Elevation Church, Responding to Critics, and Drowning In The Kiddie Pool

They are actually valuable.
To the ones that say just ignore the critics and only listen to the supporters, I say you will become stale and irrelevant in no time.
But for every truth from a critic there is truth from a supporter.
It is how you see the truth in the critics that will move you towards greatness.
If everyone is agreeing with what you are doing then you are probably not doing it right.
Elevation Church has their share of critics.
When a church grows at the pace that they do jealousy begins to peek out of the most secure.

When The Code Orange Revival began the critics came out in droves.
And I would read their “reviews” (because you can review when God moves?) and see jealousy seeping out of all of them.
I would watch the revival online and watch what God was doing from afar.
Then this weekend I got to lead worship at Elevation, which I do every other month or so, and see what God was doing first hand in the life of that church on the final weekend of the revival.
A few observations.
1. The people calling Elevation shallow would DROWN in the shallowness.
2. The lives I saw changed directly in front of me will be with me forever.
3. It is when a church sits in the confidence of God that they walk as confident as Elevation.
4. The city of Charlotte is literally changed because of the hands and feet of Elevation Church.
5. When we begin to focus on how God is using US as opposed to how God is using another church, the beginning of revival can take place in our lives and in our cities.

No church is perfect.
And the second you find it and show up, you have screwed up the perfection.
God isn’t calling us to all do it the same.
He’s just calling us to do it.
Lets glorify what God is doing in EACH OTHER and try to repair OURSELVES as opposed to glorifying OURSELVES and pointing out flaws in EACH OTHER.
Thank you Elevation for growing in healthy ways and growing people’s lives in even healthier ways.
It’s better that way.


Author loswhit

More posts by loswhit
  • Come on, somebody!

    There’s not a doubt in my mind that God is doing something fantastic, extravagant, and life-changing in that church!

    Thanks for sharing, Los!

  • Candi Shelton


  • Well said. It is easy to play arm chair revivalist. Harder to get out there and DO something.

  • BriJanineg

    Well said! I watched the entire revival from my home in Texas. It was incredible and God used what was happening at Elevation to touch my own situation as well.

  • Marssia

    Gave me the goosebumps!!

  • Brian

    Hi, I’m Brian and I’m a critic, lol. I live in Charlotte and can tell you that Charlotte has not been changed by this church. As a matter of fact, this whole ordeal is pretty similar to something Charlotte experienced not so long ago…a “movement” based around someone with a charismatic personality – it was called PTL. The entire country talked about PTL, lives were “changed” and their number grew. Numbers are never a sign of God’s blessing. Every so often God raises up a leader like Baker or Furtick as a judgment upon the people (2 Thess 2:9-12). I am praying that the people in Charlotte will repent. I am also praying for Furtick, that he will listen to what Matt Chandler said and stop twisting the Scriptures.

    I liked your line about shallowness though, it was clever. That’s not my critique of Furtick though, just concerned about the Scripture twisting. I also liked your line “as oppossed to glorifying OURSELVES”, because that tends to be a problem at Elevation. Glad you saw that too! Thanks for listening.

    • Thanks for the comment Brian.
      No church is perfect of course.
      And the 37 year old guy I talked with for an hour after church Sunday morning isn’t a mistake either.
      His life was changed with or without your critique.

      Oh and Chandler was my favorite sermon of the whole slew.
      But he is also my favorite preacher of the last 5 years…
      So I’m a bit biased.

      • john

        Here’s my thing. Part of Elevation’s code is “We are all about the numbers.” They are unashamed about this. Well, I have some numbers for them. In the same amount of time as the stats below, Elevation has claimed to have over 9,000 SALVATIONS. People coming to faith in Jesus. Granted I understand you can not 100% correlate homelessness with new Christian growth, but they must be correlated in someway. My question. If we have truly seens over 9,000 new Christians in Charlotte, shouldn’t this have radically changed our city so that the below stats would not even be close to being true? Why is this happening?

        Homeless children in our local school system (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools):
        2008: 2,493
        2009: 2,989
        2010: 4,453
        2011: 4,711

        that’s a 89% increase in 3 years.
        source: http://www.achildsplace.org/follow-our-success/data-results

        “A report issued in December revealed that Charlotte saw a 36 percent rise in family homelessness in 2010, the second-highest jump among the 26 cities studied.”

        With over 12,000 cumulative reported “salvations” at EC, how is Charlotte basically leading the way nationwide when it comes to homeless families?

        I love numbers, and I love seeing new believers. I believe God has moved through EC despite some of it’s faults, and am thankful for some of the life change occurring there. My whole issue with them is they boast in their church more than their Savior. I believe their core principle of being more concerned about the people outside the church than inside of it is resulting in a shallowness of faith that isn’t sustainable in the end. I pray for them often, but they need to take heed and actually show they care for their own people and not just increasing in size and notoriety.

        • Mike

          Keep looking on your same site for A Child’s Place John and you will see that Elevation Church is the 6th largest contributor to A Child’s Place, the only church listed, and is only beat out by large foundations like United Way. I was there the Sunday we gave a one time check of $40,000 to the organization combating homelessness in Charlotte. Combine this with http://elevationoutreach.com/orange-initiative/ and our church is actually doing amazing things in Charlotte and around the world, but I agree that it is the individual stories of life change that should silence the critics more than anything else. The church gives millions of dollars and the church members are equipped to do hundred of thousands of hours of service in the community all to bring glory to God, not our church or our pastor. I may never understand why other Christians feel the need to discount or attack another church or church leader, it’s like a wide receiver sacking his own quarterback because he cares more about getting his name out than whether their team is winning.

      • Brian

        Los – thanks for the kind response. I know these guys are family to you, so thanks for being charitable. Glad you got to speak with someone after church whose life has been changed. I know that God can use a jackass (like myself) or even someone like Furtick to accomplish his will. My critique is out of concern. Furtick has been on a downhill trajectory for a while and the whole wealth/prosperity crowd that he brought in is just the latest. So I am truthfully praying for the man.

        Also – Chandler has been a fav of mine for about as long. He has hurt my pride more than once.

        • john

          Brian – remember when Furtick became defensive after Chandler preached, even stating “I don’t like negative preaching.” He does not preach sin b/c he is so concerned about offending someone and is literally addicted to growing the numbers without real regard for the Christians in his church (he admits this).

          I’m sorry, but my sin offends God and when the Holy Spirit finally allowed me to see that, that is when Jesus became real to me and I was able to repent and believe by God’s grace. I’ve always believed you can draw a crowd when you tell people what they want to hear. I think that was the entire point of Chandler’s message. EC has grown by thousands b/c people get a message that is centered upon them and their struggles (using weak exegesis of the Scripture), and it uplifts them and boosts their ego. What they don’t realize is the Bible is not about us. God is for God as Chandler put it.

          • Chad


          • Chad

            Dah! Those were up arrows in the text box… Anyway… THIS! 😉

          • yankeegospelgirl

            Yeah, this. Granted, I see the logic behind Furtick’s approach which is hell yeah God is about numbers, we want to reach more people for Jesus! But you MUST feed the flock God has already entrusted you with. These are the people looking to you NOW for guidance and shepherding. Don’t run them over on your way to go get more, or God’s going to have to deal with you.

            As for Code Orange, I saw some people I liked there (love Chandler too), but I also saw a HEAVY emphasis on the EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE of being “in the Spirit.” If you come to God on pure emotion, you’ll leave on pure emotion. You need more to keep you there. You can jump up and down and yell and cry and scream “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” at the top of your lungs, but when you wake up the next morning, you need to know WHAT exactly you believe and WHY exactly you believe it. Otherwise, it’ll fade away.

    • “Numbers are never a sign of God’s blessing.”

      Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4

      • Acts 2|47. “he added to their (the early church) numbers daily”

        I pray that every church has a passion to see THEIR numbers grow so HE can receive glory

        • Brian

          As for numbers – Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world? Is it biblical? No. How about Mormonism? Nope. The Scripture you cited don’t really prove your point. God added to the church as he saw fit. And he always will. Not everyone who joins a “church” is part of THE Church. Not every place with church in the name is a place where believers gather. What we are charged to do is study to show thyself approved. We need to compare what Furtick says in the name of God to the word of God. And not just Furtick but anyone claiming to speak for Him. I do this with my own pastor. You should too. You should not turn your discernment off when you enter a building with a cross on it.

          • Neither Mark nor I cited any “point”, so we didn’t fail to “prove [our] point”. You stated that unequivocally that “[n]umbers are *never* a sign of God’s blessing”.

