Recently our team visited Elevation Church’s Providence Campus. This is “where it all began” according to Associate Campus Pastor Gene Lackey and tons of their volunteers. The Providence Campus still meets in a high school, so we felt like they would be an ideal place to learn how to do portable church, for when we launch in Sequoyah High School in just a few months.
We made the drive to Charlotte on Saturday night and arrived at the school around 6:30 on Sunday morning. Their usual schedule begins at 5:45 with production load in, but they had done that the night before with a team of volunteers from their 2 newest campuses in Rock Hill and University to help train them for their launch this past Sunday. So upon arrival we hooked up with Gene, who got our team members connected to the corresponding ministry team (kids, guest services, production, etc).
Elevation is an amazing story. Pastor Steven Furtick and his team have seen unbelievable results in the last 5+ years (15,000 salvations, 5000 baptisms, etc).
Here were some of the biggest takeaways from our visit:
- Connecting the Dots. Better than anywhere I’ve seen, Elevation was great at helping volunteers understand why they were doing what they were doing. I watched several interactions where team leaders encouraged volunteers with a story of life change. These stories were fuel to the fire. The Elevation system of getting these stories to their team leaders is important, but the leaders utilizing them to motivate and empower was awesome.
- What drives you? At Elevation it was Vision and Culture. They believe in the Vision, and they defend the Culture of their church. The vision is why they do it, and the culture is how they do it. Both are important, and we heard everyone from paid staff, to adult volunteers, to students talking about these elements.
- Value Excellence. As I stated with our previous visit, you can do portable church with all the possible excuses that come with it or you can do church with excellence in a portable location. Elevation does the latter at Providence. They go above and beyond to turn the school into a church. Their production setup was unbelievable, but they go out of their way to give that same attention to detail in the children’s area, lobby, and volunteer headquarters.
Obviously there were tons of specific little takeaways that will benefit our journey for portable church, but these were the big things that we walked away with. I had lunch with one of our team members today, and he was still talking about the experience, now several weeks ago. That speaks volumes to me.
Thanks so much to Josh Blackson, Gene Lackey, Chris Pollard, and all the volunteers, team leaders, and attenders of a great church for letting us crash the party and glean from you.