Christmas 2011, in partnership with Habitat Charlotte we fully funded and built our first Habitat home. Since then, we’ve fully funded a second home in Charlotte and volunteered in dozens of Habitat for Humanity projects.
I was so moved during the worship experience tonight when Pastor Steven presented two young men the scholarships they so desperately needed. Both young men participate with one of our outreach partners, Right Moves for Youth. The high-school seniors were the first in their family ever to be accepted into college. Elevation learned of their stories through our partner and wanted to help. I am so proud and blessed to belong to a church that learns of a need and then meets that need. I am so honored that God uses a portion of my giving to bless others. Knowing that I get to be a part of something much bigger than me is indescribable. Thank you Elevation Church!
Giving honors God. Giving honors others. Giving shows love to God. Giving shows love to people. Giving changes you. Simply put, giving matters! From a young age, my wife and I were taught that tithing and giving should be in the DNA of every committed Christian. In fact, the only time in Scripture that God says to "test me" relates to His promise to bless those who bring their tithe (or first fruits) to their church. Tithing and giving becomes even more powerful and inspiring when a church like ours uses God's resources so mightily to reach people with the love of Christ and meet needs in our community and world.
We give because we believe in God's Word and the vision of Elevation Church. We are so blessed to regularly see the impact of our church's giving. For example, our eGroup has teamed with one of Elevation's outreach partners, One7, to provide hot meals to and build relationships with more than 125 kids from inner city, cross cultural communities on a monthly basis. Also, during Love Week, the love shown to and impact made on the families at Hope Haven (Elevation renovated facilities and gave over $55,000) was just so humbling and inspiring. Our church also stepped up big and donated more than $100,000 to relief efforts in Japan. All of this was done because we are called to love God and love people. This is how it is supposed to work - people like you and me obeying God by tithing and giving to a church like Elevation, which is impacting lives in our community and world. Giving matters - if you don't think so, ask one of the children or families touched by God through our church. All praise to Him!
After volunteering in Outreach, I can't even begin to describe how much MORE I was served, compared to the time I spent serving at the Girl's Night Out event! When I got home to my roommate, I just broke down in tears. God honored and favored me when He gave me each and every girl who sat before me that night. Growing up, I came from a very unstable household. Alcoholism, physical and sexual abuse were some of the things that affected my childhood, and when I heard that some of these girls had experienced the same things in their lives, it broke my heart and even shook me a bit. I know what it feels like to not feel worth much. These girls told me that our event made them feel amazing, like queens, and even celebrities. I got to see, through God's love and grace, how 12 minutes with each girl could change a life, my life. I really just became overwhelmed with emotion, and I am so thankful! Elevation has done so many things for me; I really do love our church and am so thankful God has placed me in a position where He can show me that when we serve others, not ourselves, we truly begin to understand Jesus. Thank you for allowing me to serve and be served. I wouldn't exchange these memories for all the money in the world.
I am so thankful I got to be a part of this event. I really don't think I can express how much these girls touched my life.
Being a teenage mother has not been easy, but I hold my head high because I know there are better and brighter days ahead because of what I have learned through Safe Journey. The Safe Journey Program has taught me life skills that have helped me raise and take care of my daughter. The program has provided me encouragement and it has given me the motivation to continue on when times became tough to handle. I am looking forward to college and studying to become a registered nurse. I want to help other young women like I have been helped by the Safe Journey program and Elevation Church.
For me, outreach started at Piney Grove Elementary School (where I teach) the week before school started in August. I created an event on "The City" asking eGroups to volunteer to help stuff "back to school info" packets to be sent home to parents at a school of primarily underprivileged kids. About 15 volunteers showed up to help, and we were done in record time. My principal could not believe what she saw. It usually takes several people and several days to accomplish this project, but Elevators were able to get it done in hours.
A couple of months passed, and another outreach event was created. Elevation partnered with two area churches, New Charlotte and Carmel Baptist, to help clean up the school and to do several projects around our campus. Hands on Charlotte, one of Elevation's Outreach Partners, ran the project. It was great to see several churches partnered together to work in the community. Again, my principal and the students were blown away from the generosity of the church.
During Love Week, I was blown away by the generosity of Elevation. The Elevation outreach team created a "Teacher Appreciation Basket" event for people to sign up for during Love Week. The emails came in throughout the week, and people came bringing several baskets at a time each day during Love Week. I was able to give EVERY employee at Piney Grove a basket. They were all blown away. I even had the privilege of giving out the baskets to each teacher during our staff meeting, and to see the look on their face when they were receiving the baskets was priceless. We even had the honor of the Elevation Staff reading to our students during an event called, "Drop Everything and Read". Each Elevation staff member was assigned a classroom and book. They read the book to the class and spent time with the students. The staff were celebrities to these students. They talked about "their person" all week. After each Elevation staff member read, they all gathered into the cafeteria. Pastor Furtick surprised Piney Grove with a check for $5,000 to buy books for the Media Center and classroom sets of books to help improve our reading scores. Again, the staff at Piney Grove were blown away. I am so thankful for the generosity of Elevation!
