Pastor Stephen Furtick of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a passionate man who does not grant many interviews to the media. The last one he gave was in 2008.
Furtick's Elevation Church has grown widely throughout the Charlotte area since then, and has almost 20,000 churchgoers in attendance each week. In a rare interview with WCCB News reporter Morgan Fogarty during the week of Nov. 8, Furtick talked about the growth of the church in such a short time. He said that while standing in front of a congregation sometimes makes him nervous, it is where he believes he is meant to be.
"Did you ever imagine ten years ago it would grow to this?" he said.
"I imagined that we would have influence. I dreamed big. I dreamed big. I hoped. I certainly didn't think it would be in 10 years that we would reaching 20,000 people every week."
Furtick has come under scrutiny amidst the success of the Elevation Church. In October 2013, there was confusion after he built a 16,000-square-foot house in Union County and then told congregants during a sermon that "it was not that great of a house."
Raw Story reports that Furtick then reversed himself a short while later in October, saying “It’s a big house, and it’s a beautiful house, and we thank God for it…we understand everything we have comes from God.”
Elevation Church officials addressed the controversy by assuring members of the congregation that the house was not a gift from the church and was paid mainly through Furtick's income from books that he had written or would write in the future. Furtick told has written three books and told WCCB News in his recent interview that he plans to release a 4th one in March 2016.
When asked if he will release detailed financial records to quell the controversy, Furtick declined.
"Oh, no. I would never make a decision about the church's finances based on the agenda of a reporter," he said.
Elevation Church posts its financial records on its website.