Elevation Church - Charlotte, NC

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by GodisGreat, May 23, 2012.

  1. GodisGreat

    GodisGreat
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    My son visited Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC with some of his friends so I visited one of their campuses on Sunday morning to check it out. The remote campus is very well organized and the pastor's sermon was fine though I am not especially fond of watching it on a big screen. I have little knowledge of the church except that its growth rate is incredible. Its statement of beliefs is sound.

    Is there anyone here with first-hand knowledge or experience in this church?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Salty

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    I have never been there, so I cant directly answer your question, but any "church" that does not have an on-campus pastor is not a true local church.
     
  3. GodisGreat

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    They absolutely do have a full-time campus pastor, and a production person, and part-time pastor for children. It is only the sermon message that is on the screens. Campus pastor makes announcements in person, worship music is in person, and the sermon message is usually delivered by Steven Furtick via streaming video to large screens. The production is top rate so it is not distracting or anything. I do understand that some people will not like it but it is not wrong.

    I do wonder if the members view each other as family.
     
  4. ktn4eg

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    If I were ever in the Charlotte area again [Salty will probably be there for the Dumbacratic Convention this summer! :smilewinkgrin:], I'd probably check out out the Northside BC instead.
     
  5. Baptist4life

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    My son and his wife attend a "satellite" Elevation church which meets at a local high school on Sundays. They are running about 125-150 in attendance. I have listened to the pastor, on videos, and have looked at their beliefs, which I can't find any fault with. My son was raised in an independent Baptist church and is well grounded in the faith, so he knows when he hears something not Scriptural. The only "knock' I would have is that the services seem to be geared more for younger Christians, music style, dress, etc.


    They are looking for an "onsite" pastor as we speak. That is the goal of the Elevation church. They start with the video sermons, and hope to eventually have their own pastor.
     
  6. Tom Bryant

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    So in countries where a man has 7-8 churches that he does on a circuit, they are not a true local church?
     
  7. GodisGreat

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    Just to be clear, the onsite or campus pastor still does not do the sermons except for very rare occasions. I inquirted and was told there are no plans to ever change that as it is core to their structure. They are sometimes referred to as “the pastor on the ground” who takes care of his campus and does weddings, funerals, training, etc.

    I suppose you are thinking of one of the churches outside of Charlotte that just uses their video but not really an Elevation Church campus. There is only one campus meeting at a school and that is the original campus at Providence High School. They list Josh Blackson as the campus pastor there, and they average about 900 in attendance each Sunday. It is at capacity so there are many more attending the nearby campuses at Matthews and Blakeney where they own the buildings. They have over 10,000 attenders each weekend at all the campuses combined.
     
    #7 GodisGreat, May 24, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2012
  8. preachinjesus

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    it's a good church. Steve Furtick is a really good communicator and the church is really growing, primarily through conversions I believe. They have done a great job of creating a meaningful environment for 20s and 30s to connect with a church.
     
  9. Baptist4life

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    The Elevation church my son attends is in Ohio.
     
  10. GodisGreat

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    Thanks for the opinion preachinjesus. It does seem that much of the bad feelings toward Elevation among other local churches is that over half of their attenders have come from other nearby churches rather than from the unchurched but that is not unusual. From what I have seen, it will attract many youngsters from older churches singing from hymnals.
     
  11. annsni

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    I do not believe that a "video church" is a right model for a local church at all but I do know Furtik is a very good communicator but I still feel that the local church should know their pastor and his family in person and that he be part of that assembly. We were affected by this "model" and were blessed that we are no longer trying to emulate them.
     
  12. GodisGreat

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    There really seems to be a misunderstanding here. While I have not visited any satellite campus, the remote campuses in the Charlotte area all have a full-time campus pastor and at least two part-time pastors. It is only the sermon that is a remote video feed.

    One of my concerns is that they do not have membership. They refer to regular active attenders as participants. I find that confusing. My leg is a member of my body. My shoes are not a member of my body though my shoes participate with my body. There would be no comparison at all between losing a shoe and losing a leg or foot. if I step on a nail (again) and it penetrates my foot, I do not rush to repair the hole in my shoe. I take care of my foot MUCH more that I do my shoes.
     
  13. annsni

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    Yes, and we had the same situation. 11 pastors at our whole church. 3 campuses and each has a campus pastor (one of the 11). 2 of the campuses showed video even though they were begun with their own campus pastors preaching. The video was an added thing that came later and it did not go well. We stopped the video about 5 weeks ago.

    One issue that I have with video is that the pastor is a part of the church body. He should be visible so that the congregation gets to know him and his family and see that he is qualified to be a pastor and lead them. When the campus has the preaching by video, the congregation knows nothing of the man the pastor AND there is no way to go to him after the service to speak to him on what he preached about.