God is truly using Elevation Church! Lynn
My story begins during the New Thru 30 Series. Elevation was having a push for eGroups. We were already leading a couples group when my husband, Brian, decided that we would lead another group. We were then leading a couples group and a New Thru 30 group. That's when we met Adam and Karen Rummel. They had just started attending Elevation a couple months earlier. Adam was dealing with something personal and he really didn't want to come to group. Fortunately for his sake, Karen didn't give him a choice. So he showed up faithfully during those four weeks. After the New Thru 30 series ended, we decided to remain as their eGroup leaders because we felt God was telling us that we weren't done with this group yet, or they weren't done with us. Shortly thereafter, we participated in Elevation's first Love Week, where we got a glimpse of Adam and Karen's passion for serving. During the following months, I watched Adam and Karen grow in their love for one another, as well as their walk with God.
Moving forward to the summer of 2010, Adam and Karen informed us that they would be helping out with Elevation's Extreme Home Makeover at Jackson Park. They asked for our support and we agreed to help volunteer as much as possible. Adam was very frustrated after the first couple of days into the project. He wanted to give up and "throw in the towel". That night, Adam had a dream that only God could have revealed to him. The next day, his whole perspective changed. He realized this project was not about him, it was so much bigger. It was about reaching the lost, being a light in this dark world. It was about being the hands and feet of God. I watched them work tirelessly for weeks on that project, without complaint. Because of their agreement to help with Jackson Park, our eGroup bonded in a way that's unbreakable. Due to that event, our eGroup serves in Outreach on a weekly basis and we love it.
Adam and Karen continue to talk about how much Brian and I have changed their lives, but on the contrary, they have changed ours. Through them, my heart has grown for serving those who are less fortunate. I'm excited to see God's love and grace continue to move in them and through them.
It was a cold and rainy Saturday morning, so I wasn't sure who would actually show up to an outside event that involved cleaning railroads for the City of Charlotte. A mom and her two children came in raincoats and announced they were ready to pick up trash. I gave them their trash bags and instructions before they promptly began cleaning litter along the tracks. Awhile later the family came back to me. The mom was smiling from ear to ear and said she wanted to tell me a story. The woman shared that the weekend prior they learned about Love Week during a worship experience. Her son Jacob said, "Mom, I want to do this." The woman replied, "Son, we can't do it this year, we have your birthday party on Saturday. We will have to do it next year." Later that day, Jacob went to his mom and said, "I want to cancel my birthday party and volunteer for Love Week instead!" They cancelled the birthday party and served instead by picking up trash along the railroad. I saw that Jacob's mom was so proud of his decision, even a boy turning ten years old felt the Lord impress on his heart how important it is to be selfless and give your time to others. I love that Elevation Church challenges us to make a difference, no matter your age.
Thank you Elevation Church for making some exceptionally deserving young ladies very happy tonight! The Girls' Night Out event was truly an incredible experience that myself along with the teens will always remember. To witness over 200 people give of their time so that teen girls could experience life change through the ministry of the church is nothing but amazing! The truth is that the structure and workings of a church are only as good as those who serve.
I personally believe that we serve an incredibly amazing God… I also believe that God builds His church with people who are willing to love and serve others. Elevation Church is the finest example of how God wants us to love and serve others. Thank you Elevation! Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?" Again, thank you Elevation Church for serving and loving others.
Safe Journey/APP Program Director
Before this weekend, I had never served in any capacity at Elevation Church. After I went online and was able to see different events and even how many other volunteers would participate, I felt led to sign-up. I am so happy I did! I cannot believe how easy it was to serve. Once I arrived, I was greeted by another volunteer, who walked me to the area where I would be serving. If it hadn't been so easy, I would have never served. If I weren't there that day, I would have never met Desiree. Desiree had been a participant with one of our Outreach Partners and explained to me that she was now a freshman in college. She hugged me and thanked me for going to Elevation. I must have looked confused because she then explained to me that last year she was given a scholarship and a laptop from Elevation Church and how the gifts made the difference for her to be able to attend college. I had no idea our church had done such an amazing thing. I realized that even though I didn't know at first, I actually was a part in helping Desiree. I know that 12% of everything I give goes to our partners, I was able to be a part of Desiree going to college. I feel so incredibly blessed to go to a church that is doing God's work and is making such an impact on the lives of so many like Desiree.
I feel so blessed by our church! I just learned we are giving the full 12% of this weekend's offering to Japan through our Outreach Partners, Samaritan's Purse and Churches Helping Churches. It is amazing we can react so quickly to such a devastating tragedy. In addition to blessing Japan, this also affects me personally. My brother has been studying in Japan for the last year and by the grace of God was near Tokyo the morning of the tragic earthquake and tsunami, not further north like he was scheduled to be. My brother is unhurt physically, but has shared so many painful stories of lost friends. I know we are making a huge difference by sending water, blankets and food to Japan. I am so grateful we can be God's hands and feet to another country half a world away that is experiencing so much destruction, pain, and fear. Thank you Elevation for utilizing the power of partnership to make such an impact in our world!