Steven Furtick: The Pastor

Elevation Church’s Steven Furtick is dedicated to using his church to help this city

Steven Furtick wasn’t living in Charlotte when he decided to launch a church here with seven otherfamilies. He was living in Shelby, forty miles west of Charlotte, where he worked in the music ministry at a local church.

“One night we were driving through Charlotte and I felt in my heart that this is a great city and that we could make a difference here,” says Furtick, thirty-one. The families quit their jobs, sold their homes, and in February 2006 held their first service for 121 people in Providence High School’s atrium. Five years later the Southern Baptist church, which they named Elevation, has 11,000 members who meet at six locations around the city. Most members only see Furtick on screen as his sermon is simulcast.

Attendees get a sing-along Christian rock concert followed by Furtick’s impassioned preaching.

And Furtick’s dream of making a difference? The church, which has more than twenty local outreach partners, has given away more than $3.4 million internationally and locally. “I recently pledged to Mayor Foxx that we’d give the city 100,000 hours of community service this year,” says Furtick, who also agreed for the church to provide $750,000 to help the people of Charlotte through organizations that work with everyone from teen moms to those affected by Down syndrome.

The young father of three admits that his work and seemingly overnight success are hard at times, but says that’s a good thing. “I’ve never felt more overwhelmed,” says Furtick. “But I’ve also never felt more confident that this is what God wants me to do.”

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