Already recognized as one of the fastest growing churches in the nation, Elevation Church will launch two more campuses in September.
Elevation’s lead pastor, Steven Furtick, will deliver his weekend messages to the new University and Rock Hill sites in the same method he does now to the existing four campuses – via simulcast technology.
More than 9,000 people currently attend Elevation at all of its Charlotte, N.C.-area campuses combined, say church staff. Elevation leaders call the church's approach "anything but traditional," but believe in a conservative theological position.
The concept for Elevation Church began in 2005, when Furtick along with his family and seven other families sold their homes, quit their jobs and moved to Charlotte. Elevation opened its doors with 121 people in attendance at the Providence High School Atrium on Feb. 5, 2006.
“Six campuses in less than six years is not a testimony to how smart we are, it's a testimony to how great God has been to us," Executive Pastor Chunks Corbett told a local TV station last week.
Responding to critics who say the church is franchising like a shopping mall, Furtick said, “We are trying to franchise – franchise the healing power of Jesus, the glory of God, get it to as many people as possible.”
“We can’t become comfortable or complacent so we got work to do,” he said in his announcement last month.
Pastor Frank Bealer will lead the Rock Hill Campus. Bealer and his wife Jennifer have been the volunteer leaders of the eKidz ministry at Elevation’s Providence location.
“We are excited about what God is doing in Rock Hill. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul states that ‘we gave you not only the Gospel but our lives as well.’ We want to have an immediate impact on the community by investing in the lives of individuals through our incredible worship experiences as well as partnering with some of the best organizations already investing in the people of Rock Hill,” Bealer said.
Pastor Larry Brey, who was one of the original seven families that started the church, will lead the University Campus. Elevation University will meet at Vance High School. Elevation Rock Hills has yet to solidify a location. Bealer and other church members will meet with school officials this week to finalize the use of Northwestern High School as a temporary home.
The churches plan to have two services on Sunday mornings. The other campuses are located in Blakeney, Uptown, Matthews, and Providence H.S.
“Growth at each of our campuses has been overwhelming. Adding these two new campuses is all about adding capacity. We need more seats,” Corbett added.
Elevation Church also announced this week that it has given more than $3.4 million to its local and global outreach partners since 2006. Also, Elevation recently began a partnership with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to give 100,000 hours and $750,000 to serve the residents of the area in an effort called “Operation Orange.” Church leaders at Elevation Rock Hill want to add a local outreach partner from York or Lancaster county.
Elevation Church was named one of the 10 fastest growing churches in America by Outreach Magazine in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Furtick is the author of Sun Stand Still, in which he talks about revolutionary faith and how to approach every experience from a visionary perspective.