    Another issue is that the pastor who is preaching needs to be sensitive to his congregation in preaching and you cannot do that when it is video. My husband has modified his message to include giving the Gospel when there are new people there (we're a small campus of about 50 people) or seeing that someone is there who has been going through a particular time. Video doesn't do that.
     
  14. GodisGreat

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    I did ask about how to ask Pastor Furtick (the preacher) a question or for clarification, and I was told that all questions go to the campus pastor. That makes sense considering the campus pastor is the one you have a relationship with. It does seem that Furtick is not accessible at all but that may be the case with most mega churches over 10,000. I suspect the apostles were not very accessible either when the Christian church began to grow so quickly.

    He should be visible so that the congregation gets to know him and his family and see that he is qualified to be a pastor and lead them.

    The local campus pastor is there of course but most attenders never meet Steven Furtick. I met a gentleman that had been going there for over 5 years and never met Furtick. I suppose that Furtick would have to be judged on his sermons alone. Likewise, I have not met most of the authors of books that I have read either.


    My husband has modified his message to include giving the Gospel when there are new people there (we're a small campus of about 50 people) or seeing that someone is there who has been going through a particular time.

    In an average Elevation Church service, there are probably more than 80 new people there every week so modifying the message is unnecessary as the pastor assumes a lot of visitors are there.
     
  15. annsni

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    But the apostles didn't pastor a church from afar. When they would speak to the congregation, they would be there in person or else send a letter to encourage the church but not to pastor them.

    But are the authors your pastor? I think it's really sad to be a pastor of a church and not meet those in your congregation. That is not a pastor - that's a celebrity.


    Then is he teaching to the lost or the saved?

    See, when a church gets that large - so large that the pastor cannot pastor the people, then it's time to plant a new church. I completely disagree with the video church model and think that it's not Biblical and in fact disregards a lot of teaching of Scripture.

    I do understand that there are a few churches around the country that do this and they are large and successful - but I seriously wonder just how much more impact they could have had if they had gone ahead and planted churches rather than increased the pastor's celebrity status.
     
    #15 annsni, May 24, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2012
  16. GodisGreat

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    I do understand that there are a few churches around the country that do this and they are large and successful - but I seriously wonder just how much more impact they could have had if they had gone ahead and planted churches rather than increased the pastor's celebrity status.

    I cannot judge the "celebrity status" of a pastor. i just do not know how. I suppose John Piper and Charles Haddon Spurgeon and many others would be celebrities and unable to pastor the people because their churches were too large to knwo the people. Some want one pastor to do everything; however, most larger churches have several pastors instead. I live in the Bible Belt. We have more churches than gas stations. A lot more churches than gas stations. We have many churches that are very small because the preaching is not good at all and there is no effective organization. It would be better if most of those churches combined so they could take advantage of a good preacher. The problem is that they want a preacher that will marry them, bury them, visit them in the hospital, and shake their hands at the door each Sunday. A really good preacher cannot do that because his church will soon outgrow his capacity to be everywhere and know everyone. I suppose that is the real problem - - a shortage of good preachers.

    I visited my mother-n-law's church for Mother's Day. The nice man in the front in the suit called the preacher was absolutely awful. He could not say 4 words without saying ummm. His message was as boring as reading the phone book. It was sad. It is no wonder that church has actually lost attenders in the last four years. This man should be a pastor for funerals, marriage ceremonies, and visiting but NOT preaching. It is simply not his gift.
     
  17. matt wade

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    For someone looking for information on this church, you sure do know a lot about it and come to its defense very quickly.
     
  18. GodisGreat

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    I figured that was coming. I have done my homework on it but really came here looking for information on how it is working inside. For example, they do not have any big group meeting for teenagers. The only time they have together is in their small groups. I wonder if they miss the big gatherings that most churches have.

    I am not surprise that some do not like its size. That is OK but size is not a bad thing at all though some people may prefer smaller churches.
     
  19. SaggyWoman

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    I live in the Charlotte area, and have heard tons about Elevation church. I know that the congregation does a lot for the Charlotte community. I have worked side by side with some of its members.

    I think it has ties to the SBC and the local association here (Metrolina Baptist Association.)

    I went to a service here before Easter at one of the sattelite campuses--it is actually meeting at Spirit square, which is part of the NCPAC (performing arts center) where I often volunteer as a n usher.

    I made a good connection with them and was touched by the service. If I was not connected anywhere or was in transition, I would seriously consider attending Elevation Church.
     
  20. SaggyWoman

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    They do have campus pastors and except for the sermon and maybe the song before the sermon, it is all done in person (it was at least the service I attended.) The song before the sermon is done with the band on site and the one from the campus they are shooting from.

    I am not sure what the difference of sattelite campuses and shooting the face up on the screen. I tend to look at the screen more than I look at the person on the stage.
     

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