Fifteen years ago, Elias Dummer helped to launch an inter-church movement of students, shaping his hometown of Hamilton and birthing a band that would go on to captivate audiences worldwide: The City Harmonic. As the voice and writer behind songs like “Manifesto” and “Holy (Wedding Day),” Elias worked alongside his band to bring churches together in unity across the North American continent, much like they did in their town, Hamilton. After the band retired in 2017, he poured his energy into co-planting a church in his own neighborhood.
Elias explains: “The Great Commission is to make disciples. But I believe that we often settle for a partial understanding of discipleship—and it hurts. We’re called to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Unfortunately, conversations around discipleship often focus on believing correct things about
God. But that’s easily accomplished without love. Truth is more than facts alone.”
“So I believe that disciples worship, and worship disciples,” says Elias. “All throughout Scripture, people who see God respond in the only reasonable way: worship! So if we’re seeing and following Jesus—if we’re disciples—we worship Jesus. What’s more, I believe that the rhythms of worship, infused with the working of the Holy Spirit, are powerful ways for us to train our heart, soul, mind, and strength to love God. Worship and discipleship are a beautifully reciprocal thing. So if we’re serious about discipleship we must be serious about worship, and vice versa. One can’t exist without the other.”
Still, Elias wrestled with questions of identity and success in the wake of leaving his band and was troubled that the county his church serves is home to both extremely high incomes and the second-highest teen suicide rate in the state.
“I had this conversation with the youth pastor at our church,” Elias says. “There’s all this pressure to achieve in our culture. It’s really tempting to tangle our identity up with our achievement, status, or social circle. Meanwhile, we’re also told to believe, ‘I am enough.’ On the surface, it looks hypocritical, but it’s not. They’re just different ways of saying: ‘You’re self-sufficient. You don’t need help. You can do it on your own.’ It’s a recipe for failure and a lie. We can’t do any of this on our own. We need each other, and most of all, we need Jesus.”
So he wrote the song “Enough” with friends as a prayer for the Church to sing—a prayer Elias knew he needed to pray, too. He recorded and released his debut album as a solo artist, a collection of bold and thoughtful worship songs entitled “The Work (Vol 1).” The album explores the interwoven relationship between discipleship and grace, titled after the notion that the “work” of “liturgy”—often translated as “the work of the people”—is an act of worshipful submission to God’s gift of grace. Elias lives with his wife and five children near Nashville, where he writes for other artists (Newsong, Phil Joel, Big Daddy Weave, Building 429, Todd Smith) and is a contributing writer to the Huffington Post, ChurchLeaders.com, and Worship Leader Magazine. He serves as Director of Worship in a church he helped plant, leading and discipling other worship leaders.
GET FREE RESOURCES FOR YOUR STUDENT MINISTRY
Sign up for our need2know emails crammed full of free Bible studies, worship resources, ideas, links, and more.