            Please stop trying to ascribe affiliations and affinities to me just because I happen to reference a couple of Scripture passages that contradict your statement.

          • Brian

            Your references did not contradict, please see my statement above.

    • Katherine Stefan

      To Brian the ‘critic’… as a former Charlotte civic leader, I can tell you that the city of Charlotte has come undone with the grace and love overflowing from this church. Although Charlotte has been blessed with generosity through many churches, leaders and civic organizations, none has ever come close to filling the hearts and minds of Charlotteans with the love of Christ as this church has. The reason for that is clear – because it is Christ centered. Whether you care for the way this anointed pastor delivers the gospel truth or not is a matter of taste.

      You may ‘live’ in Charlotte, but if you haven’t witnessed the movement of God in this city through the Christ centered actions of this church body, then you aren’t living in truth. The numbers speak for themselves in number of salvations, baptisms and hundreds of thousands of hours of time donated through Love Week and money given through Elevation Church. Just the facts m’am.

      What Christlike action have you inspired in others by putting down those who are leading people in droves back into the arms of our heavenly father? If you don’t like this ministry, you can respond in love rather than judgment and create a ministry of your own, yes?

      • Brian

        Katherine – I appreciate your response. I pray that you will consider becoming a civic leader in Charlotte again as your optimism is wonderful. Unfortunately I may have not been clear enough in my critique. My critique is that he twisting the Scripture. What is somewhat disturbing is the cult-like following that he has gathered. Again, it reminds me of PTL, which I’m sure you are familiar with.

        As to your questions…First I am hopefully inspiring others to look at the Scriptures and compare what Furtick says in the name of God to the Word of God. Second, I am choosing to respond in love. To speak the truth is love. God will judge him for this, not me. I don’t need to create a ministry, I am already involved with existing ministries. Blessings!

        • Eric

          Please elaborate on “twisting the scriptures.” I have heard this cited several times, but no proof has been offered. Just because we believe things, that doesn’t make them so. If no proof can be offered, a critic should stay silent.

          • Brian

            Eric – Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. But you can read my response to Tom below. Furtick allegorized the story of David and Goliath and made it about you. That was this Sunday nights message. You can listen to the podcast. Hope this finds you well.

    • Tony


      I would like to reply to your comment “I live in Charlotte and Elevation has not changed this city”. Here’s something that some call facts…

      In 2011 Elevation Church gave the City of Charlotte a total of 102,208 hours of Community service and donated a total of $1,038,000.00 to the City of Charlotte. I would say that qualifies as changing the city of Charlotte. Wouldn’t you? Were doing it again… want to help?

      Want proof??? Here it is:

    • Fred_in_Charlotte

      I don’t know if Pastor Furtick is twisting the Scriptures, but I have rarely heard such opaque and impenetrable sermons described as brilliant or moving. Everything about this church feels cult-like and weird. The messages are loaded with platitudes, both contradictory and capricious.

      I’m not jealous of Pastor Furtick’s “success”, just frightened at how very shallow this all is. I don’t see any victory in “bringing people to God” if they don’t become more compassionate, more discerning and more appreciative as a result. This is VERY reminiscent of the whole PTL movement… always talking about “great things the Lord is doing” without actually seeming to do anything except grow their own bureaucracy.

      To me, a sign of God at work isn’t 50,000 people waving their hands in the air or lining up to watch anything on a video monitor. A sign of God at work would be sharply reduced rates of family violence, a widespread embrace of arts and literature, dramatically higher SAT and ACT scores, diminished need for public assistance, and far fewer auto accidents. There would be fewer lonely people at the nursing homes and the mentally ill would not wander our streets. Essentially, we would have a more peaceful society and a more creative society. And I’m not a big-government liberal. I’m saying God at work would mean new business innovations coming from our city would skyrocket, and there would be a massive increase in economic growth as all of our creative minds came up with useful products and services that served market needs.

      Elevation Church, to any impartial observer, appears to be obsessed with flash, style, looking hip and a bunch of feel-good empty rhetoric. It’s just what most people want — a place to get excited without that excitation actually resulting in a better world other than some ridiculous scorecard that I believe Jesus never asked for and wouldn’t stand for today. Sorry, but that’s what the spirit moves me to feel about this outfit and I am unashamed to say so. Waving our arms in the air and jumping up and down at some overly dramatized expression of excitement at our own selves doesn’t equate to discovering and/or serving the Almighty.

  • Leslie

    I really don’t know much about Elevation Church or about Code Orange, but if peoples’ lives are being changed, glory to God! My eyes teared up during the baptism part of the video. You could FEEL the joy on their faces. As you said, there is no perfect church. I know people who have had their lives radically changed in churches that I couldn’t sit in for 15 minutes. We are all so diverse and we all have our own personal way of meeting with God. Thank God that He is willing to meet us where we are.

  • Amen. Thank you for writing this, Carlos. Getting to be a part of this revival was one of most inspiring things I’ve ever seen even though I get to be a part of Elevation every week. What God is doing is awesome, and it’s good to be reminded that there are going to be criticisms and some may be valid but as long as it’s about Jesus and His glory, we’re on the right path.

  • Deanna

    To the critics …I am truly praying for u because lives are being changed one being mine. It really don’t matter what u think because really it comes down to God…..no ones opinions matters but his.If he is pleased and being glorified that’s what its all about.

  • Los, I’m glad God’s moving there and that you saw it happen. I hope they’ve changed their attitude toward children with special needs.

    • Jason,

      I assume you’re referring to the well-publicized incident at Easter last year. I wasn’t there and don’t know everything that happened, but I know my family’s experience at Elevation with my six year old son who has Down Syndrome. We’ve been at Elevation for almost 3 years and have been involved with 4 of the 6 Elevation campuses. Across the board we’ve had amazingly positive experiences, both with caregivers who love our son and with policies & procedures (assigning a buddy in his class for him, etc.) that support him being fully involved in the activities for his age group.

      No church is perfect, though, and I’m sure Elevation is continuing to work to serve & love everyone that comes through our doors in the best way possible.

  • Chad

    So any criticism of Code Orange is fueled by jealousy? Really?

    Is there not such a thing as valid criticism when TD Jakes is teaching there (a modalist)? Is it not a valid criticism if other health/wealth/prosperity teachers are there? There were some very solid guys there as well (most notably Chandler), but it was “balanced” when the pulpit needs to be leaning solidly in the direction of sound doctrine and proper exegesis (that Chandler always delivers).

    I think those are valid criticisms and I have no jealousy for Elevation at all. Matter of fact, overall I appreciate what they’re doing in the community… I just get very leery when doctrine is trampled underfoot and any valid criticism is shot down, especially under the guise of knowing the heart and intent of the person offering the critique.

    • Not any. Never said that. Just what I have seen.

      • Chad

        I feel ya…

    • Craig

      This has been my main restlessness about so many of the critics, what you called:
      “the guise of knowing the heart and intent of the person offering the critique.”

      A lot of mind-reading, judgmentalism, attributing evil motives, distortion of facts, rude sarcasm, etc.– in general: detracting from the Lord’s movement. What?… He forgot to ask your permission?

      (This 2nd paragraph is not directed at you, Chad. I am generalizing due the hate-speech of a few people I’ve come across w/o looking for it.)

  • taylor

    Here’s a question: Can Elevation even call themselves a church? Read below on their church structure and pastoral accountability, and then study Titus 1 and 1 Tim 3.

    Q: How is your leadership structured?

    A: We believe that God calls a man and gives him a vision for the church, at
    Elevation that’s Pastor Steven Furtick. We have a staff lead model where
    the Pastor leads the staff to implement the vision that God has given. We
    do not have deacons or elders and do not have congregational votes.

    Q: Who holds the Pastor accountable?

    A: God ultimately holds a Pastor responsible for how he shepherds the
    people, that’s a weight that only a Pastor knows how it feels. We have an
    oversight board made up of 5 men, most of which are senior pastors, from
    around the country that hold the Pastor accountable.

    from: http://access.elevationchurch.org/frequently-asked-questions

    • Joe Robba


  • Tom

    Totally agree Los! LOVE Elevation Church!

    It makes me SICK hearing all this Elevation criticism! How can you deny that people’s lives are being changed?! For all you that criticize the numbers of “salvations,” you cannot deny the amount of Baptisms that have taken place there. They are truly teaching people to live out their faith journeys and commit their lives to Christ.

    Just because he doesn’t “preach” like Chandler doesn’t mean he can’t exegete scripture.


