Tag Archive: Elevate City Church Fort Wayne

The Pointe Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana Uses AC/DC Song ‘Money Talks’ During Worship Service

ac dc

Lest anyone doubt how far some Evangelical churches will go to attract and maintain a crowd, I give you a recent video of The Point Church worship team singing and playing AC/DC’s song, Money Talks — much to the delight of those in attendance. I’m an atheist, but I wonder — shouldn’t music sung during church services at least be about Jesus being your boyfriend or best friend? AC/DC? I never thought I’d see the day. Something tells me my guitar-strumming sons would love playing in the Pointe’s worship band.(According to one article I read, some of the people associated with Sweetwater Sound attend the church. I suspect the Pointe has awesome AV equipment. A former friend of mine is the senior vice president — sales at Sweetwater.)

Video Link

The Pointe Church, located in nearby Fort Wayne, Indiana is a generic, seen-one-seen-them-all, ain’t-we-unique-and-relevant Evangelical church. Such churches are scattered all over the Fort Wayne area, heaven-bent on attracting and pilfering Christians from other churches, people who endlessly seek the latest and the greatest.

According to The Point Church website, the church strives to be:

  • Real
  • Relevant
  • Relational
  • Reliant
  • Risk-Taking
  • Reproducing
  • Redemptive

The seven R’s of modern Evangelical church planting. Woo Hoo! right?

Led by Ray Harris, several other pastors, and a passel of “directors,” The Pointe Church attracts a thousand people a week to their three Sunday services. By the end of 2020, the church hopes to have:

  • 50 Young Adult Leaders Developed
  • 600 Students Won to Christ
  • 1000 Kids Attending Weekly
  • 125% Of Our Worship Attendance participating in Small Groups
  • 1000 Churches Using our Artistry
  • 5000 Attending Worship Services
  • 1,000,000 To Find & Follow Jesus

Several years ago, I wrote a post about another Fort Wayne church — Elevate City Church. What I wrote then applies to The Pointe Church today. In a post titled, The Elevate City Church Con Job, I wrote:

The dirty little secret of Evangelical church planting is that the vast majority of people who attend a new church plant come from other churches. Few people are new converts. Why? Because almost every American, especially here in the Midwest, has already heard the good news of the gospel. It is not a lack of information that keeps people out of churches. Americans are increasingly rejecting Christianity and turning to spirituality, eastern religions, or atheism/agnosticism/humanism. Why?

Evangelical Christianity is slowly dying. Instead of trying to strengthen that which remains, hip, relevant church planters start new churches. They poach the members of old, established churches and this “growth” hides the fact that the disinterested are still disinterested and they haven’t flocked to the new church. The truth is, more and more Americans think Evangelical Christianity is irrelevant. Evangelicals have a huge PR problem, and as long as their beliefs, practices, and lifestyle are tethered to an inspired, inerrant, infallible ancient book, Evangelicals should not expect the disinterested to rush to their churches on Sunday. Playing rock and praise and worship music, dressing down, getting rid of pews, and acting all hip and cool, hides the fact that the message is still the same; repent and believe the gospel or you are going to be tortured by God in hell for all eternity.

I have no objection to Evangelicals starting as many clubhouses as they want. This is America, and corporate, capitalistic, libertarian thinking dominates the Evangelical church-planting scene. They just need to understand that some of us see through the smokescreen. By all means, plant another church, convince yourself that “God” is leading you to do so, but the facts on the ground remain the same. Planting a new church will not fix what ails America. Americans no longer are buying what Evangelicals are selling. Perhaps it is time to follow the command of Jesus: go sell all that you have and give it to the poor. Perhaps when Americans see THAT kind of Christianity, they might take an interest in it. Even though I am an atheist, I can, from a distance, admire a church and a pastor which take seriously the teachings of Jesus. All I see right now is the same incestuous, irrelevant church, with a new name. It is time to burn the institutional church to the ground and start over. Or so says this atheist.

