South Charlotte

Growth is the norm at Elevation Church

Elevation, the Charlotte church recently recognized as the fourth-fastest-growing church in America by Outreach Magazine, has announced it will launch two new campuses Sept. 11.

The addition of these two sites will bring the number of Elevation campuses in the Charlotte area to six.

The campuses will be a University location operating out of the University City YMCA, at 8100 Old Mallard Creek Road, and a Rock Hill location at Northwestern High School, 2503 West Main St. Both locations will have a 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. service Sundays.

Tonia Bendickson, communications director for Elevation Church, said the new campuses came about as a part of the church acquisition team's continuing search for opportunities to reach people.

Since opening its Blakeney campus in November, that location has been at or above capacity every week for the 11:15 a.m. worship service.

Pastor Steven Furtick said he first felt his life's mission when he was 16. While he was reading "Fresh Wind Fresh Fire" by Jim Cymbala, the statement "I despaired at the thought of my life passing me by without seeing God move greatly on my behalf" stood out as a catalyst for him, Furtick said.

Elevation Church was founded when Furtick and his family, with seven other families, sold their homes, quit their jobs and moved from Shelby to Charlotte. The first service was held Feb. 5, 2006, at Providence High School; 121 people attended that service.

In the last five years, attendance has grown to more than 9,000, with 2,158 people baptized during the last message series.

Frank Bealer, the new Rock Hill campus pastor, says he is thankful to be a part of the life-change at Elevation.

"I can't wait to see marriages healed, addictions broken and people living life with purpose found only in Jesus," he said.

Larry Brey, pastor at the University campus, echoed Bealer's sentiments: "We truly believe that our new Elevation University campus will make a significant difference in countless lives and families in that area."

Elevation Church has given more than $ 3.4 million to local and global outreach partners since 2006.

This spring, the church established a partnership with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to give 100,000 hours and $750,000 to serve the people of Charlotte in an effort called Operation Orange. Staff members at the Rock Hill location currently are seeking a local outreach partner from York or Lancaster county.