Pastor Steven Furtick is known for being the founder of the Charlotte, North Carolina megachurch Elevation Church, but now he’s the subject of a lot of criticism after it was discovered that he’s building a 16,000 square foot mansion valued at $1.6 million.
Furtick first founded Elevation Church in 2006, and it’s grown a lot since its start. Just this year, it was reported that it gets an average of 15,000 people every week.
After founding the Charlotte megachurch, Furtick quickly rose to fame and has since authored a number of popular books. Now, after much criticism has come about in regards to the mansion he built, Furtick maintains that it has nothing to do with the church or the church’s money.
“I've been feeling sorry for myself because they tell me there's this news reporter trying to do this story where he wants to make our church look bad,” said Furtick in a September sermon. “Now me and Holly, this year, we're building a house. We've been looking for a piece of land to build a house for our family for a long time. It started to mess with me a little bit because I thought this ain't right. I didn't even build that house with money from the church. I built it with money from my books and I gave money to the church from the books and you start getting real defensive and being like this ain't right. This ain't right.”
According to reports, the deed on the house is not under Furtick’s name, but under the name of the Juniper Drive Trust. Many are calling Furtick out on his lavish home, which Furtick calls “not that great.”
Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation is one of those critics, and he echoes the sentiments of many others around the world.
“The pastor should be the servant of his people,” said Anthony. “He should be the one that is most transparent. It saddens me to see what the church is becoming. “