    • Tom

      THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT MODELS TO DOING CHURCH. Just because someone does “church” different then you doesn’t make it wrong!

      • taylor

        Tom – there are not “many different models of doing church.” There might be different philosophies, but structure & accountability itself is pretty clear. The Bible, if you regard it as ultimate authority, is entirely clear on church structure. Again, read Titus 1 and 1 Tim 3. Elders & deacons as the governing body of the church are not OPTIONAL.

    • Brian

      Tom – you can listen to Furtick “exegete” right now on elevationnetwork.com. He has made the story of David and Goliath into an allegory about you. It has nothing to do with Chandler, the critiques are that Furtick is not handling God’s Word properly. Again, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about how he handles the Word and last night he did a poor job.

      • Tom

        Sounds like you are saying that the Bible can’t be applied today? I understand what you are saying if we are dealing with promise and prophecy, but it sounds to me like he is sharing universal timeless principles, not allegory. There is a BIG difference…

        • Brian

          Tom – I know this may come as a shock, but the Bible is not about you. It’s about Jesus. I know this will be hard to swallow but you are not David and Goliath is not the giant problems in your life. When someone takes the text and does that it is called twisting the Scripture. It’s a faulty hermeneutic. You would be well served to watch this video:


          • Travis

            This argument kills me. Of course the story is not about me. But is it really a sin to learn something about how to live from the lives of great men. How dare me try to display bravery like David did. 99% of the time I may be the cowardly Isrealites but is it wrong to strive to stand up? The strength would come from God just as David’s did. I believe every hero in the Bible is a shadow of Christ but are we not called to be Christ like?

          • Sean

            Wow. Hermeneutics. So explain the difference between an allegory (which is what you say pastor Steven preached about David and Goliath) and a parable. Short answer is a parable is an allegory. I won’t leave a video link for you to look it up, just find it in a dictionary.
            I agree it’s wrong to take the entire bible and try to find symbolism in everything, but really? Have you listened to any other sermon pastor Steven preaches? Does he use allegory in all his sermons? The answer is no. Jesus uses allegory (parables) to get His point across to people. That’s the same thing pastor Steven did. I don’t see people calling Him out (except for the Pharisees who thought they knew how to interpret the Bible better than the Word of God made flesh).
            And just to clarify, I’m not comparing pastor Steven to Jesus in anyway.

          • Brian

            Sean – It sounds like you are very astute in the Scriptures. You will no doubt already have realized that a parable is not the same thing as allegorizing a historical text. The parable of the good Samaritan is not the same as the account of Solomon building the temple. One happened, one did not. While it is true we can learn from the actions of the patriarchs, that does not mean we can insert ourselves into the text. That is the problem. I’m sure you can see it. And btw, you did compare Furtick to Jesus – adding a sentence at the end saying you didn’t, doesn’t change the fact that you did. I’m not gonna give you a hard time about it though, so no worries. Be blessed brother.

      • Carla

        WOW! My husband and I LOVED his “David and Goliath” sermon–It really ministered to both of us! I know the Bible is not ABOUT me but it is FOR me–and He teaches me thru HIS Word. I especially loved the part about moving on to where God wants you and not staying in the past! Whatever past mistakes we’ve made–move on–God has forgiven me when I confess and doesn’t want me to dwell there. I remember thinking it’s like saying “I’m sorry” over and over–He’s already forgiven me–he no longer “remembers” that particular confessed sin so I need to let it go to.
        LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! I could have had 12 days of Furtick and been blessed.

  • I can’t watch stuff like this. It may be great, I wont give an opinion on it because I haven’t watched it.

    To me salvation is a walk, not an event, revival is not inside a church at alters it’s in the streets.

  • People hate Elevation until they visit.
    People call their worship leaders shallow until they meet them. People critique Steven Furtick until they’ve seen God use him to change lives.

    If you have the audacity to critique what God is doing at Elevation, have the courage to go and visit. Prove yourself right, or prove yourself wrong.

    Sitting at a distance and criticizing from your desk will do nothing.

    • Alyssa

      Yes, agree 100%. I just read a tweet about a guy writing a book about his hatred for Elevation Church. He went during Code Orange Revival, and gave his life to Christ. Men cant stop what God wants to do. And God WANTS to use Pastor Furtick and that Church!

  • I love visiting Elevation from time to time when I’m in town (I live more than a couple hours away). I enjoy Furtick’s speaking both there and other conferences I’ve attended. I do, however, see where many of the criticisms are coming from, though. But it’s also easy to criticize when you’re not there living among what’s going on, so that’s why I stay out of it.

    I will say that they certainly didn’t help themselves when they pulled Chandler’s sermon from the 2 nightly rebroadcasts and then backpedaled the next day re-airing his sermon at a time when I’m sure much fewer people were paying attention. As I understand it, Furtick was visibly peeved during portions of Chandler’s sermons when he was really stepping on some of the toes of Elevation’s model.

    • Chad

      The more I’m reading, the more I’m surprised they invited Chandler. I’m not at all surprised he came though. Good for him. I’d really like to see his sermons from the conference if they’re available…

      • The sermon in its entirety has been made available by a few folks on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yqQuTT1S40

        Just in his intro it sounds as if he struggled with whether or not to accept the invitation.

        • Chad

          He made the right decision though, IMO.

      • Lindsay

        You can download all the Code Orange Revival on iTunes now! It’s on Elevation’s Video/Audio podcasts…I am so excited to go through all the notes I took while watching at home and being there in person to witness all God spoke into my heart. I used to think it was all about preference….but the Lord has really broken that for me. The Lord spoke through each speaker (some in small ways….others in a huge way) to convict me of something personal in my own life. I believe whole-heartly that the Lord is planning great things for my future…BIG things that I intend to lay hold of…I want to build something great for His Kingdom. Glory to God for the impact of Elevation church in my life…their worship of the Lord never gets old. They love Christ and it shows.

  • PluckySprite

    Luke 9: 46-48 An argument broke out among the disciples as to which one of them was the greatest. Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he took a child, stood him by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, also welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the greatest.” (GNT)

    Christians Unite as one church with The LORD & Savior !

  • KaT

    Matthew 5:9-12 sums it up!!! I am rejoycing! !!!

  • Kelli

    It is so disturbing that people would critize Elevation Church and a Jesus loving,genuine,& commpasionate Pastor like Steven Furtick. I know there is no “perfect” church or pastor, but He gives his whole heart and soul into reaching people far from God with the Gospel! I KNOW the Lord lead me to Elevation while I was going through a seperation after being married for 13 years to an alcoholic. God used the heartfelt, biblical messages from Pastor Steven & the prayers of others at Elevation to help save my marriage and change my life forever! My husband and my three small boys are a family again and I am so thankful for the truth that is preached from Elevation’s pulpit EVERY week!I have NEVER experienced such giving and joyful people as I have met at Elevation. I have seen the GLORY of GOD and I will NEVER be the same!JESUS is the center of it ALL and HE always will be!!!

    • Alyssa

      Amazing!!!! God is great. And yes, God is moving through Elevation Church!

  • Joe Robba

    Point 4. This is exactly where the criticism stems from. You can’t say. “the city of Charlotte is changed by the hands and feet of elevation church.”. By saying that you are taking away the credit from God and making it seem as if Elevation Church is accomplishing these things on their own. The entire sermon by Matt Chandler was about this very thug, and as long as this is the attitude of the church, then people will continue to criticize. This is the puffed out chest syndrome Pastor Chandler warned against, and you just came out and prove him right.

    • Alyssa

      No, its very possible for him to say that. Because ALL of us Elevators have already proclaimed, GOD IS ELEVATION CHURCH. HE is the reason Elevation exists. HE is the reason why Pastor Steven started the church. HE is behind that church. And this is why no one can argue what that church is doing. Because GOD is doing it!!!! You dont know, until you go

      • Joe Robba

        I’ve been to Elevation on several occasions and I have friends and peers that work and volunteer there. I’m about as connected to the place as I can be without being a regular attender. That being said, the perception of the outside world is that when Elevation says “Our works are changing the city of Charlotte”, people see that as taking the credit for what the Lord is doing. Is that your intention? Probably not, but that is what Matt Chandler preached about. So long as statements like that are made the criticism will continue. One of my good friends who is a regular attender of Elevation once said to me during one of my visits “We have everything here! I don’t know why anyone would want to go anywhere else!”
        It’s by that attitude that many people take issue with Elevation because Church is supposed to be about lifting up the Lord not for meeting our needs and pleasing our wants and desires. It’s not a spirit of jealously, its perceived egoism.

