Last night WCNC in Charlotte aired Stuart Watson's expose on the Steven Furtick $1.7 Million mansion being built on 19 acres. The Charlotte Observer also has posted an article about Furtick. Looks like Satan is busy attacking Steven there in Charlotte. Perhaps even two helicopters were flown over Stevens "not so great of a house".
Watch it. It is fair. Stuart Watson did everything he could to get Furtick and Elevation to talk to him, but Furtick and Elevation must be taking Paige Patterson's advice and not giving answers to the media.
Much of the ground Stuart covers in this piece has been covered by bloggers such as yours truly over the past several years.
1. Lack of Transparency: Watson points out that the church will not give out exact numbers on the sums of money involved in the book deal. How much were the advances, how much did the publisher pay Elevation for the promotions, how much did Furtick donate? Furtick's salary? All top secret, always will be. They have to be. If the numbers were known, it would hurt giving. An easy decision for the church. Total secrecy. I've written about this numerous times, including here.
2. Cult of Personality: Furtick is a rockstar. Watson makes that clear. Furtick IS the brand. That is the model of the modern mega or giga church. People want their pastor to be famous. They want him to be "edgy", a bit controversial, and even confrontational. He has to be these things because after all, a pastor is fighting Beelzebub himself and is in the business of saving souls. Ed Stetzer warned about the cult of personality back in 2009. Furtick is a classic example of this phenomena. And if you want a laugh, please check out this video of the "Pastor's Mutual Admiration Society" - one of my best - Furtick and Groeschel singing each others' praises.
3. Pastors Using Their Churches for Marketing and Personal Brand Building: I have been writing about this sickening trend for 7 years (here and here and here for example). I saw it thrust in my face at my former church, and now it is something common place. Pastors use the resources of the church to market their books, their video tapes, their Holy Land trips, their trips down the Danube River, you name it. As Chris Rosebrough points out in Watson's piece, it is the modern day version of the moneychangers in the temple.
4. Megachurches are More "Business" and Less "Church": As Watson shows how money flows back and forth between book publisher, Furtick, and the church, and the church members have no clue about the amounts - we see the cold hard truth. Elevation and others like it are just big businesses who operate as tax-exempt 501(c)3 religious organizations. But they want their followers to think it is the "church of the living God" - and thus they are obligated to support it with the first 10% of their income.
5. Manipulative Methods for Raising Revenue: What the untold story is HOW Elevation raises money. Their financial strategy is to tell members they are cursed by God (or devoured by the devil) unless they give 10% of their income. Furtick has had Robert Morris in to shake down the congregation.
And tomorrow night Stuart Watson will present the 2nd part: who the men are that decide Furtick's salary. They are other mega church pastors, not the members, not elders or trustees elected by the members.
So glad men like Stuart Watson are letting their light shine where it needs to be shone.