Your Neighbor: Meet Noah Elliott
Published 12:05 am Thursday, April 6, 2023
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Noah Elliott was born and raised in Chillicothe, Ohio. The middle child of three, life was never dull in the Elliott home. Having a mother who was a music teacher and an older sister who took music lessons, the home was always full of artistic talents. “My older sister, Tori, was classically trained, and I would hear her practicing often. It interested me greatly, and I really picked it up around 12 years old just from listening to her. That was the beginning of when music became very important to me,” Elliott said. The self-taught musician learned how to play both the guitar and piano. Elliott also dabbled in the banjo and mandolin.
“Around the same time, I discovered music, I also had a real breakthrough with my relationship with the Lord. My father had always led worship at our church growing up, and my mom had led the choir. However, I began going to youth group classes on Wednesdays, and that was the first time I truly felt the presence of the Lord. It was so powerful when it happened, I wept that night,” Elliott said. “That experience changed my life. My youth pastor, Ben Thompson, played such an important role in my journey. To this day, he still checks in when I go back home to see my family and friends.”
Elliott also began to combine his passion for music and love for God by playing in a Christian band. “We had pretty good success for a high school band,” Elliott said. “We competed in national competitions and had some really cool opportunities.” Elliott’s band even earned first place in a national competition. “Eddie James invited us to play at several conferences, which was a great experience for us too,” Elliott said.
After Elliott graduated from high school, he pondered his next steps. “I had applied to college because I knew that was what you were supposed to do. However, something kept pulling me to ministry and music. When Tori told me about an opening at Hillsdale Church where she was working, I immediately got in my car to interview. I was offered the part-time position to work with their youth program in 2016 and was so excited. Within three years, it became a full-time position as the director of youth and adult ministries,” Elliott said. “I knew that I wanted to provide the same kind of mentorship that Ben had done for me with the youth.”
Elliott has seen the program grow exponentially. “On average we had about 10-15 kids on our Wednesday nights pre-COVID-19, now it’s closer to 50-70. One way we were able to stay connected with our youth through COVID-19 was by enhancing our social media presence. And when we actually meet on Wednesdays, we usually start by having refreshments for a bit in our main sanctuary. The kids can play sports or board games because it’s also a gymnasium. Then we play icebreaker games and transition into worship. What we’ve been able to do is break up into smaller groups too with the high schoolers. By having those smaller sessions, it really seems to help them focus on what’s going on in their life and how to process the message. Beth Tysinger has been leading the middle school kids in worship and has been such a superhuman to them. She has done amazing things for our middle school-aged kids. We’re hoping to be able to break out into smaller groups with that age group as well,” Elliott said.
Elliott has also found another way to energize the youth by building a band. “I’ve been teaching kids with all backgrounds and levels. Some of the kids have never picked up a musical instrument, and some have been playing for a while. Connecting with my spirituality and love for music was critical for me, and I like passing it on to them too. We are currently recording a song that one of the youth members wrote that I am excited to release on Spotify and Apple Music. Because I am also a studio musician, it’s been fun to explore that side with the youth too. They’ve shown quite an interest in it,” Elliott said. “It’s not your traditional worship band. It’s important that even when running sound to remember how we can get them plugged in so they know they have a place that they can belong. Everyone has a talent and gift to share and contribute.”
Elliott also makes time to play in his own band. “Tori and I are in a band together, and I have a couple of other bands I enjoy playing for,” Elliott said. “I also get to sing and play at church too.” Elliott’s debut album, “The Light We Belong In” was released in 2020. “It’s about my processing the move to North Carolina and leaving behind my family and friends. It was a big step for me to leave, but I feel so lucky because I’m in such a sweet place,” Elliott said.
Elliott’s leap of faith also led him to meeting his future wife, Kelsey. “She had participated in the 18 Inch Journey discipleship ministry school at the same time as my sister. They met first, and then we met and became really good friends too. There was never any awkward dating part because we got to be so close as friends. Three years later, I realized I had fallen in love,” Elliott said with a smile. “We got married in 2021 at the Brookstown Inn.”
With many positive beginnings from his move to pursue music and ministry, Elliott is excited that it’s not slowing down. “I just got back from a weekend retreat geared towards middle and high school students professing their commitment to Jesus. It allows them to ask questions and really think through all the questions they’ve wondered about. We also discuss the Trinity, baptism and communion. And in June, we will go on our mission trip to aid those in need in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We’ve started a fundraiser for it and are excited to be at the opening day (April 29) of the Clemmons Farmer Market. We will be there selling cookies and lemonade to promote our mission trip from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Jerry Long YMCA,” Elliott said. “There are so many ways to impact our community. My goal is to help bring in as many volunteers as possible, so that with the youth program, these kids really know they matter because they do.”