        • Sean

          “I’m about as connected to the place as can be without being a regular attender.” Classic. Maybe attend and see if you get the heart and culture of Elevation.

          “The perception of the outside world.” Isn’t it always based on perception? If you’re a non-Christian looking all the comments on this post, you’d probably have a negative experience with Christianity. Or not. Because again it’s based on perception. If you look at something from a place of critique then it’s easy to find fault with things. People at Elevation say “Our church is [fill in the blank] .” Is that wrong because they forgot to mention God in the same sentence? No, because everything they do is “so people far from God are raised with life in Christ”.

    • It’s been changed by many churches.
      This post wasn’t about them.
      It was about Elevation.
      And it wasn’t an sermon.
      It was a blog post.

  • Jonathan

    I am super impressed that someone from Elevation responded to the criticism instead of just dismissing us as “haters”. My only two problems that came up during COR were that Furtick 100% lied about the Chandler fiasco. This is indisputable unless you think Geoff Schultz lied. I don’t like it when supposed men of God lie to their church like that. And I’d like to see someone who knows the stuff I’m talking about deny the fact that he lied. He did. It is factual.

    The other thing was TD Jakes. I enjoyed his sermon, but couldn’t get past that Obama’s spiritual advisor and supporter was leading a revival at this church I attend from time to time. If you’re truly revived, you should be wise enough to open your Bibles and quickly find out that abortion is sinful. We all know Obama’s abortion stance.

    Again, thank you for not sweeping criticism under the rug (except for the jealousy part, 95% of critics aren’t pastors and have no reason to be jealous) and I enjoyed you and London leading worship on Saturday. Yes, unlike most critics, I actually go to Elevation fairly often because I do see God moving in spite all of the issues there is with Furtick.

    Thanks for reading and God bless.

    • Hayley

      Jonathan, Im curious to know what Furtick Lied about? I hope the question doesn’t come of as mean or anything, I just keep seeing people talk about that and I’m not enitrely sure what they mean by this?

      • john

        Friday night January 13th Matt Chandler preached. His message was a borderline rebuke towards Furtick & Elevation of much of what has been talked about on this posting. EC would rebroadcast, in it’s entirety, the program at 10:12pm and 3:12am each night after the live program. For this specific night, they rebroadcasted everything EXCEPT matt chandler’s sermon. This was not a surprise, especially if you were there, and how uncomfortable Furtick looked during the entire sermon. He was extremely figity, and after the sermon even made a few comments trying to defend his people.

        The lie comes in with regard to explaining WHY Chandler’s sermon was not rebroadcasted during prime-time for the people on the West Coast (7:12pm PST). Furtick said it was a “technical glitch.” Well, little did he know, one of his employees in the production group explained the REAL reason Chandler’s sermon was pulled. It was “to focus the rebroadcast on Jesus – so we reformatted the content a bit – We are trying to stay in the flow of what the Spirit is leading us to do.”

        Deception on the part of Elevation Church. How many times does EC have production errors? They are the most advanced and skilled production team in the country probably. See more here


        • Davide66

          I can’t believe you would make these types of insinuations. Each will be accountable for their lives my friend, you for yours, I for mine. Why worry about removing the speck from your brother’s eye when you should be removing the …… Come on! Let’s get real and focus on Jesus, not stupid arguments. I don’t even know why people like you waste time and effort watching Code Orange Revival when you dont believe in it. Reveals the motives of the heart perhaps?

          • john

            Davide66 – I’m not insinuating anything. Facts are facts. EC refused to play Matt Chandler’s sermon. What is your response to this?

            And looks like you must be interpreting scripture a bit too loosely. Matt 7:5 does not forbid judgment of others, it simply a statement that one who is grieved over his own sin (myself) can help remove specks from others eyes. This by no means is a statement of me believing I’m better than anyone just trying to point something out in love. Far more loving of me to call out deception and sin by a church than to watch them continue in folly. We are all brothers.

          • Davide66

            Really all brothers? Doesn’t sound like you would lay your life down for your brother Furtick, since you consider him a liar. I mean, who would lay his life down for a liar, yet, isn’t that what you would do for your flesh and blood? A brother? I would and I am done.

            I would ask you to stop your ill speaking of my Pastor and my church and stick to your church and what you care for.

            Your comments offend me.

          • Sam

            I love our church, but I also respect what your saying John. I know what your trying to say isn’t out of spite. We all know that wasn’t right and facts are facts. But we’re not perfect, and regardless if others felt offended by chandlers message I enjoyed it very much as well as all the others. Just because someone points out something we did wrong doesn’t mean there out to get us or that their mean people. It shows where there heart is to reach out instead of sitting back and watching us do things that are just going to hurt us ahead.

          • Jonathan

            This is basically my stance too. (Same Jonathan as above.)

            Did Furtick lie? Yes, of course he did. He was obviously wrong to do so and I wish he would publicly apologize instead of pretending like it didn’t happen. I think his response to criticism is by far the weakest thing about his ministry. It leads to things like his lying tweet.

            HOWEVER, Steven Furtick is an imperfect person just like the rest of us. We all have thorns in our side. One of Furtick’s happens to be his response to criticism and I hope God will change his heart on how to deal with it. So knowing that even Steven Furtick isn’t perfect, I’m not going to absolutely condemn him or his church even when he still has this false tweet up there. OVERALL, Pastor Steven’s ministry is obviously for the glory of the Lord as is Elevation Church. I just think that, like Carlos said, it’s important to criticize when you see things going on that are against what God wants to happen.

            God bless.

          • Dropin Knowledge

            Isn’t this the point of what someone brought up earlier about the structure of Elevation (or lack thereof)? The bible tells us that a church should have elders/deacons/etc while Elevation’s model is ‘Furtik answers to God’ and there are no elders. That sound find and dandy but when he is prone to sin like the rest of us he needs a council to help guide him and give him some accountability on this earth. We will all ‘answer to God’. The scary thing is if he leads thousands astray while on this earth and doesn’t get straight until he’s gone and the damage is already done.

          • Sean

            It’s funny how critics like to point out technicalities and poor word choices, then use documented (in this case undocumented) statements to justify themselves. For instance, you say facts are facts, but pastor Steven never said “technical glitches”. Go check your facts again.
            And another thing; true, Matthew 7:5 does not forbid judgement of others (although Matthew 7:1 clearly says “do not judge so that you will not be judged”), but where does David66 use the word forbid? From what I read he never forbade you from saying what you said.
            I never understand how critics can post their criticisms and end it by saying they do it “out of love.”

        • Brian Baute

          I may have missed some of Pastor Furtick’s response, but I only remember him tweeting that it was a “programming change” (https://twitter.com/stevenfurtick/status/158191064715501568). When/where did he say it was a technical glitch?

          • Jonathan

            He never said it was a technical glitch that I’m aware of, but “apologizing” for the “inconvenience” of the “programming change” makes one not in the know assume that it was unintended, no?

            When you’re sworn under oath, you have to tell the truth, THE WHOLE TRUTH, and nothing but the truth. Being misleading like this and not giving the whole truth is still a lie.

          • No, I don’t think a programming change has to be unintended at all. Matter of fact, a programming change almost has to be intentional, in that someone decided to change the programming.

            Pastor Furtick said programming change, and Geoff Schultz said reformatting the content. Those are consistent statements.

            I think it’s fair to question why the church decided to not re-air Chandler’s sermon that night, but I don’t think it’s fair at all to say Pastor Furtick “100% lied” and that it was “indisputable” (your words).

            I absolutely agree with Los that critics are valuable, even necessary. But these kinds of unsupported accusations & inflammatory language ruin the credibility of critics and reduce the dialogue to just mudslinging on both sides.

            Let’s rise above it.

          • Jonathan

            Why did he apologize then and then ensure that it would reair later?

          • PBC

            I didn’t take his tweet as an apology for a “mess up” at all…he said sorry for the inconvenience of the programming change, which i took as a way to apologize to all the whiners who were freaking out & apparently don’t appreciate praying for others…I’m sure those who got prayed for didn’t mind. No wonder they didn’t do it again. being a critic is one thing, assuming someones motives is another…why is everyone trying to be Sherlock Holmes…they re-aired it-calm down people.

            I watched it live on the network that night and the re-air the next day-same sermon, unedited, with the same warnings & rebukes, etc. And now it’s available via podcast. So much for censorship scandal.

