Have you ever attended a worship experience at Elevation Church? Have you downloaded their original worship music? Have you read Pastor Steven Furtick’s books? His blog?
I have. Because, rather than hoping God will come to me, I would much rather go to where I know God is moving. Bono conveyed a similar sentiment at the National Prayer Breakfast several years back when he said, “God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill… I hope so. He may well be with us as in all manner of controversial stuff… maybe, maybe not… But the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor.” Therefore, we are more likely to be a part of a movement of God if we go to where we know He is at work.
I have shared my thoughts on the topics of competition and starting with why, but the biggest reason why 801South will not try to be Elevation Church is because Elevation is a movement of God and there is no copying a movement of God. There is only one Elevation. There is only one Mars Hill. There is only one Life Church. There is only one New Charlotte. There is only one Matthews UMC. There will be only one 801South.
We can learn from movements of God that arise through godly leaders with magnetic visions. We can grab some “take-aways,” and attempt to tweak them for use in our context, but we cannot copy them. In experiencing different churches, conferences, and missions, I have come to understand that, although they are all very different in strategy and implementation, the one key similarity among them all is the evangelical urgency of the senior leadership. This past year, while serving as the senior leadership, the most important aspect of godly leadership I learned can be summed up in one word: Dependence. For six years as an associate pastor (and many more in various ministries prior to being a “professional Christian”), I thought it was all about making the right decision and choosing your words carefully. But it’s not. Rather, I have seen God work again and again through my dependence on Him.
We are looking for a different breed to be a part of the leadership at 801South. To make a generation of new disciples, we need more dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide us through fresh expressions of the Gospel, as well as what it looks like to follow Jesus today. We need people who are passionate about living a life of worship and expressing their devotion to Jesus. We need people with an evangelical urgency. We need less religion, tradition, and church as many have known it. Ultimately, we will be looking for those who are most comfortable in living dependently for the sake of a new movement.