Elevation Church

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Elevation Church
Elevation Ballantyne
CountryUnited States
DenominationSouthern Baptist Convention
Weekly attendance25,000 (2018)[1]
FoundedFebruary 2006 (February 2006)
DivisionBaptist State Convention of North Carolina
Senior pastor(s)Steven & Holly Furtick
Pastor(s)Jonathan Josephs
(Campus Pastor, Ballantyne)
Wade Joye
(Worship Pastor)
Joel Delph
(Campus Pastor, Blakeney)
Brad Hurn
(Campus Pastor, Matthews)
Joshua Blackson
(Operations Pastor)
Jordan Hicks
(Campus Pastors, Rock Hill)
Chetwyn Pete
(Campus Pastor, University City)
Terry Bruce
(Campus Pastor, Uptown)
Jayson Price
(Campus Pastor, Gaston)
Preston Stack
(Campus Pastor, RDU)
Dustin Stradley
(Campus Pastor, Roanoke)
Jeff Bates
(Campus Pastor, Concord)
Chad Hampton
(Campus Pastor, Lake Norman)
Greg Basch
(Campus Pastor, Winston-Salem)
Brennen Gaddis
(Campus Pastor, Asheville)
Matthew Drew (Campus Pastor, Morrisville)
Music group(s)Elevation Worship

Elevation Church is a multi-site church pastored by Steven Furtick, based in Matthews, North Carolina.[2] Elevation has 18 locations, with 9 in the Charlotte area, as well as locations in Raleigh; Greensboro; Winston-Salem; Roanoke Virginia; Melbourne Florida; and the Greater Toronto Area.[3] From 2007 through 2010, Elevation was cited by Outreach Magazine as one of the Top 100 fastest growing churches in the United States.[4]


The church began as a church plant of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. As part of a church planting team, Furtick and seven other families from Christ Covenant Church in Shelby, North Carolina, relocated to Matthews, meeting in Providence High School.[5] On February 5, 2006, the first Sunday worship service, 121 people attended.[6] As of 2018, the church reported a regular attendance of about 26,000 people.[1]


Services are held at nine Charlotte-area locations, as well as locations in Raleigh, North Carolina; Roanoke, Virginia; Melbourne, Florida; the Greater Toronto Area, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Charlotte Area Campuses:

  • Elevation Ballantyne – (broadcast location), a permanent facility with a 1,600-seat auditorium in the Ballantyne neighborhood. [7]
  • Elevation Blakeney – a permanent facility that also serves as a performance arts center available for rental to the community.[8] Former broadcast location.
  • Elevation Concord – meeting at Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord, North Carolina.[9]
  • Elevation Gaston – meeting at Gaston Christian School in Gastonia, North Carolina.
  • Elevation Lake Norman – a permanent facility in a renovated theatre in Cornelius.
  • Elevation Matthews – a permanent facility in Matthews. Former broadcast location that currently serves as the church's headquarters.
  • Elevation Riverwalk – a permanent facility in the Riverwalk development in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
  • Elevation University City – a permanent facility in the University City area of Charlotte.[10]
  • Elevation Uptown – meeting at the McGlohon Theatre at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Uptown Charlotte.

Other Campuses:

  • Elevation Asheville – meeting at Asheville High School in Asheville, North Carolina.
  • Elevation Columbia – meeting at the USC Alumni Center in Columbia, SC.
  • Elevation Greensboro - meeting at Western Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Elevation Melbourne – 4000 Digital Light Drive in Melbourne, FL [11]
  • Elevation Morrisville – meeting at the Goels Conference Center in Morrisville, North Carolina.
  • Elevation Raleigh – meeting at Millbrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina[12]
  • Elevation Roanoke – meeting at the Berglund Center near downtown Roanoke, VA [13]
  • Elevation Toronto – a permanent facility in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.[14]
  • Elevation Winston-Salem, – meeting at The Gateway YWCA in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Elevation Online - Meeting around the world through Facebook, YouTube, and https://elevationchurch.online every week. Multiple experiences on Sundays, and On-Demand the rest of the week

