(Photo: Elevation Church)
Elevation Church financial leaders revealed their expansion plans to their congregation on Sunday, saying that they plan to build two additional campuses in Charlotte's most affluent neighborhoods within the next two years.
The expansion would increase the church's multisite campuses from eight to 10 with a proposed facility set to open in late 2014 in Lake Norman, and another in Ballantyne by 2015.
During a video shown throughout Elevation's several locations, Chunks Corbett, the church's chief financial officer, said each project will cost over $10 million and while those facilities are on the forefront of Elevation's expansion, Corbett implied the church is already thinking about additional projects.
"The key to expansion is always being ready for the next project," said Corbett, according to the Charlotte Observer. "And to do that, you've got to be looking at every option in the city. The Lake Norman project is something we've been looking at for over four years. But we're always trying to stay one project ahead."
He added, "The vision's always bigger than the bank account. Currently, though, we're in a good spot, going into the first of the year."
According to Corbett, Elevation has been financially prepared for the two facilities since last year when they raised over $8 million during a fundraising campaign. He also said the projects will not place a major economic strain on the church as they just finished paying off a $9 million loan for their Blakeney campus. However, after the Lake Norman site is complete, Elevation will be $3 million in debt.
According to a 2012 Annual Report, both facilities will seat over 1,200 people and will have enough acres for projected additions. The Ballantyne location will eventually include Elevation's future office headquarters.
Corbett also spoke about the construction of Pastor Steven Furtick's 16,000-square-foot house, which the pastor is paying with advance money he earned from books he has written and will write.
Furtick's finances have also been the focus of national media recently, which have questioned Furtick's use of church funds. However, the annual report reveals that Elevation gave away $2.5 million to local and international community outreach partners, which accounted for 12 percent of the church's incoming funds during 2012. Since the church's inception seven years ago, a total of over $7 million has been donated to funding outreach efforts.
The contemporary church, which has some 14,000 members, started with seven families from Shelby, N.C., and has grown dramatically over the years, ranking as the second-fastest-growing church in America from 2008 to 2011.