Elevation Church’s 2016 annual report shows growth

A 2016 annual report from Charlotte’s Elevation Church showed continued growth in attendance, revenue and social media reach last year. But the three-part report, which was posted Friday and promoted at Sunday’s worship services, appeared to leave out key information, such as who now sits on the church’s board of overseers and how the group determines Pastor Steven Furtick’s salary.

And what was the average weekly collection in 2016? Such details have been included in some of the church’s past annual reports.

The accent in the latest report was on growth and expansion.

Elevation, already one of the fastest-growing evangelical churches in America, continued to open new locations last year, most notably in Ballantyne and Rock Hill. And it saw its average weekly attendance grow by 18 percent in 2016 – to 22,036 people.

Its overall revenue jumped from $41.3 million in 2015 to $47.1 million last year.

Also included in the report’s avalanche of numbers were increases of 256 percent in YouTube subscribers (to a total of 146,120), 95 percent in Instagram followers (to 163,077), 87 percent in Facebook followers (to 193,411) and 25 percent in Twitter followers (to 113,083).

In a video for “annual report weekend” that was shown during the church’s Sunday’s services, or “worship experiences,” Elevation Chief Financial Officer Chunks Corbett talked up the money the church gave to charities last year ($5.7 million) and has given to them since the church’s founding ($25.8 million).

But Elevation officials did not return phone calls, texts and emails from the Observer regarding questions about what is in – and not in – the report.

For example: Why no mention of the church’s board of overseers? In Elevation’s 2011 annual report, the members – Furtick and five out-of-town megachurch pastors – were identified. There was also an explanation of how a salary study performed by an independent CPA firm came up with a basic salary range for Furtick and…

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