So this year I have become SO close with two of my best friends at APP, Caroline and Lori! Caroline and Lori are both from the Charlotte area and are huge fans of Elevation Church and attend Elevation as much as possible when they're home.
But first lets rewind to a few years back when Elevation started...
The first Elevation campus was at Providence High School (my high school) which is literally like right across the street from my home church, Carmel Baptist.
Carmel Baptist means SO MUCH to me. My family is deeply rooted in that church. My grandfather used to be the pastor there, my Dad helped dig the ground for a new building, my Mom and Dad both went to youth group there together. I grew up going to that church. I was dedicated there, went to sunday school there, VBS, church camp...any church trip, I was on it. Both sets of grandparents went there and I had made a lot of friends and memories at that church.
So when Elevation started, to say I didn't like Elevation would be an understatement. I seriously had passionate hatred toward Elevation. I hated their location, the fact that they took away members from Carmel, and I wasn't friends with a lot of the students from my high school that went there.
I knew a lot of kids at my high school that went to Elevation that I didn't even know were Christians and who would get wasted saturday night and then all go to Elevation together the next morning. I was also so upset when the numbers at Carmel began to drop and the numbers at Elevation started to go up. I felt like it was unfair and it was kind of like a slap in the face when old Carmel members stopped driving the extra 10 feet to Carmel and instead pulled into the Providence parking lot.
In one of my Comm classes first semester we even brought up Elevation and I accused a lot of the students there of being hypocrites in front of the whole class. (How very christian of me, right?)
So anyway, these negative feelings didn't end until recently.
Earlier in the year, My Aunt Britney and Uncle Brent had started going to Elevation and since I had heard such amazing things about it from Lori and Caroline, I decided to stop being judgmental and prideful and actually experience Elevation for myself.
I loved it.
Seriously, like really really really REALLY loved it.
And I was really mad at myself for putting it down so much without having even been there. I was the one who now felt like a hypocrite. Why should I care who goes to this church or how they dress or where they're located? Shouldn't I be glad that the students from Providence that weren't living a life to please God were going somewhere to hear about how much He loved them?
Elevation was bringing in CROWDS AND CROWDS of people and witnessing to people that weren't exactly keen on church in general.
I was sitting here degrading this church when I should have been Elevating the spread of God's love.
At Elevation, the band, the pastor, Steven Furtick, and the congregation were all so passionate about worshipping God and that's all that mattered.
If all of the people that were leading the church weren't on fire for God and honoring him with their lives, I know that Elevation wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are now.
So, I want to apologize to Elevation. I think I felt like they were taking away from my Church home when in reality we are all a body of believers and are brothers and sisters in Christ.
I now LOVE Elevation and am SO SO SO you have no idea excited for what they are going to be doing in the future.
So, I apologize Elevation.
Keep doing what you do and maybe all the haters like I used to be will turn into lovers of God's incredible work through Elevation in Charlotte!