  • Gena

    I live in Charlotte. I do not attend church. I have been intrigued with Elevation for quite some time. I had a horrible experience with church in my youth, so it is very important forcme to research a church before I decide to go. I have been watching some on Sunday mornings and through the website. I even followed Steven’s twitter account during revival. I absolutely see the impact this church has made on the city. I’m sure the gentleman that mentioned the numbers earlier also realizes the population growth in this city over the past several years.

    Here is my point, I’m a person in need of a church. There are millions of people just like me. I would like to say this to the critics: The energy I’ve seen spent on nit picking and name calling blows me away. It reconfirms what I’ve always known about the church. If this man is not good enough in the eyes of the church, then it is certain I will never be either. Congratulations. I’m sure God is very proud. Most likely, I will be sitting in the Uptown campus on Sunday……Just as I am. I know if i belong anywhere, it is here. Please consider refocusing your energy on your health, your family, your community, and most importantly, God.

    • Davide66

      Welcome Gena. I was in your shoes 3 years ago. Best decision of my life.

    • Your second paragraph just completely broke my heart. I’m so ashamed of what I’ve seen and the judgement that “christians” are taking part in. Everyone feels they have to be right, and as you’ve pointed out, it’s at the cost of people who don’t know Jesus and may not ever want to because of His “followers.” I’m so glad your decision is to keep coming and pursuing Him, but I know that arguments like the ones on this page have the potential to turn people off from Him. Thankfully, He redeems no matter how hard we try to mess it up. Thank you for sharing Gena. I hope I can meet you at Elevation some day (I’m the curly haired girl on stage).

  • Davide66

    Critics…stop worrying about others and what others should be doing. You and I are responsible before God INDIVIDUALLY. If we all put that much attention and focus I see in your replies into our everyday lives, we’d truly be the light of the world and salt of the earth.

    Seek first the kingdom, not the latest blog or bit of news to criticize. Interestingly, the Pharisees, Scribes and teachers of the law, did the same about Jesus in the New Testament.

    Which are you a seeker of the kingdom or a critic of the kingdom? Your choice!


    • john

      David – I am not a theologian, and many of my best conclusions are imperfect. But what I can do is study and trust what the Bible says, and that is what I try and do.

      Not many criticize as a personal attack, and if they do, that is sinful. We criticize with the hope of “contending for the faith” (Please read Jude 3-4). Doctrine is important, what you believe matters and is connected to right living. Good doctrine helps unity and leads to maturity, it doesn’t divide. If you don’t think there are competing philosophies to the Christian faith then you need to read the Bible more.

      Why do people think Doctrine is a bad thing to contend for? It’s Biblical. As Christians, if you believe the Bible, we are called to test ourselves and the teaching we receive. The Bible will NOT let us put aside doctrine and not talk about it. Just please read for yourself, I do not speak on my own accord…

      Romans 16:17
      Ephesians 4:11-14
      1 Tim 1:3
      1 Tim 4:6

      • Davide66

        Apologetic, defending/contending for the faith, should be done in the same spirit as Paul did in Acts 17 at the Areopagus.
        Paul’s outcome, lead people to Jesus.
        I like doctrine, but if done “just cause” one is argumentative, what’s the purpose?

        Ask yourself why you do what you do? Is it to lead men to Jesus? Nothing else really matters. As usual the army of Christ is the only army where we shoot our own.

        • Joe Robba

          Jesus said to go and make disciples. He never said go and make Christians. There is a big difference, and if you think leading people to Jesus is what’s most important, then you are sorely mistaken. While leading them to Christ is important, it’s far more important that they remain in him.
          I feel like the way Elevation attenders are handling this criticism as a personal attack on themselves. It’s not. It’s simply saying that God should get credit for all these things. Elevation is just another church, and God would be 100% fine without them. Now is God using Elevation? Yes, but does he need them, no. The problem here stems from point 4 of this article. The city is not being changed because of the work of Elevation, it is the work of God. There is an attitude and heart issue with this church, and the people who are pointing it out are saying it because we want to see it change so that Elevation can move on and continue to be used by the Lord to make disciples, rather than swim in controversy.

  • Hayley

    John, I just saw that. And you know I love Elevation, but that does grind my gears just a bit to see that. I enjoyed chandlers message very much, and I dont see why taking out what he said was necessary. What he said was real, and I think he meant it out of respect and care for our church and everyone. He knows what he’s talking about, and he only seeked to warn us to be careful. But, My love for my church remains the same. We’re not perfect and we do make mistakes. But like the person above me said we are responsible before God indiviually. God judges us according to where our heart is. I know I want to be known as seeker of the kingdom not critic of the kingdom.

    God bless you all.

  • Keri

    Wow. My family and I are new (2 months or so) to Elevation Church. All day I’ve been in a very retrospective mode after this 12-day Code Orange Revival. I’m not on this blog to call down the critics. I think that anyone with an ounce of discernment can see the reality of what is really going on. I believe we were warned that we’d see evidence of the enemy trying to tear down what God has His hand on. I grew up in church all my life. My parents have served in church all their lives. Believe me when I say I’ve seen a lot. I’ve served on staff in church (music pastor) so I’ve seen both sides of “the curtain.” When we first visited Elevation, I was listening to every lyric in every song. I was listening to every single syllable that came out of Pastor Steven’s mouth. I had to know whether or not they were singing and speaking JESUS. Since that first visit, I don’t think I could actually count how many times I’ve heard him say “This is about God.” “This is all about Jesus.” “Give HIM the glory.” And on the subject of money…”If this (Elevation) isn’t ‘your’ church, don’t give us your money. Tithe your money to your local church.” People are being pointed to Jesus at Elevation. They are then being pointed to the ways to show Jesus to their community. It doesn’t stop at salvation. As far as the Bible being about God, that is so right on! I also believe that He gave us this holy book to show us how to conduct ourselves. He gave it to us to show His glory. You say I’m not David. You’re right, I’m not. But I believe God wanted me to KNOW about David so that all these years later, I could look at the example of how He led David to his moment. So I could see with my own eyes that in David’s obedience, the momentum was set forth so that God’s glory would be revealed. Why do I believe this? Because He is a God who loves us SO much that he was willing to put His son in a robe of flesh to walk among us. I’m not David. But our God calls me by name and wants me to know that the same power that conquered that giant lives in me.

  • yankeegospelgirl

    Ugh. I hadn’t been aware of the Chandler fiasco. Leaves a REALLY bad taste in my mouth, needless to say. I mean I’m not like Furtick’s biggest fan anyway, but that is just blatantly dishonorable. I hope he apologizes… who wants to bet?

    • 0.0% of a chance he apologizes. Listen to the sermon from start to finish, nothing to apologize for.

      • yankeegospelgirl

        Maybe you misread me… I wasn’t saying Chandler should apologize, I was saying Furtick should if this was a cover-up.

  • Frank

    Los, You’re right. Elevation is an awesome church. But it’s like this: If you’re driving a beautiful car, with all the bells and whistles, and lots of power; and somebody tells you that you just turned the wrong way, is your response going to be, “you are jealous of my beautiful car”? The “structure” of Elevation, is one that allows Steven to go unchecked. That’s unsettling. Especially when the slightest critique draws ire from Steven and his followers.

  • Carl

    A Changed life does not equate to one being saved. And how long after this spiritual and emotional high, does this “life change” continue? As mentioned earlier, many claim to have their life changed by Islam and Mormonism.

    Just look at revival history. Charles Finney who basically invented the modern day altar call claimed many changed lives and salvations only to later bemoan that most of the people who he “saved” in revivals were actually not saved and were false converts.

    The true Gospel was not presented most of the nights at Code Orange Revival save the one bright spot where Chandler preached and even then did Elevation try and not rebroadcast Chandler’s message until a huge backlash erupted. Ed Young Jr’s the “rope is the hope”..What a joke. Perry Noble’s praising Elevation and Furtick more than Jesus. And Jakes twisting scripture and elevating Man’s will over God’s sovereignty was just a small sampling of the sad state of “preaching” at the revival.

    And Los, please stop with labeling people who are concerned about people being led astray by false teachers as being “haters” or filled with jealousy. Why dont you address SPECIFIC concerns of these reviews that you read. Why dont you read a review and deal with the content of the concerns because of Biblical infidelity instead of playing to your audience and calling people jealous, or haters, and pharisees.

    What is sad is that the lack of biblical literacy on display by the Code Orange Revival goers as they cheered on the false teachings that were being fed to them. People are a gullible bunch. We are called sheep for a reason. People think just because a few Bible verses are being read then then bible is being preached. Not so. False teachers use the Bible to twist God’s word for their own means.

