Tiffany Hammer with Elevation Worship
It was only a few years ago that Tiffany Hammer, ’17, stood on the stage in Bush Chapel to lead Southeastern’s student body in worship. Now, she’s leading worship full time at the Uptown campus of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Lessons in Worship Leading
It was during her time at Southeastern that Tiffany was really able to discover what she wanted to do in ministry.
“I always knew I wanted to do something with ministry, but it was through my experiences at Southeastern that I gained confidence in that calling,” said Tiffany. “It was over time that God opened my heart to leading worship.”
In 2017, Tiffany graduated with a degree in practical ministries. Over the course of her four years at Southeastern, she was an integral member of SEU Worship. The experiences and life lessons she gained during that time shaped her for what she’s doing now.
“Not only did I learn so much about the songwriting process, but my SEU Worship community highlighted certain gifts they saw within me that I was able to grow while I was there,” Tiffany said. “I can now help my own team members at Elevation in that same way.”
Elevation is a multi-site church founded and pastored by Steven Furtick. It is also home to Elevation Worship, a well-known contemporary worship music band.
After graduation, Tiffany dove headfirst into a six-month apprenticeship program at Elevation Church. She experienced all they had to offer in the form of classes, mentors, and culture. When she completed the program, Tiffany was recruited as the full-time worship leader for the church’s Uptown campus, a vastly diverse congregation at the heart of Charlotte.
“I think this is the coolest picture of what heaven will be like,” said Tiffany.
Tiffany leads the worship experiences every Sunday morning and Wednesday night, which involves coordinating, scheduling, and programming the rehearsals and services. Recently, Tiffany has been able to play a part in an exciting project: the launch of the new youth worship group, Elevation Rhythm. Not only has she been contributing a lot of songwriting to this new group, but she’s also been devoting a lot of attention to the main Elevation Worship group.
Writing for At Midnight
Elevation Worship’s latest release was an EP titled At Midnight, and it has been circulating music streaming platforms since August of 2019. On Spotify specifically, they’ve been able to attract more than 2.7 million monthly listeners.
Tiffany was able to act as a contributing writer for two of the songs off the recent EP, “With You” and “It Is So.” Each of these songs has gained around 3 million views on YouTube. Originally, “With You” was released in April as a single led by Tiffany, but it did so well that the band decided to record a live version for the EP.
Tiffany and two other members of the group wrote “With You” in May of 2018. “It’s the craziest, most humbling experience to be able to see the song from its very first stages all the way through to an album recording,” said Tiffany. “When we were first writing ‘With You,’ we just asked God what the church needed to sing, and then the song came together naturally.”
Despite all of the excitement of the amassing popularity, Tiffany stays grounded with a humbling perspective.
“It’s so cool to have a song out, but it’s genuinely only fulfilling when you hear someone talk about how much it’s impacted their life,” said Tiffany. “I don’t think there’s another feeling that could compare to knowing someone’s life is being impacted by something that you’re giving your life to.”
Life Beyond Songwriting
Outside of songwriting, the typical day-to-day hustle usually keeps Tiffany pretty busy throughout the week.
“My life every day is literally so different — our church moves really fast,” said Tiffany.
Usually on Mondays and Wednesdays, Tiffany can be found working at the Uptown campus location, while on Tuesdays and Thursdays she could be doing anything from studio writing to recording. Friday is her day off and used as a Sabbath or time of rest, as Sunday is a whole day dedicated to being at church.
She also expressed the challenge that can come along with working in ministry full time. “It can be an interesting dynamic. You can do His work without knowing Him,” said Tiffany. “I learned to be sure not to let that work replace my own growth with God.”
When she’s not at Elevation, Tiffany loves to spend time exploring and finding new coffee shops or restaurants to go to in her area. She also enjoys visiting any sort of lake or beach where she can cool off, relax, and decompress from the week.
More recently, Tiffany has been presented with many different opportunities to travel between various performances, but through that, she recognizes the unique privilege and value of being planted on a specific campus.
“I think there’s something special in just getting back to the basics and building God’s church from the ground up,” said Tiffany.
Through this season in particular, God has been showing her new things and spaces where she can grow. “Lately I’ve been learning how to cultivate the fruit of the spirit,” Tiffany said. “I’ve been treating my heart like a garden, paying attention to things that are growing and paying attention to things that are dying.”
She emphasized, “I try to ask myself, ‘What am I letting grow and what am I cutting down?’”
All of these opportunities have led Tiffany her to remember a crucial lesson she had learned while in SEU Worship. Their group pastor, David Cook, emphasized the importance of maintaining priorities throughout the busy and transitional seasons of life.
“He taught me that opportunity is not my reward. Jesus is my reward. The thing that we are to be running toward is not our jobs, what we do, or what we want. It’s Jesus. Nothing else will satisfy,” Tiffany said. “I walk in that daily.”