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Charlotte's Elevation Church expands to UNC

Sophomores Dylan Hunter and Caroline Donnell lead music in front of the streaming service.

One-hundred thirty students and community members showed up to the Varsity Theatre on Sunday evening, not to watch a movie, but to listen to a church sermon.

Elevation Church, based in Charlotte, has expanded to the Chapel Hill area with the support of about 10 UNC students.

“A bunch of us are actually from Charlotte, and it was really something we wanted to bring here,” said Bekah Gould, a senior chemistry major and site coordinator.

“We aren’t trying to compete with any of the other Christian churches in the area. We just wanted to bring the message here.”

The students working to bring Elevation Church to the University have been planning the event at the Varsity since July, said Tate Sisk, a junior business major involved with the group.

All of Elevation Church’s UNC sermons will be broadcast at the Varsity, members said.

As a part of the Elevation Global program, Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick videotapes sermons and sends the message to Elevation extension sites all around the country.

Sunday’s service started with live music featuring two students. In the background, a sing-along music video was shown on the screen. Afterwards, students watched Furtick’s on-screen sermon.

The video continued with college-aged students sharing messages about God as a part of Elevation’s “The Prodigy in Me” series.

Furtick’s sermon was sprinkled with humor. It featured music and jokes coupled with Bible readings. He referenced studies, Steve Jobs and fantasy football.

He talked about the importance society gives football players and asked the audience to lend the same importance to teachers, mothers and students.

“Why don’t we have jerseys with teachers’ names on the back?” Furtick said.

Attendees watched the screen for more than an hour, participating in what Furtick called an interactive lecture.

“It is a great message for the college audience,” Sisk said. “It is a blessing to be part of it.”

Kayla Melton, a freshman biology major, said this was the first church service she had attended since coming to campus.

“I loved it,” Melton said. “I will not try any more out.”

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