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NC Megachurch with 19 Church Sites Quietly Withdraws from Southern Baptists

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Elevation Church, a multi-campus congregation based in Matthews, North Carolina, has quietly informed the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) Executive Committee it is withdrawing from the SBC after having been part of the denomination for nearly two decades. 

The Baptist Press reports the church informed the committee of its decision in a letter dated June 26. Elevation's withdrawal from the SBC was effective immediately, the letter said.

The church did not give a specific reason for leaving, according to the outlet. But the church told the committee its Statement of Beliefs posted on its website "is very much in line with the Baptist Faith and Message – we have no intention of changing those core beliefs."

"We pray that we will continue to be able to work alongside many SBC churches in the coming years," the letter said. 

slider img 2The church said the letter would be the church's only public comments concerning its decision to no longer affiliate with the SBC, according to the Baptist Press

"We have no plans to make a public announcement on this decision – we have too much to do in reaching a world that needs the love of Jesus. Should your Credentials Committee decide to make this decision by Elevation public, we will only respond with a copy of this letter in anyone inquiring about the notification," the letter said. 

Click here to read the full text of the letter from the Elevation Church to the SBC Executive Committee. 

Elevation Church has 17 campus locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida, In addition, it has two campuses in Ontario, Canada. It had a reported weekly attendance of more than 10,185 in 2021 when it submitted an Annual Church Profile to the SBC, according to the Baptist Press. Steven Furtick is the church's founder and lead pastor. 

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Elevation's withdrawal from the denomination comes just a few weeks after the SBC refused to welcome Saddleback Church back into its fold, rejecting an appeal by the California megachurch over its February ouster for having women pastors. 

SBC messengers (or delegates) at their annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana also rejected a similar appeal by a smaller church, Fern Creek Baptist of Louisville, Kentucky, which is led by a woman pastor.

The Lake Forest, California-based Saddleback had been the denomination's second-largest congregation and until recently was widely touted as a success story amid larger Southern Baptist membership declines.

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of