That has been one of the most asked questions on blogs according to Technorati. Who is Steven Furtick? Most people have no idea how to answer that question, but I have the joy of being able to answer it…somewhat.
Recently, Steven Furtick shot to number one on Technorait blog search engine (currently he is number two). Now scores of people are talking about him in all kinds of languages. Most are asking who is this guy and why do so many people care.
For me, I go to know Steven as the white-Kirk-Franklin-Jesus-Freak. He rolled through my alma mater and from the moment he stepped on campus everyone knew he was special…or different, but if nothing else they knew him.
He posed for his yearbook pictures with thick black rimmed glasses while eating an ice cream cone. He began a praise and worship team on our campus that took off landing them on weekend tours, even going to Gospel great John P. Kee’s church. At that point, I was interning for the state Baptist newspaper and I did a feature on him and the praise band.
Sometimes, he would preach on campus during our bi-weekly chapel service. I always remember the buzz around campus. “Who’s speaking in chapel today?” “Furtick!” “Oh, this is going to be good. I have to go.”
Everyone knew two things about Steven’s chapel services: 1) He was going to preach God’s word and 2) He was probably going to rip everyone in the audience a new one. He was never afraid to step on toes, but he was also there to help those struggling.
You know the other reason people talked about Steven? He and his future wife pledge to not kiss until they were married. Yeah, not just not have sex, but not kiss. They made it and his first kiss with his wife was after the “I do’s.”
Steven seemed to be able to achieve that Jesus-balance. The “in, but not of the world” thing. He was steadfast in his love and life for Jesus, but he was no big-Bible-thumpin’ fashion case. He also knew how to speak the truth in love. He had no bones about telling people that things in their life didn’t line up with God’s word, but people knew that he was doing it out of love.
You know, how Jesus was able to call a woman out for having five husbands and living with her current boyfriend, but she didn’t get mad. She told everyone in the town about Him and ended up seeing most of the town become a follower of Jesus.
But, just like Jesus, Steven doesn’t put up with religiosity and sacred hypocrites. People forget that sometimes Jesus wasn’t nice. He called the Pharisees “white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones.” That wasn’t nice, at all.
I remember last year, he spoke at a conference to which I took my youth group. He opened up his message with “I will be posting some random MySpace pages of youth at this conference here on the big screen. Well actually they won’t be random, with permission of your youth pastors I went through and pulled out some of the worst.” The murmurs and gasps that slipped out from the teens told him all he needed to know. He confessed that he really didn’t have the webpages to put up there, but that the students knew they had things they would be ashamed of on there. He challenged everyone to let God have every “space” of their life. It was a powerful message.
This technorati thing crystalizes another thing that Steven has in common with his Savior – people can’t help but talk about them. Think about all that Jesus did and said. He only spent just over three years of his life in ministry. Steven is 27 and the pastor of a church plant in Charlotte, NC. How could Jesus be the Messiah? How could Steven be the most talked about person on blogs?
Don’t confuse this post at all. I’m not saying Steven is perfect. He will tell you he is far from it. If he is anything like me, his wife could tell you even better. Steven is a fallen sinner just like me and everyone else reading this or wondering who the hekc he is on Technorati. He is quick to point out that all glory and praise go to God.
But somehow he has become one of the most talked about people in the blogging world. It makes me laugh to read his blog, which I just discovered recently. I keep saying to myself, “That’s Furtick.” Who knows how he shot to the top?
It could be the post about Technorati itself and how he is banning himself from it. He said that he has to keep himself away from those who think he is the “anti-Christ.” This is how he sumed up his feelings:
I’ll let Jesus and those who know my heart inform my perspective of who I am and how I’m doing…
Not every college student living in his mom’s basement with a blogspot and a cable modem.
Yeah, he said that.
Or it may be his post about church-hoppers, those who jump from church to church trying to find the one that “best meets their needs.
Here’s how the post came about and his initial reaction:
The other day, a lady said something to my wife that made me sick to my stomach upon hearing about it. Literally.
She was talking about how she visited Elevation with her family over the summer.
So far, so good…
In fact, she continued, they have visited “just about every church in Charlotte, looking for the church that’s perfect for us.”
My wife doesn’t have much tolerance for church hopping Southerners.
Neither do I.
Then the woman made one of the most absurd comments I’ve ever heard from a churchgoer, even here in the Bible belt. That’s saying a lot.
“I wanted to let you know that there’s one praise song, I can’t remember the name of it, that ya’ll do better than all of the dozens of churches we’ve been to in our church shopping quest.”
Ma’am, if you’re reading:
Who do you think you are? Simon freakin’ Cowell?
Have you reduced the worship of a holy God to a singing competition?
To see which band can cover Chris Tomlin to your exact standards?
If that was not enough, he rocked the boat just a little more toward the edge with this:
This is madness. It makes God sick. And it makes you a spiritual bastard.
The Church is the bride of Christ.
Quit sleeping around and pimping her out to satisfy your own personal preferences.
Again, I just smile. I share his sentiment (and anger) about church hoppers, but I just smile because “that’s Furtick.” Those who have never met him have no idea who Steven Furtick is, but you know what, now that he has stepped into the blogging world, just like when he stepped on our college campus as a freshman, everyone knows him. But what makes him Furtick is that now that everyone knows who he is, he is going to make sure everyone knows who Jesus is. That’s Furtick.