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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 5:41:33 PM

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Steven Furtick (born February 19, 1980) is the Lead Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the author of two books, Sun Stand Still and the New York Times bestselling release, Greater, which debuted at #4 on The New York Times Best Seller list.[1]

Furtick was born and raised in Moncks Corner, South Carolina and attended Berkeley High School.[2] At the age of 16, after reading the book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala, he "felt called to pastor a church in a major city".[3] Furtick received a B.A. in Communication from North Greenville University and a Masters of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.[4]

After serving as music director at a local church in Shelby, North Carolina, Furtick moved to Charlotte and started Elevation Church. The church had their first service on February 5, 2006.[5]

Outreach[edit]In 2008, Furtick made headlines when his church gave $40,000 to members in envelopes with $5, $20, even $1,000, and told them to spend it kindly on others.[3]

Under Furtick's leadership, Elevation Church has given more than $10 million to local and global outreach partners since 2006.[13] In 2011, a partnership with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx was established to give 100,000 hours and $750,000 to serve Charlotte people in "The Orange Initiative." [14]

Since 2010, Furtick has hosted a week long outreach in February at Elevation Church called "Love Week."[15] During the church's 2010 "Love Week," thousands of Elevation members packed more than 10,000 sandwiches for the homeless, helped single mothers get their cars serviced, donated blood, cleaned up parks and streets, built a soccer field for local ministries and renovated buildings.[16] In 2011, Furtick led Elevation and over 25 other local churches to serve more than 34,000 hours in a single week.[15] In 2012, Elevation partnered with 31 local churches to serve 62 outreach organizations for a total of 50,340 hours around the city of Charlotte, N.C.. More than 4,800 volunteers from Furtick's church and other local churches served at more than 400 events, building houses, stocking food pantries, feeding the hungry and homeless, and holding a senior prom for elderly nursing home residents. Furtick and Elevation Church also partnered with Presbyterian Hospital-Matthews to pledge $80,000 to help fund enhancements and expansion at a local free clinic.[17]

In honor of the release of his new book, Greater, Furtick gave away more than 2,200 book bags filled with school supplies, one bag for every book sold. The book bags were distributed throughout the U.S. and in the U.K. Hundreds more were sent to the gulf region in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.[6]

In 2012, in response to a need of 1,000 mentors for students in Charlotte-area schools, Furtick launched an outreach program at Elevation Church called the M1 Initiative. Furtick, seeking to fill the gap of 1,000 needed mentors solely with Elevation members, said, "We have always said we want to be a blessing to our city and support our leaders with a volunteer force they can count on." More than 1,600 members responded and committed to mentoring a child for the 2012-2013 school year.[6]

Personal life[edit]Furtick and his wife, Holly, have three children; Abbey, Elijah and Graham.[4]

In 2013, Furtick and his wife built a large house (8,400 sq. ft, heated, 16,000 sq. ft total) on 19 acres of land in Waxhaw, NC, a suburb of Charlotte.[18] The house and land are valued at just over $1.7 million and was paid for with money the New York Times Best Selling Author received through book sales and publisher advances, rather than his salary from Elevation Church.[19][20] The Church has refused to answer questions about Furtick's salary, his tax-free housing allowance, how much he makes from books and speaking fees,[21] with Elevation only saying that Furtick is generous to the church with the money he receives from writing books, arranges for the church to purchase his books directly from the publisher at the author's discount and keep the money from sales, and that the publisher pays the church to produce marketing materials to promote Furtick's books. Elevation has confirmed that Furtick's salary is set by a Board of Overseers comprised of other megachurch pastors, who vote on his salary based on a compensation study conducted by an outside firm, and that Furtick does not vote on his own salary.[13][22] In response to the news report, before his sermon on the weekend of October 27, 2013, Furtick addressed the congregation directly, saying he was sorry if the house and surrounding questions caused them to have difficult conversations with co-workers, friends and neighbors.[21]

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