    Lastly, why dont you disclose how much you are getting paid for leading worship at Elevation and how much product you sell. You are far from an objective source. You run in the same celebrity conference idol making circuits that Furtick and Noble do. You have to tow the line or they will not invite you to their events.

    • So…if I get paid by something, I can’t have an opinion of it? And if I give a first hand account to back of this opinion, the solution is to publicly reveal the fee that I received?

      And Catalyst and conferences like it are idol making machines? What isn’t? An idol is what you create on your own, not the person themselves. Gum can be an idol. An X Box can be an idol. Reading blogs can be an idol.

      Places like Catalyst strive to train and inspire leaders to preach the “true” gospel and change the world for and through the one who the authored this gospel.

      Just because these things negatively affect you, doesn’t at all mean they don’t help others.

    • Sean

      I don’t understand what you mean by false teaching. If people are being lead to Christ what’s false? Are you saying the way you believe and interpret the bible (your way) is the correct way, the only way to God? Because all I heard during Code Orange Revival was Jesus lifted high. Going in to something with a certain perspective skews how you see things. We all need to look at things with fresh eyes, with the eyes of the Spirit. And no, adding your own filter (your upbringing/denomination/political viewpoint/your OPINIONS about people/preachers) does not equate to seeing What God sees. I’ve never heard nor pulled up background information on most of the preachers at COR. Was I supposed to? What I HEARD from them, however, (for the most part) preached the Bible. I too didn’t agree with some of it, but who am I to say yea or nay. God is the ultimate judge.
      All I know is that the people who were OPEN to a move that God INTENDED experienced it.

      It’s unfortunate that some didn’t…

  • Prchrbill

    Why is it jealousy that drives criticism? That seems to be introducing facts not entered into evidence.

    Were the critics of Hitler’s regime just jealous of his rapid expansion?
    Were the critics of Gitmo, jealous of the prison population growth?

    Perhaps the ‘critics’ of this ‘church’ and this ‘revival’ are just folks that actually can see the forest on spite of the trees, and the supporters are just blind followers of the blind that can’t think scripturally because their leader discourages such deep theological thinking and are not equipped to recognize false doctrine.
    Jealousy however is always a cop out charge
    made by those unwilling or unable to discuss the criticisms based on scripture. It is also a revelation of your self righteousness to think that you are being “so blessed of God it is driving other Christians to jealousy”.
    Next you will start wondering which of you will be sitting on the right and left sides of the heavenly throne.

    With that…..
    I am prchrbill.

  • Princess Clare

    Due to livestream difficulties I hardly got to see much of COR. I’m confused about the Chandler issue but don’t know enough to comment. Whether or not Pastor Furtick publicly apologises he WILl be accountable for his words. I remember one night at COR I heard him publicly confess to sometimes having a temper. He clearly is open about his imperfections and flaws. Don’t ‘elevate’ him. Only ‘elevate’ God. By this I do NOT mean don’t honour him. I agree wholeheartedly with Gena and I could see her comments coming. What will non-believers think when they read all this? Are you only thinking about saying your piece with no regard for who might read it? Is a lie acceptable? No! Is it worse than any other sin? No! I couldn’t do what Pastor Steven does in leading a church. I think the lie issue only concerns the Furticks and the Elevation church. They will decide whether they stay or leave. I don’t think its our place to judge. God has important tasks for us to do and all the time we focus on this we are missing what He has for us. The people like Gena who need the real thing! Jesus. God. Community. Family. Jesus says His mercies are new every morning. Which means He’s already dealt with Pastor Furtick. Also for those who feel sick by Pastor Furticks sin, do you therefore think God shouldn’t have appointed David. Who was an adulterer and a murderer?! And finally if you have issues with Pastor Furtick, take them directly to him! That’s the biblical honourable way. Do you think him and Holly don’t have feelings when they read all this stuff about them? That is all. Thankyou for your time.

    • Sam

      Well said Clare!

  • Princess Clare

    In case anyones wondering I live in UK so don’t attend Elevation Church. I am a PROUD attender of Hillsong Church London! But I’m a firm believer that we shouldn’t be fighting each other. They will know Jesus by our love for one another. Its UK bedtime now so goodnight, and GOD BLESS.

  • megan

    I love reading your blog and I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to discuss/debate different issues. With that being said, I attended Elevation at one time and saw many red flags in the culture that they have set up and I eventually left, feeling very disheartened with the church and it’s present state. I have a solid foundation of the Bible and I know that people are human. But, I wonder how many who’s first experience with God is at Elevation and if they will get the same view that I did? Will they ever come back? Will this be their biew of God? Initially, it is wonderful, but there are some strange things too. What if this is one of the devil’s biggest schemes? I really dislike the term,”hater.” I love the people of my city and I speak out of that love. I want them to hear the truth, the truth that was spoken from Matt CHandler.

    • Sean

      It’s seems the ones with the red flags are the same ones with solid foundations in the Bible, which is fine. Elevation exists for those who are far from God, those without preconceived notions about what the bible should mean and how it should be read. Pastor Steven is very biblically sound and all he does is to glorify Jesus. He says that on every sermon. He also speaks the truth.
      If Elevation doesn’t work for you, then fine. You can’t deny the hearts and lives being changed by their work though. And what I mean by “their work” is the work Elevation does through and because of Jesus.
      Just wanted to clarify.

      • Mary

        I’m on board with you Sean! If I was to attend a church, this one may be the one I’d try! Like I said in a previous post…only the Good Lord knows the heart of another human being fully and he and only he are we to be fully committed to and fully complacent with.
        I do not believe that all Catholics are going to hell, for example, simply based on their religious practices…because in the end…it really is what is in the heart of the person that matters! God loves a clean heart and with a clean heart, follows clean living. It doesn’t mean we will not falter from time to time, Lord knows I’ve been off the wagon a few times (in living the Christian life I mean) but I get back on swiftly and with great remorse. God Bless!

  • Geoff

    All sermons from the revival are available here:

  • Kat

    Critisicm can be spoken out of love, jealousy, pride, etc… I see a tremendous amount of pride here. Here’s an idea… It was a change in format… The reairing cut to live prayer ( which was an awesome thing) and then should have cut back to Chandlers sermon, but instead cut back in at the wrong place. When I was watching this is what I assumed. Makes the most sense… I was easily able to watch his sermon the next day and I can now download the podcast. No big conspiracy. Some people go through life just looking for a fight… This is not how God called us to live.

  • The atmosphere of expectation is the breeding ground for miracles.

  • Randy

    Los, I watched 8 of the 12 nights online, as a rebroadcast. I applaud Elevation Church and what Elevation has done for the Charlotte community, and world really…as, a lot of people came to faith in our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, I did criticize some of the revival. Why you ask? Not because I’m jealous, because we are all brothers in Christ, aiming for the same goal, to go forth and make disciples as Jesus called us to do in Matthew 28:19. Please also note, the goal is disciples, not just converts. I criticized some of the revival not because I didn’t see God moving in that house, that was undeniable…God was working amazing things there. Los, (and to whomever else that reads this), I criticized some of the revival (actually most of the speakers) because the True Gospel was not preached. The event was full of sensationalism and the ‘Prosperity’ Gospel was emphasized. Pastors Matt Chandler and James MacDonald were the only ones bold enough to preach the true Gospel. Did you know that Pastor Matt’s message was initially cut from the rebroadcast because of a ‘programming change’? Not until there was a lot of backlash was it finally reinstated. So many of the Pastors took scripture out of context an used it to their advantage. Pastor Stovall Weems main point was that we need to create space for God…I’m sorry, but did the most prolific writer of the NT, Paul, create space when God forced himself on him? God doesn’t want to compartmentalized. Perry Noble led what I felt was a pep rally, and just like many of the other Pastors of the revival, elevated Pastor Furtick and his church over God. It felt as though it was all about MEsus and not Jesus. Now, in Pastor Steven’s defense, he did deflect much of the praise and give Glory to God. And for me, one of the key issues I had, was how was a pastor that denies the Trinity invited to preach at a revival? Pastor TD Jakes is a modalist…believes and preaches (look at his church’s belief statement) that God exists in 3 manifestations (three separate entities)…that is not the Trinity. At the end of the day, I am grateful to see hearts changed for Jesus, but at the same time am troubled that it was due to false doctrine.

  • What increasingly bothers me about the critics of different church plants (they really are still so young, they are basically a church plant) is that everyone assumes Charlotte is exactly like their community an culture and the same brand of evangelism and preaching works exactly the same there as in here.

