Elevation Church // Culture of Anticipation

A couple weekends ago it was my privilege to spend a weekend with Elevation Church.  It was stretching experience on many levels.  This week I’m blogging about a few things that I experienced that I don’t think get covered enough about this church.

One of the striking features of Elevation is it’s “culture of honor“. Steven has taught about it, it seeps out in conversation, people debate it online, on their fifth anniversary they released a worship album highlighting it . . . clearly that are wanting to emphasize honor as a value. We saw honor in the people we interacted with at Elevation Church.

However, another cultural force caught my attention as we interacted with Elevation.  The culture of anticipation is widely evidenced and fostered within the church.  Here are some of the ways that I saw it popping up throughout the weekend . . .

  • Hold the Doors // I know this is a commonly used tactic . . . that we hold the doors before the worship experience begins.  But if you haven’t worked through what’s happening in the foyer while people are waiting for their seats it just comes off stale.  At Elevation each foyer has video monitors talking about what’s coming up . . . large format graphics retelling the churches history . . . the Elevation vision is always quick to find (“So that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ.”) . . . the Guest Services team is working the room making sure that people have what they need. Elevation has crafted an experience before the experience to help frame people’s mindset of anticipation.
  • Ushers that Ush // Every seat is filled . . . like a concert.  You are directed to fill in each seat all the way from the front of the room to the back.  This packed feeling energizes the room.  It also reinforces the fact that we want to make room for guests.  At one of the services I was attempting to save the seats for a couple guys on our team . . . the first time when the usher came by they let me save the seat . . . the second time they just sent people down the row.  😉
  • Announcements that Celebrate // A part of my day job at Liquid Church is air traffic controlling the announcements . . . it’s fun.  😉  I loved the opening video announcements at Elevation because they were framed . . . “this is how your church is making a difference in this community.”  A friend of mine calls these IFTBUM announcements . . . It’s Fun To Be Us Moments.  They nailed it.   Before the first note was struck by the band I was already being drawn into this movement . . . to what God was doing . . .to where the church was headed.
  • Teaching on Target // I haven’t listened to lots of Steven Furtick’s messages but I have been listening over the last few weeks preparing for this trip and since I’ve been home I’ve listen to some more.  Steven never misses a chance to celebrate the mission and people of the church.  He is forward facing in his approach to where God is taking the church. “The best is yet to come.”  He is inviting people into the movement with every message . . . giving people an on-ramp to join what is happening at Elevation.

Awhile back, I was talking with a friend of mine who has designed a game on Facebook that has millions and millions of users.  When I asked him what was at the core of why people are joining his game in such huge numbers he said “Because people want to win in life . . . real life is hard . . .when they come and play with us they win.”  I can’t help but think Elevation has captured some of that same spirit.  Just by being a part of Elevation weekend service you feel like you are joining a team that is going somewhere . . . that you are winning.  People want to be a part of something winning.  Elevation has fostered a culture of anticipation that draws people in.

What about your church?  What do you do to help people anticipate where God is taking you? [Join the conversation!]


  1. I totally believe that excitement is crucial. Having been a part of churches on both ends of the spectrum, I’ve seen how the lack of excitement kills while anticipation feeds the congregation. People are always ready to join the winning team. But this post gives me a couple concrete ways to improve the atmosphere at our church. For example, we’ve held the doors but missed the mark on creating that atmosphere. People just seemed annoyed that they couldn’t get to their seats rather than being drawn in to the moment.

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