The Cult of the Visioneer

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Jim's picture

What Furtick’s Millions (& the “We Serve a Lead Pastor” Mantra) Might Mean


1. We serve a Lead Pastor who seeks and hears from God. The image here is a one-man, top-down leadership hierarchy claiming to have a direct line to God. This is recipe for all kinds of power abuse, and historically has led to disaster.

3. We serve a Lead Pastor we can trust. Really? If that’s true, do you have to say it? Methinks thou protesteth too much. And the subtext here is: you better not question the Lead Pastor.

7. We serve a Lead Pastor who pours into us spiritually and professionally. This reinforces the hero/guru/celebrity myth where receiving any attention from the Lead Pastor is some kind of magic and the highest privilege.

16. We serve a Lead Pastor who goes first. This means that Pastor Steven is the one who takes the risks and takes the hits. But it should become obvious that what’s really happening is that the Lead Pastor is going first in financial profit and power over people. And the celebrity life he  leads sets a (mostly unreachable) standard for his staff and congregation to aspire to.

josh p's picture

   This stuff has really taken hold. The worst part is the way scripture is twisted to "support" the idea. 

Jay's picture

Here's the full thing, excerpted from their materials:

“We understand what God has done in and through our church is not normal. The only explanation is God’s hand of favor and mercy over a group of people willing to follow Him faithfully. To help maintain our unity, tone, and trajectory, we developed 12 core values as a church that make us unique. We call it The Code.”

1. We Act in Audacious Faith
In order to dominate a city with the gospel of Jesus, we can’t think small. We will set impossible goals, take bold steps of faith and watch God move.

2. We Are a Generation of Honor
We freely give honor to those above us, beside us and under us because of the calling and potential God has placed inside of them.

3. We Lead the Way in Generosity
Our staff and church will go above and beyond to give sacrificially to the work of God in our city.

4. We Are United Under One Vision
Elevation is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven. We will aggressively defend our unity and that vision

5. We Need Your Seat
We will not cater to personal preference in our mission to reach this city. We are more concerned with the people we are trying to reach than the people we are trying to keep.

6. We Think Inside The Box
We will embrace our limitations. They will inspire our greatest creativity and innovation

7. We Dress For The Wedding
We will continually increase our capacity by structuring for where we want to go, not where we are. We will remain on the edge of our momentum by overreacting to harness strategic momentum initiatives.

8. We are Ruth’s Chris, Not Golden Corral
Simplicity enables excellence. We place a disproportionate value on creating a worship experience that boldly celebrates Jesus and attracts people far from God.

9. We Are All About The Numbers
Tracking metrics measures effectiveness. We unapologetically set goals and measure progress through all available quantitative means.

10. We Eat The Fish And Leave The Bones
We will always maintain a posture of learning. We seek to learn from everyone and incorporate a variety of influences into our methodology.

11. We Are Known for What We Are For
We will speak vision and life over our people. We will lift up the salvation of Jesus rather than using our platform to condemn.

12. We Will Not Take This for Granted
What we are experiencing is not normal. This is the highest calling, and we will remain grateful for God’s hand of favor.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick: 16,000-square-foot house is gift from God


Furtick continued by reiterating his commitment to creating a “ministry of integrity.” “That has not changed, and that will not change,” he said. He added that the church provides followers with access to copies of audited financial statements of the church, although Furtick has yet to make those statements public. Furtick has also refused to reveal how much he makes from books and speaking engagements. He has also not disclosed his salary, which is not determined by the congregation but instead an appointed “Board of Overseers” comprised of other mega-church pastors.

Who Are the Megachurch Leaders Who Decide Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick's 'Secret' Salary ?


"Pastor Dino Rizzo (Healing Place Church – Baton Rough, LA), Dr. Jack Graham (Prestonwood Baptist Church – Plano, TX), Pastor Perry Noble (Newspring Church – Anderson, SC), Pastor Kevin Gerald (Champions Centre – Seattle, WA), Pastor Stovall Weems (Celebration Church – Jacksonville, FL), [and] Pastor Steven also serves on the Board, but does not vote on his salary." The Board of Overseers members were personally recruited by Pastor Furtick, according WCNC-TV.

Jim's picture

Elevation Church planting converts? It’s just logical Arminianism

the church admits it plants people in the audience who will be the first to move in order to get the stream of baptisms started. As the “How To Guide” itself says, “Fifteen people will sit in the worship experience and be the first ones to move when pastor gives the call.

“Sit in the auditorium and begin moving forward when pastor Steven says go.”

“Move intentionally through the highest visibility areas and the longest walk.”

It further instructs to have people to “act as human door props” to facilitate movement. They are reminded to “Smile and clap showing people you are excited they came forward.” Then, it says to have 30 to 60 people in transition hallways to create a “critical mass” of people moving about. It says to manufacture the emotion: “Create an atmosphere of Celebration for those being baptized as they walk toward the changing rooms…this needs to be HUGE and over the top celebration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

DLCreed's picture

The Charlotte NBC Affiliate and the Charlotte Observer believe they are onto a story akin to the 1980's Jim Bakker/PTL scandal and there have been over a dozen stories between them in the last 3-4 months.  Sadly, this has caused a stir across the region among churches who are being asked a lot of questions as it relates to these topics of their own churches -- guilt by association, I guess.  What it has fostered is a fresh wave of cynicism in the entire community and people everywhere talk about it.  As for the "Elevators" (this is what Elevation members call themselves locally), it has only hardened their loyalty to Furtick who is now seen as a maligned and persecuted spiritual leader.

This is an old one:

SuzanneT's picture

Furtick has been a kook for awhile, this development is just more of the Elevation ice-berg being revealed. Some of these guys don't don't even bother with the lamb suit any more. It's leaders who share fellowships (whether directly or indirectly) with such men that are more worrisome--that and the young ones being dragged into this with their families Sad