    Myself and my team are planting a church in a amazingly unchurched and irreligious city right now an I have had to change my strategy that I used in other cities in order to reach the masses here.

    It is just different.

    We preach repentance, we preach for God’s glory not ours but at this point in order to get in relationship with some folks, actually most, we have to do things a little differently than I have in the past

    • DavidWV

      I agree with both sides of this debate but I am baffled by the scorning of ppl who raise questions & concerns! It isnt wise to dismiss such thoughts without considering them from an unbiased manner. Lest yiu wish to compile a congregation on mindless drones forfeiting the God-given cognitive ability to firm analytical opinions. With that said….i went to Elevation for abour a yr, including COR. I agree with those here defending the churches effectivenes & intention…their impact is a positive one. However, a few things have caused me to stop attending. I am a 30 yr old man who became a Christian in the past few years, after growing up in crime…spending a yr in prison at age 19. It was apparent to me that the majority of the congregation here grew up much differently, which is fine, of course. But after getting closer with many men on volunteer staff, I noticed an attitude of “eliteness” and snobbiness that not only pushed me away from the church, but also, as a result, interrupted my relationship with the Lord. They did a goid job of majing me feel like I didnt belong. On basis of my past & my current state of “poverty”. And when I heard matt chandlers sermon (best sermon I ever heard in my life)…i was convicted of some things. Chandler was correct in his diagnosis of elevation church. And it was OBVIOUS that many in the church (& pulpit) werent quite ready fir that dose of truth. THAT is what finalky turned me off and forced me to reevaluate my beliefs and understanding. Elevation is not a bad place, but its not the “Holy Grail” of churches like many members believe. There is a slight overemphasis on itself and its gliry as a church. And in conclusion, if im reading the same Bible as everyone else….there are plenty of Scriptural references to show that non of us, certainly nit preachers, should be milluinaures. I kn oi pl who are hungry. Like, literally.

  • Sean

    Critics: Please read Gena’s post above.
    All of this disagreement is just another weapon the devil uses to prevent the kingdom of God from moving forward. “Pharisee” comes to mind. Yeah I said. So read it and take it how you may. I could make it easy and give you scriptures to back up my statement, but interpreting the word of God is what you do best, so I challenge you to use the research skills you so pride yourself on and see if that’s not right.
    For those that think they know the heart of pastor Steven, have you listened to any of his other sermons? Are you an expert on what he teaches, what he believes, and what he preaches because you actually heard him, or do you get your information second-hand?
    I would challenge you to check out his past sermons online. They’re out there for you to criticize as well, but in the process I pray that you truly hear and feel the heart he has for God and for his church.
    No one’s perfect, but we should be encouraging and praying for each other. If you think your criticism is being done out of love, or to protect others from false teaching, then why is there so much strife and confusion in this thread?
    And critics, I’m just like you. I don’t attend Elevation. I’m not getting paid by Elevation. I’m looking at them from the outside. The difference is I see the heart of God in what they do. What do you see?

    • Brian

      Sean – Read Gena’s post. Sounds like a sweet girl. Hopefully she will find Jesus and hear the gospel. The only purpose of any criticism is to encourage Furtick to preach the gospel. Not himself, not a me-gospel, but the true gospel. I live here and want to see people saved, not converted into “elevators” but into disciples. Also, since you mentioned it, a pharisee is not always a bad thing. The biggest pharisee of them all ended up writing two-thirds of the New Testament, you remember Paul right? The problem of the pharisees was self-righteousness, it wasn’t their zeal for the Scriptures that was the problem, it was the fact that they thought they could work their way into heaven, but we know that you can’t do that. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works so that no one can boast. So, please don’t play that card, it doesn’t help further the conversation. I don’t know of anyone who hates Elevation or Furtick. They just want to see him repent and preach the biblical gospel. That’s it. That’s something we should all be able to unify around.

  • C. Smith

    “3. It is when a church sits in the confidence of God that they walk as confident as Elevation.”

    What does this mean exactly? Do you even know? What does it mean to “sit in the confidence of God?” Did the Lord command us to do that? What verse is it? This fluffy language, which no biblical reference, seems to be the norm from Elevators.

    “4. The city of Charlotte is literally changed because of the hands and feet of Elevation Church.”

    THIS is why people criticize Elevation. If this city has “literally” changed, it is not AT ALL the result of something Elevation, or Furtick, or you have done; it is the grace and mericful movement of God in the hearts of his people according to HIS will, not yours. God doesn’t NEED Elevation to be his hands and feet. There is already one Holy Spirit that doesn’t need an assistant.

    “5. When we begin to focus on how God is using US as opposed to how God is using another church, the beginning of revival can take place in our lives and in our cities.”

    Again, what does this even mean? When we realize that we are more preferred by God than another church, we can…….? We can? Senseless, narcisisstic comments like this are the provocation for the majority of Elevation’s critics.

  • Larry

    All I know is that I have met quite a few people who are regulars at Elevation. THey have been going for years. What I can tell you about the men, particularly, is that they are egotistical jerks who have no regard for others. They are the most uncaring and inconsiderate men I have ever met in my life. It’s hard to see a church growing so fast that has members that cannot even practice common decency in their everyday lives. It makes me think that they are not being taught how to implement Christianity. But this is what you get when your church is built on the “experience” and not the truth of the word. This is my personal experience and is what has driven me from ever attending Elevation again.

    • Sam

      Don’t judge the church as a whole based on a few people you met who attend. That doesn’t mean everybody at Elevation is like that

  • Joe

    When I see a modalist like TD Jakes in a church buiding, I have seen enough to know to avoid it. If there is any sense of sound doctrine there at all, Elevation Church should change its ways. TD Jakes is not a trinitarian; therefore, it is right to question what Jesus he preaches about. Elevation is spereading like a cancer making sick people fell better while infecting them with false teaching. Baptising people without even knowing what they beleive – – giving them a false sense of security in a god that they have imagined in their emotions rather than what is revealed in the Bible.

  • Jenifer

    I must be attending a different Elevation Church with a different Pastor Steven Furtick because I have not had the negative “experience” I’m reading about here. I read the tweet. I heard Pastor Matt Chandler’s sermon. I must be missing something. Where exactly is the problem?
    I came to Elevation out of curiosity, expecting to find a cult like “church” and instead found a home. I expected a pastor that would be arrogant and self-serving and found love and acceptance. I’ve attended church since birth and expected to hear teaching that was not Biblical. Instead I heard God speaking directly to me through Pastor Furtick. Elevation is not home for everyone. Elevation is not the only and best way to “do” church. Steven Furtick does not proclaim to know all or be the “one” that God has given all His instructions. There is no cult. Sinners? Definitely. Pastor Steven is one as well. The volunteers? All sinners. The audience? All sinners. It’s not about them. It’s about God.

    • Red

      You sound like every other Elevation member I have come across… always mentioning their pastor and putting him on a pedestal before ever mentioning Jesus. He’s just a man. If Furtick were to be taken today into heaven, I assure you the people in that church would fall apart. I have yet to meet any really strong Christians who go there. It’s like everyone is just waiting to hear what Steven Furtick has to say… and then they go about their merry way.

      • Gianni Crivello

        Excuse you, sir, we are commanded to give *real* honor to those who serve in our leadership. That is obedience, not cult effects.

        Listen – if you are not correcting sin, then you are commanded in the Lord Jesus to discontinue criticizing other brothers or assemblies of brothers or pastors joyfully leading over brothers. You will find this in the Scriptures if you seek.

        Out of love, brother, that you wouldn’t slander and that would experience freedom from being a critic. I need this comment also.

  • Jason

    this is what is wrong with christianity….you folks should stop meddling in everyones business…..Elevation is an amazing place, I never take anyones word as 100 percent truth…..You folks are judging and god is the ultimate judge, we will all have our day in front of him.

  • Bobby S.

    Just saw a car whose Lexus emblem was replaced by a diamond studded Elevation Church car emblem. I’m sure Jesus would approve!

