One of the country's fastest-growing churches opened its fourth campus this past weekend in Charlotte, N.C.
Elevation Blakeney is Elevation Church's second permanent location and part of the church's ongoing strategy to reach the city for Christ.
"The local church is the hope of the world," Pastor Steven Furtick said, borrowing the famous phrase proclaimed by Willow Creek Community Church's Bill Hybels. "We have the opportunity now to advance the Kingdom like we've never had it before."
Constructed in less than a year, the Blakeney campus launched with thousands of people, and live streaming allowed attendees at all four locations to worship as one.
Elevation Church was founded just four years ago after the Furtick family moved out to Charlotte. Their strategy at that time was to simply invite people, according to Holly Furtick, wife of the pastor. Since then, the church has experienced over 8,000 professions of faith and over 2,000 baptisms.
In an earlier interview with 316 Networks, Pastor Furtick said he didn't have any tricks in the bag when he started Elevation.
"This isn't some group of elite navy seal Christians armed with strategy and resource," he said. Rather, he and his small team had decided to just step out in faith and tap into the supernatural power of God.
"That story is as God-inspired as it sounds," Furtick stressed.
The 30-year-old megachurch pastor employs the help of his congregation to reach the city.
In an appeal to Elevation attendees ahead of the Blakeney launch, he urged them to "continue to be a church that reaches out beyond our walls" and to be "more concerned about the people that He's called us to reach than the people that we're trying to keep."
"We need you to step up to share the Good News of Jesus," he emphasized. "Let's ... make Jesus famous."
In addition to Blakeney, Elevation Church currently meets at Providence High School, McGlohon Theatre in Uptown Charlotte, and Matthews – the church's first permanent location.