Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick – “Pastor Steven” to his ever-growing flock – launched his Charlotte church in 2006. Here are 10 facts about him.
1. Named one of his sons Graham after Charlotte-born evangelist Billy Graham. (Furtick’s parents named him Larry Stevens Furtick Jr.)
2. Was recently listed as the fifth most powerful person in town by Charlotte magazine. (That’s two behind Michael Jordan and two ahead of retired Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl.)
3. Had a grandfather who was a Methodist minister. (Furtick’s church, Elevation, is Southern Baptist.)
Never miss a local story.
4. Appears to be a big fan of the “Rocky” movies. (He mentioned “Rocky IV” in his sermon last Sunday and in a recent Facebook Live. In the latter, he even did an impression of Sylvester Stallone.)
5. Is a numbers junkie, which explains why his church’s annual report includes the number of baptisms and decisions for Christ in the previous year. (“Our church is all about the numbers . ... It is unacceptable to me as a pastor that we would stop growing when the Lord wants to add to our number daily those who are being saved,” Furtick wrote in an Outreach magazine column in 2012.)
6. Started as a worship music team leader at Christ Covenant, a Baptist church in Shelby. (He is now listed as a co-writer of the songs from Elevation Worship, his church’s music team.)
7. Has a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. (Before that, he got a bachelor’s degree from Baptist-affiliated North Greenville University and graduated from Berkeley High School in his hometown of Moncks Corner, S.C.)
8. Was named last year to the “SuperSoul 100” by the Oprah Winfrey Network. (This “collection of 100 awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity” also included Bishop T.D. Jakes, author Deepak Chopra, rapper and film producer Common, and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.)
9. Was honored during Pastor Appreciation Month 2015 with a 3-minute rap-and-dance video starring Elevation staffers. (Modeled after “Downtown,” a rap video from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the refrain went like this: “Pastor/He has big arms/And has big faith/No word he says will go to waste/For well over 3,000 days/He always preaches down the place.”)
10. Picked an orange inverted-V as Elevation’s logo. (Now ubiquitous on bumper stickers all over Charlotte, the logo represents the resurrection of Christ.)