Elevate City and The Pointe are separated by ten miles of Fort Wayne interstate. Between these two churches are numerous other churches preaching their brand and version of Evangelicalism. Much like driving along one of the many restaurant rows found in Fort Wayne, cruising the streets there discloses that local Evangelicals have every type of church at their disposal. Want Wendy’s? Burger King? McDonald’s? Rally’s? or Five Guys? Local Evangelical churches are manning their grills, ready to serve up their brand of hamburger. Perhaps these churches should become IN-N-Out Burger joints — reflective of the constant stream of people in and out of their doors.

What do you think, readers? To my atheist readers I ask, if you were still a Christian, would you attend a church that played AC/DC during Sunday worship? Do you think there are lines that can’t or shouldn’t be crossed? If you are still a Christian, would you be okay with the worship team playing songs by AC/DC, KISS, or other patently anti-Christian groups? What say ye?

Note

2006 news article featuring Pastor Harris and The Pointe Church. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Eventually, he said, those churches do move into traditional church buildings.

The Pointe Church is still an exception, because its organizers don’t plan on making it a megachurch. Ray Harris, the church’s lead pastor, said he plans to keep his church in a non-traditional building and train other pastors to start similar churches in other locations that would be affiliated with The Pointe.

‘”New Testament’ churches met in public spaces,” said Harris. “We’re in the real world on Sunday mornings, in a movie theater. Even though Fort Wayne is the ‘City of Churches,’ many people who come (to The Pointe) have never been in church but have been in movie theaters. There’s familiarity.”

Formerly pastor to students at The Chapel, a Fort Wayne megachurch, Harris said typically more than 33 percent of a church’s finances go toward maintaining a building.

“We wanted to focus on meeting people’s needs, not putting money in the bank or paying people to clean the church,” Harris said.

Although it pays rent to the Rave, the church doesn’t have to worry about the cost of heating bills or hiring someone to shovel snow, Harris said. Instead, the church already has helped some people who were struggling to find jobs and/or finance a house payment.

“It’s an economic decision for the Rave, too, because no one comes to watch movies there on Sunday mornings,” said Harris. “We fill seats when they can’t.”

In addition to the economic reasons for having a church in the Rave, Harris said the church’s goal is to help people get to the next step spiritually.

….

Ten years later? The Pointe Church has its own building located at 5335 Bass Road. So much for “New Testament’ churches met in public spaces. We’re in the real world on Sunday mornings, in a movie theater. Even though Fort Wayne is the ‘City of Churches,’ many people who come (to The Pointe) have never been in church but have been in movie theaters. There’s familiarity….We wanted to focus on meeting people’s needs, not putting money in the bank or paying people to clean the church.”

The Pointe Church has a YELP page.

Church’s Facebook page

The Pointe Church operates a three-location daycare business — Care Pointe Academy.

The Elevate City Church Con Job

elevate city church fort wayne

The Elevate City Church is an Evangelical church located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. According to the church’s website, Elevated City Church is:

elevate city church fort wayne

Under the Weekend Experience (link no longer active) tab on the church website, Elevate lets everyone know that they are “come as you are” church. A year ago, I was watching a TV program on one of the Fort Wayne TV channels and the station aired an ad for Elevate City Church. The ad was quite syrupy, with various members of the church saying the church was, drum roll, roll your eyes, please:

  • Real
  • Relational
  • Relevant

Ah yes, the three buzzwords of the modern Evangelical church. Rarely do people stop to consider that churches like Elevate are saying that other churches in their community are NOT real, NOT relational, NOT relevant. While the leaders of Elevate City Church would never publicly say these things, it is implied in everything they do. Rarely does anyone ask, why does Fort Wayne, Indiana, a city with hundreds of churches, need another generic, more-awesome-than-sliced-bread, Evangelical church? As I have stated before, we need FEWER churches in the United States not more. Most every community has a plethora of churches and there is no need for more. Fort Wayne, in the heart of the Midwest, is hardly under-served when it comes to churches for Evangelicals to attend.

I titled this post The Elevate City Con Job. Why? Simple. The church wants to present itself as a we will accept you as you are church. While this may be true as far as sitting your ass in a seat, they most certainly have no intention of letting you stay as you are. If you want to do anything besides listen to Pastor Kyle Mills’ awesome sermons, then you will have to change.