    • Mary

      Really? You seriously considered putting that statement out there and then went and did it…wow. Um, first of all…NOBODY knows what Christ would think or not think…we only have his word to go by…and I am pretty dern sure there’s nothing in his word that says car emblems with diamond studs are prohibited. How do you know this man wasn’t given this “diamond studded car emblem?” In fact, how do you know it’s really diamonds? See…that really pisses me off…because you, like so many others who love to bash bash bash the hell out of something you THINK you know, but have no idea because of your pathetic inability to actually open your mouth and ask someone if indeed, something is as true as you believe it to be…you go off half cocked like a raving lunatic about something so incredibly trite as a car emblem! Oh, I forgot about the Lexus part…again, you don’t KNOW who owns the Lexus, what kind of a person who drives the lexus, what kind of a life the owner of the lexus has or had, what struggles, if any the Lexus person is going through…ect! Quit judging and begin asking questions before coming to false conclusions about people you know nothing about. Basing an opinion on something someone drives, lives in, says, does…is irrelevant in the eyes of the Almighty. Know your facts before you go off spouting untruths and inuendos about others! I drive a Toyota…does that mean I’m not as important as the Lexus driver…or that I don’t make as much money? See what I’m saying? Never judge a book by its cover. It’s immature.

      • Red

        I agree. I live in Charlotte and have been to that church about 6 times before deciding I had enough. I’m in my 20s. Been to the uptown and Matthews locations. It seems like the pastor (Furtick) is a great teacher but he’s really flashy and he tries too hard to dress very stylish, I think to try to convey to others that he is cool. I have seen him sporting gold chains, tight brand name shirts, that sort of thing… I don’t know but even the people who go there seem to be in some sort of cultish trance. They wear the shirts, all the members put Elevation logo’s on their car (you know, even the Masonic sect does this too), and it’s like if you become a member, you sort of “belong” to whatever it is they feel they belong to. I’m not a conservative Christian by any means. I have been and experienced moves of God. The only thing I want to belong to is what the holy spirit is doing. Most churches I am use to are of the pentecostal, holy spirit filled kind. Elevation just seems like a big, over the top production or show. It all comes across as some kind of performance… nothing is spontaneous or really free, though they really do think they are.. but I guess for a baptist church I can understand. Most baptist only hear the word but never really know what spirit filled worship or the prophetic or healing movement is about. I guess Elevation has a place in Charlotte, but it’s a seeker friendly church. It’s for people who are just first coming to know Jesus and need solid teaching and maybe they also need to feel like they are cool.

        • bcchristian

          Ditto. Went to gaston elevation today and saw a production. Heard no gospel or the teachings of GOD. There were black curtains at the rear of the auditorium as to conceal all the empty seats and to appear as though each seat was filled. Pastor showed an animated video. He told us a story of his college experience, then spent the remaing time (by the way it was a big digital count down clock at the rear) telling us we must bring someone to church next week complete with a pledge card to do so. Im thinking “what for”? To hear nothing. It wasnt even religious.

        • Sam

          I feel like that was such a closed minded thing. I have been attending elevation for two years know and I have grown so strong in my faith through Pastor Stevens teachings. And is it really a crime for him to try to look fashionable? Some men like to be stylish some dont, it has nothing to do with the quality of the church. And some people need that big production to worship. For me the loudness and intensity is what really gets me pumped up and excited to worship. We wear out t shirts and have our car stickers because we’re PROUD to be apart of a church that God is moving so powerfully through, it has nothing to do with a cult. And first of all it is not a Baptist church, we are non denominational. Second of all I have seen so many people grow so strong in their faith through Elevation. I have seen people who have gone to the church for several years and are still learning and growing. So don’t say it’s just for new comers. And it definitely has NOTHING to do with wanting to be, “cool”. People who say these things about Elevation don’t realize how ignorant and totally wrong they are. This church is changing lives and making a huge impact on the city of Charlotte

  • Mary

    Oh for heaven’s sake people! Do you see what’s going on here? All of you have let the devil get a foothold simply by arguing back and forth, back and forth! While everyone has a right to their beliefs, etc…it doesn’t make any sense to accuse someone of something unless there is proof of its existence!
    If you don’t like Elevation Church…don’t GO!

    I for one, am not a huge fan of “going to church”…any church actually simply based on the above…because I can’t stand the disharmony. Though I am a fallen away Catholic, every now and then I will accompany my husband to a mass service. I would sit there and think…wow, I’m going to hell because I’m in a church that I think is a cult…but then I thought…God knows my heart! He knows what I believe and what I don’t believe and my simply going to a church to sit, will not change the fact that he knows me inside and out!
    I loathe organized religion, I loathe going to church and I loathe people who sit around arguing about whose faith is of the utmost pios over anothers! Jesus Christ himself could never stand this type of thing then, and he still does not today! It divides us…all that fussing and arguing does is take our eyes off the Saviour! So, my recommendation is this: If you are not interested in going to EV..then DON’T! It’s a free country, you have a choice…isn’t that great! You can CHOOSE to sit your butt cheeks in a pew right up front and center to listen to whomever preaches there OR…you can simply NOT SHOW UP! And really, if you didn’t care about EV, why give it all of this attention by responding in the first place…it’s really a huge waste of time and it really is nonproductive on your part. Instead of bashing EC (by the way I think they seem like a nice establishment), ask yourself what YOU have done for the city of Charlotte and all of its starving individuals! Let me take it a bit further and really go off the deep end since I’m on a huge fat roll…If you are one of the many people getting ready to vote for a President who doesn’t have the poor folks of this city in mind because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, then you my friend…are just as bad as all the rest who turn their backs on the poor…not just in this fine city but ALL of America’s cities! Look at the plank in your own eye before scrutinizing the plank in your brothers eyes. The Bible…and For Christ’s sake (and I mean that)…let’s all just get along! Geez.

  • Mary

    BTW, It’s better that EVERYONE READ THEIR BIBLE and pray to the Lord Almighty about what kind of church he’d like you to attend instead of listening to others. He’ll give you the answers and once he does, you won’t care about what anyone else says because you’ll have your Lord and Savior on your team!

  • RB

    Shame… Showed their true colors. Those most in need are rejected and then not to apologize but confirm they will continue the practice of providing a “distraction free enviorment”… shame


  • lauren

    The point of elevation church is to get people closer to god and understand the bible more. There are many people who go to church and does not understand one thing the preacher is saying. Elevation breaks down each bible story and puts it into words you understand and can relate to.

  • Mike

    “As opposed to glorifying ourselves…”
    Glorifying yourselves is exactly what you are doing! Almost every statement in this blog is self-serving, self-aggrandizing filth. I have attended Elevation Church once – and precisely once – the Mother’s Day program at Blakeney last year. As soon as I stepped in the door, the Spirit of God told me I was standing in a whitewashed tomb – the air literally smelled of death. As a video reel was shown, patting yourselves on the back for your good works – featuring my sister, nonetheless – I could only shake my head in shame and sorrow. The clincher? Holly Furtick, on stage, praising not Christ, but herself and her family, while wearing around her neck in gold and diamonds, not the cross of Christ, but the symbol of Elevation Church. I pray that God opens the eyes of the blind, and delivers His children from the false gospel that men spew “in His name” for the purpose of lining their own pockets and feeding their own egos.
    Luke 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

    “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

    26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

    27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

  • Chris Leighton

    Furtick is constantly (I’m talking at least once a week) in a popular jewelry store in Charlotte’s rich side of town dropping thousands of dollars… Is that how a pastor should be spending his money? He’s driven to church by a convoy of trucks and has even hired body guards!! Someone’s head is getting WAY too big! I can’t stand him. He is a self-worshiping, ego-fueled maniac. I was a member at Elevation for about two years until I finally saw the light when a member of the congregation thanked Furtick for delivering him from his depression… The member NEVER ONCE MENTIONED CHRIST being the one to help him. One of my friends was baptized at Elevation and the day she was baptized was her last day at Elevation.. She said that Furtick told the light crew to use these lights and this sound effect and this background, etc. to make it as dramatic as possible… Um, hello! It’s baptism! It’s already dramatic! SO RIDICULOUS. PEOPLE GET OUT OF THAT CHURCH!

    • Nate

      Well, that’s just false.

  • alva

    I know people from elevation that only care about themselves.They know about homeless people and they look the other way.
    They talk about Jesus on churc sunday but the rest of the week they go back to they evils ways.

  • Brandon Edwards

    They told me and my Partner, we’re Gay, that we’re NOT WELCOME

  • modunk

    If you choose to get your Jesus through a flashy, showy service. Power to you. As long as you are getting and living the message of Jesus. Elevation is not my cup of tea, lifelong Catholic thank you, however, I am happy that so many young people find Jesus through Elevation. I also think there are great lessons to be learned from EVERY church. I take great comfort and pride in the teachings of Catholicism. I am sure the people of Elevation feel the same about their Church and Pastor. And as for flashy, high fashion or showy people, no one Church has the market on those.