Tidbits of Wisdom from Pastor Steven Furtick

furtick-familyMy church had the privilege of having Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church speak at one of our leadership events this past week. As an added bonus, he spoke to just the staff.

Here are my notes from that meeting.


Just some quick background. The teaching points in the talk come from Elevation Church’s 12 core values they call The Code. And to a lesser extent, Acts 3:1-10.

The Code is our core set of values at Elevation Church. It sets the tone and trajectory for how we get things done. If the mission is the compass, The Code is the map that gives us direction.

The idea for The Code came from a book called The Orange Code.

We Are a Generation of Honor

We freely give honor to those above us, beside us and under us because of the calling and potential God has placed inside of them.

He said a lot of great things, none of which seemed to relate to this point. So when you’re scratching your head wondering how it fits (or doesn’t fit in), now you know. ;)

  • Need to be a generation known for what we’re for and not against.
  • Can’t build something great on what we’re not.
  • Take a stand for what we love, not hate.

For example, you might hear people against how a church does doesn’t do enough evangelism, outreach, discipleship, etc.

Rather than complain, be a person who raises the bar on homeless outreach.Rather than say your church doesn’t do enough discipleship, disciple twelve people so well they go on to disciple others who continue the cycle.

Lead the charge doing, not complaining.

  • Principle of One Thing: instead of learning everything from one person, learn one thing from every person.

This was said in context of Pastor Steven being okay with his staff listening to T.D. Jakes and John Piper; two people with very differing theological beliefs.

While they may disagree on certain doctrinal points, there is still something to be learned from both.

We Think Inside the Box

We will embrace our limitations. They will inspire our greatest creativity and innovation.

Inside the box being what you have to work with.

  • Thinking outside the box leads to frustration.

When you’re constantly focused on what could be if you had enough money, resources, staff, time you will only get frustrated at what you can’t accomplish.

  • Thinking inside the box leads to innovation.

Looking at what is available to you and framing a solution around that is where true innovation happens.

  • Wishful thinking is not audacious faith.
  • Stop waiting for what you want; work what you got.

We Will Not Take This for Granted

What we are experiencing is not normal. This is the highest calling, and we will remain grateful for God’s hand of favor.

Steven shared a story about how he loved fireworks until he had the opportunity to work in a fireworks store. He started hating fireworks after working with them for awhile; he became familiar and lost his appreciation for them.

  • Don’t become familiar with the fireworks.

For me working on staff at one of the largest churches in the United States, this is definitely a point that needs constant repeating. It’s easy to lose the awe factor.

We’re a Ruth’s Chris, Not a Golden Corral

Simplicity enables excellence. We place a disproportionate value on creating a worship experience that boldly celebrates Jesus and attracts people far from God.

For those not familiar with these restaurants, Ruth’s Chris serves high end steaks and Golden Corral is an all-you-can-eat buffet.

  • Make the steak sizzle and nobody will care what’s not on the menu.

This is a point about having laser focus. Rather than have everything and do each so-so, do a few things and do them better than anyone else.

We Dress for the Wedding

We will continually increase our capacity by structuring for where we want to go, not where we are. We will remain on the edge of our momentum by overreacting to harness strategic momentum initiatives.

The story here is when you’re going to a wedding and have to stop to get gas, you feel out of place dressed up at a gas station. But you are dressed for where you’re going.

  • Run your ministry as if it were two-times the size.
  • Dress up for where God is taking you.

The systems/procedures in place now preparing for the future may seem awkward, but they will let you fit in perfectly when you reach your destination.

My Personal Takeaway

Overall, I really like the concept of The Code. Having a set of memorable, digestible guidelines that help you navigate life/ministry.

I want some for my own life. ;)

I’m going through a season of establishing what is important to me as well as establishing who I am. What makes me tick? What are my priorities/passions? What core values are non-negotiable? What do I want to pass down to the next generation?

So I’d like to come up with my own code.

A few things I already know will make the list:

  • The highest level of character and integrity. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Even if that puts you on the losing end of the scale.
  • Discipleship. We have to do it.
  • The Bible. We have to know it.
  • Punctuality. I’m sorta kidding here, but not really. ;)

Now that you’ve made it to the end, what do you think? Thoughts on what Pastor Steven shared? Thoughts on what would make the list in your code?

Let me know in the comments!

4 replies on “Tidbits of Wisdom from Pastor Steven Furtick”

Thanks Alex.

I particularly enjoyed the “Dress for the Wedding” illustration. I have seen the need for this in both the business and ministry world. Great leaders capture the vision of where they are going and create a culture in the organization or followship around that vision. When everyone buys in and “dresses up for the wedding” and all the parts of the machine are working in unity, it creates synergy. I think the key is having the vision.

I agree on vision being the key.

Thankful to be under Pastor Stovall in that area. Haven’t met any other human being with as much vision as he does. ;)

Thanks for posting this, Alex! This was some really good info!

I wasn’t quite sure about the fireworks comment. Why did he come to “hate” fireworks? Was he just not impressed with them anymore because they became commonplace, or was it something else?

Dang! You were up early. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen 4:58am. ;)

I think he was implying he hated fireworks because he became familiar with them. He saw them day in/day out.

So for us at Celebration, it would be like being familiar with seeing God touch so many lives on a weekly basis and losing sight at how ridiculously awesome it is.

Some churches don’t see 100 people saved in a year, but we have that happen in one weekend.

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