Kyle Mills is a graduate of an Evangelical Baptist university, Liberty University. The doctrinal beliefs of Elevate City Church are decidedly Evangelical and Baptist. A quick perusal of the church’s official doctrinal statement  (which has since been removed) shows that the church believes that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God, salvation is through Jesus Christ alone, and, to use the words of the statement:

After living on earth, the unbelievers will be judged by God and sent to Hell where they will be eternally with the Devil and the fallen Angels…[heaven] and hell are places of eternal existence.

Standard Evangelical boilerplate language. Again, exactly why does Fort Wayne need ANOTHER Evangelical church? According to the church’s website (link no longer active):

  • The majority of Americans are spiritually restless
  • 180,000 of the 300,000 people in the Fort Wayne area do not regularly attend church
  • The non-attendance numbers are even greater for the 18-34 age group ( which I assume is the target group based on the nubile age of much of the church staff)
  • A new church is emerging (and  Elevate City Church is part of the new emerging church)

The Elevate City Church is almost three years old. They were started with the support of Eagle Rock Church and The Association of Related Churches. I wonder, in three years, how many of the 180,000 Fort Wayne residents who don’t regularly attend church have walked through the doors of Elevate City Church?

I am sure Pastor Mills and the Elevate City Church members are fine people. I suspect he and I would get along famously. This post is not meant to be a personal attack of Mills or the church. It is me calling bullshit. It is my challenge of the assumptions that led Mills to start Elevate City Church.

Church planters like Mills can never answer me when I ask, so why is planting a new church the answer to 60% of people in the Fort Wayne area not regularly attending church? What is the new church going to do that countless other churches haven’t already done? Of course, Mills would likely say God told me to start the church.

Church planters think that the church they plant is special; that they have a mandate from God. In Mills’ case, God told him at the age of nine to plant a church in Fort Wayne:

Video Link

God” also gave Elevate City Church a permanent meeting place, so I am sure Mills and the church see this as a sign that God approves of them starting the church.  Countless churches have come and gone in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Every church planter thought his church was special, that God wanted him to plant the church. Church plants fail, and those that don’t, in time, become just like the churches they swore they never would be like. Their new church, if it survives, will become an old church, and new church planters will move to town, claiming to be new, exciting, and different, and they will proceed to poach members from the old new church.

The dirty little secret of Evangelical church planting is that the vast majority of people who attend a new church plant come from other churches. Few people are new converts. Why? Because almost every American, especially here in the Midwest, has already heard the good news of the gospel. It is not a lack of information that keeps people out of churches. Americans are increasingly rejecting Christianity and turning to spirituality, eastern religions, or atheism/agnosticism/humanism. Why?

Evangelical Christianity is slowly dying. Instead of trying to strengthen that which remains, hip, relevant church planters start new churches. They poach the members of old, established churches and this “growth” hides the fact that the disinterested are still disinterested and they haven’t flocked to the new church. The truth is, more and more Americans think Evangelical Christianity is irrelevant. Evangelicals have a huge PR problem, and as long as their beliefs, practices, and lifestyle are tethered to an inspired, inerrant, infallible ancient book, Evangelicals should not expect the disinterested to rush to their churches on Sunday. Playing rock and praise and worship music, dressing down, getting rid of pews, and acting all hip and cool, hides the fact that the message is still the same; repent and believe the gospel or you are going to be tortured by God in hell for all eternity.

I have no objection to Evangelicals starting as many clubhouses as they want. This is America, and corporate, capitalistic, libertarian thinking dominates the Evangelical church-planting scene. They just need to understand that some of us see through the smokescreen. By all means, plant another church, convince yourself that “God” is leading you to do so, but the facts on the ground remain the same.  Planting a new church will not fix what ails America. Americans no longer are buying what Evangelicals are selling. Perhaps it is time to follow the command of Jesus: go sell all that you have and give it to the poor. Perhaps when Americans see THAT kind of Christianity, they might take an interest in it. Even though I am an atheist, I can, from a distance, admire a church and a pastor that takes seriously the teachings of Jesus. All I see right now is the same incestuous, irrelevant church, with a new name. It is time to burn the institutional church to the ground and start over. Or so says this atheist.

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