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Spontaneous Worship - Amanda Cook

How can you balance having a personal moment with God and being sensitive to the room while leading worship? In this interview video, Amanda Lindsey shares about her process in spontaneous worship moments discuss a spontaneous moment she led during Bethel Music Worship School.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

Course Overview

Unit 1
Unit 1 - Brian & Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Josh Baldwin
Unit 2
Unit 2 - Amanda Cook, Cory Asbury, Kristene DiMarco
Unit 3
Unit 3 - Jonathan Helser, Kalley Heiligenthal, The McClures
Unit 4
Unit 4 - Hunter Thompson, Sean Feucht, Steffany Gretzinger


How does one follow and lead moments in the sweet presence of God? How does one balance having a personal moment with God and being sensitive to the room? In this interview video, Amanda Lindsey shares about her process in spontaneous worship moments and some in-depth conversation about some spontaneous moments from a few WorshipU worship sets. 


Amanda’s process in spontaneous worship moments -Time: 0:29-8:13


  • “Where do you get the langue and the melodies for like these moments that you go into?” “There are things that just season over time, over decades of time that just suddenly come to the surface. ...So I think, yea, the language is just forged over years and learning new ways of communicating different concepts or different ideas about the nature of God.”

  • “In these moments, and this probably ties into your writing process as well, do you see in lyrics or do you see in picture?” “Definitely more of a visual thinker. Definitely more about visualization or imagination.” Amanda was just talking about this with a friend the other day. They were talking about how when they lead worship they end up thinking thoughts about God. Personalities and the aspect that we all hear and experience God uniquely come into play here. For Amanda, she felt that God was giving her language for something that she had felt for a while. It firsts starts as a visual thought and then the language tries to follow it up and paint a picture. It's the same for when Amanda songwriters. “ feels like a funnel of thoughts. And like kinda just catching the general feel and idea of a visual, of a picture and then bringing it to an acute kind of focus and then a response from that to me is like natural.” 

  • “Do melodies just, do you just walk around all day just oozing melody, like pouring out of you like the rivers of Algenon? What just infuses you with so many just beautiful like flowy melodies?” Amanda likes to listen to instrumental music and this gives her a space to merge music, melody, and lyrics, and to float over the music.


A Moment from a worship set that Josh Baldwin was interviewed about  -Time: 8:14-11:03


  • “This was a moment we interviewed him about, and you were co-leading with him, and I just real quick wanted to get your take on this cause he felt like you actually had something, and then he just kinda “hijacked” it.” 

  • In the video it was right after the song “Came to my Rescue” and Amanda was singing a little bit away from the mic and then Josh started singing something. “But you were clearly starting to sing out at least. And then he comes in. Did you have something there?” “I’m going to be honest, no.” What Amanda felt in the moment was, “that people were singing out and you know, to me, worship is connection, it’s a communal thing. So however we can erase the line between like singing and responding, leading, and following like to me it’s the, it’s the point is when people start like having their own moments so I find myself wanting to sing along with them.” 


A Spontaneous Moment with Amanda  -Time: 11:04-35:26


  • This video was from a WorshipU conference and Amanda was leading worship with Cory Asbury who had just finished “Reckless Love”. After the song ended Amanda went over to the piano and started to play.

  • In the first minute or so of this moment, Amanda was simply just playing the piano without singing. At this moment Amanda remembers that every time she sits down at the piano she doesn’t really know what to do and so it’s as if the piano is leading her. “Whenever I sit down at the piano it's like it holds like such a memory field for me of encounters with God. ...I feel like there’s no place that can go wrong with that. It’s like, even if we stopped it there and I just played a few notes it just feels like every note holds like a thousand memories and moments of goodness and of like returning and of yah, unlocking, unbinding, unwinding things for me...every time I sit down it’s just kinda I want to explore and I kinda want to let it speak to me before I assume I know what, where to go next. So I can honestly say I didn’t really know at that point it was more like let’s sit down and just return to a place that feels like home, take a breath and then see what happens.” “Is that, that kinda like nostalgic taking back feeling what inspired the lyric or was the lyric of “You’re giving us new memory” kinda birthed out of something in the room?” “I think it was, well, actually let’s hit play. I think it will come to me…” The video starts to play again and Amanda continues to sing. She says the word “innocence” and immediately following a baby makes a sound. That was perfect timing giving an example of innocence. Amanda had been reading a lot of books about the narrative of shame and she has learned that any reading or breakthrough comes out in bits in pieces like what occurred in the worship video. “I think for me, honestly, in moments like this it comes more as “maybe this will connect, maybe this will help.” Like honestly … I didn’t necessarily have this like very clear idea of shame ending except that in my life I was experiencing the start of like fruit of that, of what happens if, like it’s not just a perspective switch it’s like a deeper understanding of the innocence that we all had in our unconscious state you know. And so I find myself like thinking those thoughts, thinking upon God, thinking about “how good are You” and then I sit down at the piano and play a little bit and it feels like maybe this will connect like maybe this will help. It always feels like maybe this will help, maybe this will connect, I hope this connects kind of thing.” Coming out of “Reckless Love” created tender place where exploration of the parenting aspect of God can take place. “When you are leading a room of a thousand people in a moment what is that tension between like you having a personal moment with God of just like processing verses like being aware that there is a room that’s still trying to track with you? So how do you kinda like check your heart and your mind and your spirit on that between like is that just for me or is this actually for the room or who cares?” “I think it's a dance. I think if you take the humanity out of it we actually miss out on the vulnerability that leads to intimacy. But in the same sentence, I think what, I think there’s brokenness in humanity and then there’s ego and sometimes we can get those actually mixed up; we can think that we’re really pias and really on the right track and it’s actually wrapping itself around our ego...I think it's more of a posture of the heart.” Ego is not the point. Amanda used one of the cellists at the Royal Wedding as an example of a glorious moment of creating a space for what was going to happen. 

  • The video continues and Amanda transitions into a little bit different piano arrangement. “When do you know [to transition from a moment into the next]?” “That is most often a question for me.” Sometimes Amanda’s anxiety leads the moment and she is working on resting, trusting, and letting peace lead her more than the anxiety of trying to get things right. Lean on friends who can feel what’s going on.  

  • The video continues and Amanda goes into the song “Pieces”. Fast forwarded to closer to the end and leads another spontaneous moment. “Tell us about that line.” “I love the thought of Immanuel, of Yahweh, of the ever-present presence of God, of His omnipotence and it’s just the connection of every breath being a grace gift and a delight that’s kinda the foundation of it I guess…” “It’s a prayer, a thought, a desire, a hope, a wish for that connection to happen of You’ve been here the whole time, You will always be here, You can’t remove yourself cause I actually exist, I exist off of the presence of God.” 

  • “Are you giving any ques to the band on a practical level at all through any of this?” They had rehearsed pieces to build confidence in the band. In rehearsal, they had felt the life on a chord progression and decided to play it in the set and see where it went. The strings were so intuitive that they followed Amanda in whatever move she made. They didn’t practice all of the different flowing moments.