Reboot Charlotte: The Changing Charlotte Church
Charlotte, NC - Sunday morning in Charlotte and the Church has made a change.
It's loud, in your face & sitting back is not allowed.
Here are three churches that let you experience worship all the way to your toes.
A volunteer smiles and says, “Welcome to Elevation!” It's a non-traditional Southern Baptist Church where 'come as you are' means exactly that.
Elevation Blakeney is one of six campuses where Pastor Steven Furtick simulcasts a message of faith and service.
Executive Pastor Chunks Corbett says, “We've tried to leverage technology for all that we can to continue to reach people where they are in their area of the city."
Elevation's volunteers donate 5,000 hours each month.
Corbett says you'll find them everywhere from food pantries to construction projects, “It's the people of Elevation Church that are helping make an impact on the city."
Around the corner, the congregation at Forest Hill Community Church's new third campus at the Morrison YMCA in Ballantyne is also combining tradition and technology.
Pastor David Chadwick says, “We're in the community. We're serving, we're giving our lives away."
Chadwick says that serving the people of Charlotte is part of what makes Forest Hill effective, teams of volunteers reach out to multiple generations.
Chadwick says, “They're reaching out to their friends and bringing them and the friends then come here and they receive Christ and reach their friends."
Even more "traditional" churches are adapting for the next generation.
Pastor Clifford Jones of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church says, “The message is the same, the content is still the same. But I think we've had to repackage it light of the 21st Century."
Pastor Clifford Jones delivers three Sunday morning worship services at Friendship. There are also programs for children and teenagers plus outreach groups that help homeless women for example.
Jones says, “The people have a responsibility who come to church to take the church to the community."
These churches are bucking the trend, thriving & growing despite numbers that say fewer American's are going to church. Experts say it's because they're not afraid to change & innovate.
Dr. Rod Cooper studies church trends at Gordon Conwell Seminary.
Cooper says, “When they come in and the music and the way people dress and even the language that's being spoken is non-church-y, that really draws people in and gives them a sense that 'they know what I'm doing through.'"
Cooper says that's why these three churches are willing to try something different to change their city.
Jones says, “It's about making people better and life better for people."
Corbett says, “The message we preach is old school."
Chadwick says, “We realize the culture around us is doing new things."
The move toward more modern worship goes beyond these three churches.
Temple Beth El regularly offers contemporary & inclusive Sabbath services and Charlotte's Muslim American Society is on of the few mosques in the country where men & women pray together.