilarious, down-to-earth, and an avid Tweeter. Let’s meet her.

Photo by Carmen Bright, Converge Media
Photo by Carmen Bright, Converge Media

Why do you write worship songs?

When I was 5 I got saved in the Salvation Army. At the time no one in my family was a Christian, so I didn’t have anyone teaching me about Jesus outside of Sunday School. But I had songs. I remember singing songs like ‘Jesus Loves Me’, ‘Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam’ and ‘This is the Day’ and those becoming the foundation of my faith. Even though I have been in church now for 23 years and graduated from Bible College, I can honestly say that my theology really hasn’t changed. Those songs had simple, amazing truths that found their way into my heart and made their home there. I have always wanted that for other people. That I’d be able to bring something that helps them to know Jesus, who he is and believe, and songs for a long time have felt like part of my DNA. So why not write?

Do you have a favourite topic or recurring theme?

I think no matter how I start a song out, I have a tendency to lean toward The Cross. It has a way of giving perspective no matter what season I’m in. If you looked through my catalogue of songs you’d see that same theme over and over.

What is one thing no worship leader can be without?

I’d say one thing a worship leader can’t be without is community. It’s amazing how the right people around you can keep you from becoming really full of yourself. Community often offers so much. It’s true ‘if you show me your friends, I’ll show you your future’.

What has God given you a vision for?

Personally, God has given me a vision for understanding. It has a way of disarming legalistic thinking, extending grace and changing perspective.

What is worship, to you?

I think it’s hard to put a frame around worship. We often associate worship with singing songs in the context of a church service but I’d say its more about response. To worship anything is to adore and revere it, so hopefully that looks bigger than Sunday mornings.

Of all the ways we can worship God, what is it about music that stands out so much?

Worship that is in spirit and truth has to be sincere and usually comes from a place of having to be vulnerable. It has a really honest, beautiful quality about it. I think music has a way of creating an atmosphere where people feel safe to drop their defenses, prejudices, distractions and be a little disarmed.

In your lifetime, what do you look forward to happening?

I look forward to growing old and loving Jesus with the same amazing friends by my side. Good friends are worth everything.

What about your other interests? There’s a rumour that you collect things.

You definitely made that up. I am probably the opposite of a collector, mainly because that TV show Hoarders gives me anxiety. I actually enjoy cleaning. Strange, I know, but I do. I’m also interested in people. I love a good conversation.

Who are your role models?

I could list a lot of role models. My friends, for one. They are some of the best men and women I know. But if I had to list a few I’d say these. Darlene Zschech, because she has been such a cheerleader to me. She has a way of seeing the gold in a person sometimes even before they, or anyone else sees. She is one of the most authentic people I know. Nichole Nordeman has also played a big part in my journey as a writer. We’re only friends on twitter but for years she has taught me about Christ and made me love him more through her songs.

Some people are opposed to females being in leadership. What are the challenges of being a female worship leader?

I think some Christians are still opposed to drums in church, so I guess there will always be something people are fighting against. I actually think it’s great to be under authority and think submission actually releases you to do even more. I don’t really face too many legalistic challenges as far as being a worship leader or song writer; I just try to stay aware of not feminizing songs too much. It’s really difficult for men to sing songs that have ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ undertones.

Speed round: respond with the first thing that comes to mind.

Tea or coffee? – Tea with milk
Super Bowl – Going to bed early
Global poverty – Can’t do everything but we can do something
New Zealand – My friend Brooke [Fraser] and the wonder that she is!
Keytar – Bring it back!
Canada – Karalee and Bria – Best Canadians I have in my life
Laundry – Anything to do with cleaning makes me happy
Parting words – See ya later?