A fast-growing multisite megachurch in North Carolina has moved into a new high school facility to conduct worship services.
Elevation Church, founded in 2006 and presently boasting an estimated 10,000 regular attendance, began holding worship services last month at Forestview High School in Gaston County.
"Our vision is to see people far from God raised to life in Christ. And we know that applies to people everywhere," said Ken Hester, pastor of the new campus, in an interview with the Gaston Gazette.
Forestview High is one of seven campuses Elevation oversees. The others are found in the cities of Charlotte and Matthews. The seventh campus is located out of state in Rock Hill, S.C.
Founded and led by Pastor Steve Furtick, Elevation Church began with a single campus at Providence High School in Charlotte in 2006 with about 120 regular attendees.
Elevation focuses mainly on contemporary Christian worship, but holds to a conservative theology. It extensively uses technology, such as streaming video and social media, during services and to evangelize.
By November 2010, the church had added three additional campuses so as to cope with its growing number of worshippers. In 2011, another two campuses were added to Elevation. Pastor Frank Bealer, head of the Rock Hill campus, expressed in a statement his excitement over Elevation's growth into that community.
"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,'" said Bealer.
"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."
Elevation Church, however, has not escaped the occasional controversy. In January, the church was accused by an apologist and blogger of censoring a Reformed evangelical pastor Matt Chandler's sermon during a multiday revival event.
Chris Rosebrough, blogger and host of Fighting for the Faith, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that Chandler's sermon was never rebroadcast afterwards like other speakers' talks had been.
Rosebrough alleged that the censorship was over the theological differences between Elevation head pastor Furtick and Chandler.
Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, who also preached at the revival event, came to the defense of Elevation over the alleged censorship. Chandler's sermon was rebroadcast the next day.
Elevation Church did not return comment to The Christian Post by press time.