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The house that Steven built

"The house that Steven built" Continued...

Issue: "2013 Daniel of the Year," Dec. 14, 2013

Furtick and Elevation have numerous advocates. All the money in the church’s $25 million budget came from thousands of willing donors, and the church claimed to give away about 12 percent of its 2012 budget—about $2.5 million—in “outreach” activities. But that number is not independently verifiable, and some of the money Elevation says it gives away appears to have been to Elevation’s own expansion efforts.

Furtick, for his part, remains unbowed. In November the church launched a campaign highlighting the stories of lives the church claims to have changed, and in a 2008 sermon posted on the Elevation Church website, Furtick said, “We’ve got to become more comfortable with controversy. We’ve learned how to tolerate it and move past it. Now it’s time for us to learn to view it as a gift, and use it to our advantage. Controversy is a precursor to promotion, and a training ground for greater things.”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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