Visiting Elevation Toronto… It’s Not For Me

Visiting Elevation Toronto... It's an experience for sure!

I’ve been in church for the better part of my life. Over two decades if I were to be honest. In this time, I’ve been a member of approximately four different churches. Yep, I’ve been around. Each one of them brought something to the table, and each one of them took something from it (LOL!). It also doesn’t help that I’ve been in active ministry during this time as well. In short, I know a little something about church. Yesterday was the first time that I’ve visited a church that is at the forefront of “this new move” in church culture: Elevation Church. I love Elevation: their branding is on point, Pastor Steven is ‘hella relatable and Elevation Worship gets my spirit lifted on a daily basis. However, I’d never actually attended one of their services. That was until yesterday when I found myself visiting Elevation Toronto for the first time.

Pastor Steven and Elevation Worship are visiting Toronto on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, and I need to be there. I missed the opportunity to see Hillsong, Jesus Culture AND Bethel last year, and I’m not going to be making that mistake again. Besides, I know all the songs off of the new There is a Cloud Album. In short, “it’s gonna be lit!” However, the only way to get advance tickets to this event is if you attended one of their services on Sunday, September 24, 2017. So, there was I and half of the D’Vine Worshippers, leaving church early to go pick up said tickets.

Act One: Entering the Compound

You see that picture above? It's real. It's ALL real when you're visiting Elevation Toronto!
You see that picture above? It’s real. It’s ALL real!

Guys, I kid you not: it looks EXACTLY like how it is on the website. Visiting Elevation Toronto is an experience to say the least. You know how food commericals are all fake, with frozen burgers and hair dryers etc.? No, what’s on the website, is what I was looking at, in the flesh. From the orange and black tents, to the beautiful, bright orange Elevation sign, it was all there. I was giddy. Walking in the building was electric: everything was chrome, orange, shiny and friendly. I got a bunch of pens, a VIP pamphlet and a CD with Elevation tracks on it. Heaven.

Act Two: Getting Ready to Worship

Stepping into the sanctuary/auditorium, the audio and visual team went hard: music wasn’t blasting, but was at a comfortably loud level. They had trailers, announcements and other videos playing as the place filled up with the most diverse crowd of congregants I had ever seen. Soon, the musicians were assembling as the countdown timer descended closer to zero. Then, *BOOM*, as soon as the counter hit zero, Mr. Drum Man got started, keys came through and the service began. Right. On. Time. The praise and worship segment was about 10 minutes, about two songs: one fast one, and one slow one. This was quite underwhelming for me. My hopes were that we would get at least 20 minutes worth of music. Instead, we received two video presentations from various Elevation branches which was disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, the presentations were BEAUTIFUL, I just didn’t want to see them.

Next, it was time for offering. The branch pastor said a few words, and then the main event (in my opinion) happened. We were now “patched in” to the live service happening at Elevation HQ and they sang, my favorite Elevation song to date, Yours. It was beautiful. The combination of the live music, the lighting, plus the sheer awesomeness of Elevation Worship was amazing. But, it felt like I was part of one great big production. That bothered me a little bit.

Act Three: The Sermon

Full disclosure: Pastor Steven didn’t share the Word when I was visiting Elevation Toronto, so this part may be different when he regularly preaches. There was a guest speaker who gave a message that was quite good… in a motivational Les Brown meets Tony Robbins way. In truth, I don’t think there was anything wrong with the message that was given. For me, it was a timely message that I needed to hear. Again though, something was a tad bit off. I came with just my phone and keys and didn’t have to check the Bible app once… however, my Facebook and Instagram stories received much love. There was no use of the Bible from my part as a congregant at all; the pastor alluded to one scripture passage through the entire message. I wasn’t feeling that at all.

Act Four: The Ride Back Home

Here’s my honest opinion after visiting Elevation Toronto. This may be a gross generalization, but I experienced enough to know that I may like my church a tad bit on the traditional side. If you aggressively highlight your Bible and could possibly name a couple of the High Holy Days on the Jewish calendar, I think Elevation may not be the church for you. If you believe in Jesus, but hit church once in a blue moon and prefer shorter church services, I think Elevation Church is right up your alley. Harsh? A gross generalization? I think if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. In the same way that there are different types of people at different types of fitness levels, there are different types of people who would find Elevation Church best suited for them… and that’s ok. I would highly recommend you check them out though. It is such a different way to church that you may like! No matter what your current, church status is, I think that finding a church that you personally feel comfortable with is highly important in your personal walk. But for ME…

It’s a no for me dawg. I’ll still buy their CD though…

Alas, it’s currently almost 11pm on Monday, September 25, and my etickets are yet to hit my email. Maybe Elevation sensed I was going to write this scathing piece and decided not to send me my tickets, but either way, my butt will be at the International Center, arms outstretched, belting out “Yours” like everyone else. Do you think I’m going to let some petty grievances in doctrine, stage presence and video presentations prevent me from worshipping my Maker? Never.

More about Krys, Naturally

Hi guys, it's your girl Krys! I love all things green living, especially DIY beauty and skincare, as well as natural hair. I'm also the lead design at NOYADESIGNS, a digital marketing firm based out of Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

2 thoughts on “Visiting Elevation Toronto… It’s Not For Me

  1. Tera

    Making a blanket statement about the believers that attend Elevation church as being the type that “attend church once in a blue moon”, especially if you didn’t even attend a service that the regular pastor was there for, is not your call to make on ANY church. Perhaps you should take a look at yourself first and your “holier than thou” complex before you start commenting about other churches or those who attend.
    Has Christianity really come to the point where you can judge an entire congregation of people by attending one service anonymously? And what good is “aggressively highlighting your Bible” if you don’t even take into consideration the meaning behind the words that Jesus spoke? It sounds like you’d be closer to scaring people away from Jesus than drawing them towards him.
    I’m speaking as someone who attends a different church regularly and, by all means, you are entitled to attend whatever type of church you want. What you are not entitled to is claiming that you are a better believer or holier than others simply because you know random Jewish holy days. It might be best to do a bit of self reflection before you “review” another church, to determine whether your true intention of these posts is something beneficial or not.
    On a side note, 10 times out of 10 I would choose to surround myself with somebody who knows Jesus but doesn’t have the books of the Bible memorized in order, than surround myself with someone who knows all those useless facts but doesn’t actually have a personal relationship with the One who all those books are about. This is spoken from somebody who has attended church their entire life and has seen people from all stages of life and faith. Some Christians need to stop turning faith into a comparison of church attendance or Bible notes and look at it for what it is: a personal relationship with our Creator- which is something that cannot properly be judged by anyone else, christian or not.

    Reply

    1. Krys, Naturally

      Thank you for your comment Tera! It’s appreciated πŸ™‚ First things first, this is MY personal blog of MY opinion of Elevation Church. This is how I feel about the church. I’m entitled to my opinion, as you are entitled to yours. This blog post was MY EXPERIENCE going to and attending a service. If I didn’t like it, I didn’t like it. It’s an unpopular opinion, but just because a church is a church, doesn’t mean that I as a Christian MUST to like it. I 100% agree with your comment that Christianity and faith is about building a personal relationship with our Creator, so even though we have differing opinions about Elevation, at the end of the day, we are one. Stay blessed!

      Reply

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