Extension Sites

  • Greenville - Meeting at Eastside High School in Taylors, South Carolina. Transitioning into a campus in Fall 2019

Past Campuses:

  • Elevation Providence (2006, 2006-2016) – Original location. Met at Providence High School in Charlotte, North Carolina and was combined with the Blakeney campus after the Ballantyne location opened in 2016
  • Elevation Weddington – met at Weddington High School in Matthews, North Carolina and was combined with the Blakeney campus after the Ballantyne location opened in 2016
  • Elevation Butler – met at David W. Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina
  • Elevation Levine (2006) – met for about 6 months at the Levine Senior Center in Matthews, North Carolina until the facility could no longer handle the crowd and the church moved back to Providence High School


Since 2006, Elevation Church has given more than $10 million.[15] In 2011, a partnership with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx was established to give 100,000 hours and $750,000 to serve Charlotte people in "The Orange Initiative." In 2012, the church completed The Orange Initiative with over 102,000 hours served.[16]

In 2008, Elevation Church gave out $40,000 to members, in envelopes filled with $5, $20, even $1,000, and told them to spend it kindly on others.[17]

Since 2010, Elevation Church has hosted a week-long outreach called "Love Week."[18] During the church's 2010 "Love Week," Elevation members packed more than 10,000 sandwiches for the homeless, helped single mothers get their cars serviced, donated blood, cleaned up parks and streets, built a soccer field for local ministries and renovated buildings.[19] In 2011, Elevation and over 25 other local churches served more than 34,000 hours in a single week.[18] In 2012, Elevation partnered with 31 other churches to serve 62 outreach organizations for a total of 50,340 hours around the city of Charlotte, N.C.. Elevation also partnered with Presbyterian Hospital-Matthews to help fund enhancements and expansion at a local free clinic.[20]

In 2012, Elevation Church launched an initiative calling for members to mentoring a child for the 2012-2013 school year, with over 1,600 responding.[21] The school outreach program was criticized in local LGBT media.[22]


Elevation Church—and, in particular, senior pastor Steven Furtick—have caused controversy over the church's lack of financial transparency, Furtick's personal wealth, and questionable practices by the church.

In 2013, Furtick and his wife built a large house (8,400 sq. ft, heated, 16,000 sq. ft total) on 19 acres of land in Waxhaw, NC, a suburb of Charlotte.[23] The house and land are valued at just under $1.8 million.[24] Furtick has stated that his home was paid for with money from his book sales and publisher advances, rather than his salary from Elevation Church.[25][26] The church has refused to answer questions about Furtick's salary, his tax-free housing allowance, how much he makes from books and speaking fees,[27] with Elevation only saying that Furtick is generous to the church with the money he receives from writing books, arranges for the church to purchase his books directly from the publisher at the author's discount and keep the money from sales, and that the publisher pays the church to produce marketing materials to promote Furtick's books. Elevation has confirmed that Furtick's salary is set by a Board of Overseers composed of other megachurch pastors, who vote on his salary based on a compensation study conducted by an outside firm, and that Furtick does not vote on his own salary.[28][29] In response to the news report, before his sermon on the weekend of October 27, 2013, Furtick addressed the congregation directly, saying he was sorry if the house and surrounding questions caused them to have difficult conversations with co-workers, friends and neighbors.[27] However, he defended the building of the house, calling it "a gift from God".[30]

Elevation Church has also been criticized over its practice of selecting volunteers who wish to be baptized to do so during so-called "spontaneous baptism" services. During these services, which usually take place during normally scheduled weekend services, the volunteers are asked to sit in prominent areas and instructed to respond immediately to Furtick's calls for volunteers to be baptized with the intent of inspiring genuine spontaneous baptisms.[31]

Charlotte resident Warren Cole Smith, writing about Furtick for World magazine, said "People were willing to excuse his flamboyance and extravagant lifestyle by saying but ‘He’s doing such great work.’ Now, this new controversy calls into serious question the legitimacy of conversion rates the church have been claiming."[32] In response to the initial coverage, Elevation released a statement, which reads in part: "We are confident that those who attend Elevation Church know and understand our mission and vision for reaching people for Jesus Christ. As attendees, they are provided, through weekly teachings, biblical context for everything we do and practice, such as baptism, giving, serving and inviting friends to church."[32]

Local members of the LGBT community and LGBT media have also criticized the church for its general stances on homosexuality. A former attendee who is gay spoke out after the Elevation hosted Ted Haggard, a former evangelical preacher who stepped down from his position after being accused of a gay affair.[33] An unknown gay individual who claims to be a former attendee said in a blog post that Elevation has a "problem with privilege" and that Furtick "leaves LGBTQ people with no answers and no hope, just the sense that something is wrong with them for missing the obvious." [34]


  1. ^ a b Joe Marusak (2013). "Elevation Church eyes old Palace Theater in Cornelius for another location". Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  2. ^ Southern Baptist Convention, Elevation, sbc.net, USA, Retrieved January 14, 2018
  3. ^ "Locations". elevationchurch.org. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
  4. ^ Outreach Magazine (October 8, 2007). "2007 List of Fastest Growing US Churches". Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  5. ^ Norman Jameson (2007). "Growth Burst Elevation Church At The Seams". Archived from the original on 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  6. ^ "Elevation Church | Welcome". Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  7. ^ "Elevation Church of NC Looking Toward Further Expansion".
  8. ^ "www.ElevationBlakeney.com".
  9. ^ "Concord - Elevation Church".
  10. ^ Fox Charlotte (2011). "Elevation Church Grows Again Adding Two New Campuses". Retrieved 2011-08-16.
  11. ^ "Melbourne - Elevation Church".
  12. ^ "Locations - Elevation Church".
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-26. Retrieved 2016-09-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2015-09-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Watson, Stuart. "I-Team: How a pastor built a multi-million dollar home" Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  16. ^ Baxter, Jennifer. "Elevation church keeps growing." Charlotte Observer 04 Sept. 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  17. ^ Funk, Tim. "A Cool Pastor, and a Hot Church". Charlotte Observer, September 14, 2008. Accessed October 15, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Smith, Brittany. "Elevation, 50 NC Churches to Serve Homeless, Elders for LOVE Week". Christian Post. February 10, 2012.
  19. ^ Kwon, Lillian. "Megachurch Floods Charlotte with Jesus' Love", Christian Post, 19 February 2010.
  20. ^ Smith, Brittany. "Megachurch's LOVE Week Inspires Selflessness in Charlotte". Christian Post. February 20, 2012.
  21. ^ "Over 1,600 Elevation Church Volunteers Answer Call to Mentor Students". Christian Post, September 25, 2012. Accessed October 27, 2012.
  22. ^ Comer, Matt (December 21, 2012). "Concerns raised as anti-gay Elevation Church makes inroads at local schools". QNotes. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  23. ^ Funk Tim and David, Maria. "Elevation pastor building big home in Waxhaw". Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  24. ^ "Union County, NC Tax". gis-web.co.union.nc.us. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  25. ^ Hallowell, Billy. "Should Pastors Live in Extravagant Homes? Preacher's 16,000-Sq.-Foot House Sparks Debate". Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  26. ^ Furtick, Steven. "Sermon: Scar Shaper". Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  27. ^ a b Watson, Stuart. "Pastor responds to critics of his $1.7M home". Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  28. ^ Watson, Stuart. "I-Team: How a pastor built a multi-million dollar home". Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  29. ^ Wilson, Jen. "Elevation Church pastor's home draws scrutiny". Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  30. ^ Kuruvilla, Carol (October 30, 2013). "North Carolina pastor says swanky $1.7 million mansion is a 'gift from God'". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  31. ^ "How Elevation Church, Pastor Furtick produce 'spontaneous' baptisms". NBC Charlottte. February 20, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  32. ^ a b Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (February 24, 2014). "Megachurch pastor Steven Furtick's 'spontaneous baptisms' not so spontaneous". Religion News Service. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  33. ^ Comer, Matt (May 2, 2009). "Disgraced pastor Ted Haggard and wife speak at popular Charlotte church". QNotes. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  34. ^ Lovegrove, Stephen (September 26, 2014). "The problem of privilege at Elevation Church". QNotes. Retrieved September 30, 2014.

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