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I Am About to Explode!!!

As you may be able to tell from my title I’m pretty excited today. And while many may have the Monday morning blues – I am about to shout right here in this public place that I am sitting. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • I cannot get over the conversations I have been having with people who attend Vertical lately. The number of VIP’s (first time attendees) that God brings to us is staggering. We thank God for the influence that He has given to us through YOU. 
  • Hearing reports from both locations of WINS all over the place. Conversations – people taking next steps – people meeting Jesus.
  • We gave away a lot of bibles yesterday. As we talked about “What Should I Believe About the Bible” we encouraged people who do not have a physical bible to get one from NEXT before they left. Blown away and THANKFUL that we have so many people attending who do not even have a bible. (NOTE: this shows you that we are reaching into our true target. Once again, that is happening because of YOU!)
  • Had a conversation with a friend in a local restaurant Wednesday night who told me that he commonly hears that we have “a bunch of sinners coming to our church.” Once again, I WANT TO SHOUT IN THIS PUBLIC PLACE I AM IN!! We started a church that would “help people who don’t like church meet God”. People have often asked why we see so many people receive Jesus at VC and my answer is quick and easy: when you have large numbers of people who need Jesus and teach them God’s Word and believe God to save them, He will. Thank you, Jesus, for bringing this prayer to fruition.

Once again, I WANT TO SHOUT IN THIS PUBLIC PLACE I AM IN!!

  • Your Pastor team is incredible!!! These guys are killing it and I am so honored they choose to live this out with me!!! Your VTeam Leaders, VKidz Leaders and Vertical Worship Leaders at both Vertical locations are amazing and they are literally making it harder for people to go to hell in Southeastern NC.
  • We had people take their next step with Vertical last night through becoming a Vertical PARTNER. So proud of all of you who took this most important step. Can’t wait to see how God uses you!!!
  • I cannot get ONE of the many conversations I had after the 11 o’clock service at Lumberton location off my mind. It was the lady’s first time at Vertical and she said, “Pastor, I LOVED it and can’t wait to see you next Sunday morning!” That’s exciting in itself but that’s not what has me about to lose my mind. The person who brought her then looked at me and said, “Pastor, I’m bringing them in one-by-one like you said!” Let me remind you, #relationshipsmakethedifference (If you missed this the other day PLEASE take a moment and read)
  • Which is why I am asking you to DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to get the people you are praying for to Vertical Lumberton this weekend (9/21) and to Vertical Bladen next weekend (9/28). I am telling you, we are preparing to have the most powerful service in the HISTORY of Vertical Church. We have been asking God to do a miracle in our midst – You are the tool that He is using to bring that miracle to pass!!!

Maybe it’s time for that person to try church again or for the first time. Let God use you this week.

Preparing to Be 1 Church in 2 Locations

On June 1st of 2009, Donnie Paschall (Vertical Executive Pastor) and I began a fast seeking God for direction concerning the discontent and stirring within our hearts. One of the overwhelming leadings that we both individually sensed during that time was that God was not only calling us to start a church (GULP!!!), He was calling us to start a church that would start churches. We felt that God wanted to use this future ministry to reach people throughout our region. We felt that this was about more than 1 building. I cannot believe that in 10 days we will be 1 Church in 2 Locations.

I am excited about this opportunity that we have to meet in Lumberton AND at Bladen Community College.

What kind of preparations have we been making to be ready for this paradigm shift within our ministry?

  • We have been purchasing equipment, securing finances, designing signage…
  • We have been planning campaigns, making preparations…
  • We have been thinking through systems and making sure that we understand what makes Vertical, “vertical”.
  • Last night we had 2 bands rehearsing at our rehearsal space. 2 locations means 2 excellent, Vertical Worship’s.
  • We have been training and empowering leadership to lead Vertical Bladen in a “vertical” way. We are making sure that  our vertical dna be the same in Bladen leaders that it is in Lumberton leaders.
  • We are striving to be as ready as we can be. Will there be challenges? Absolutely! But we will deal with them as they come. This is about 96 thousand people – people who don’t attend anyone’s church.

One of the things I am most excited about is our Bladen Location Pastor, Joey Autry. I BELIEVE IN THIS DUDE!!!! HE FIRES ME UP!!! I know that God brought Joey into our ministry from this reason. The moment discussion began about him joining our team we recognized that God was probably bringing him to Vertical to TAKE VERTICAL BACK to Bladen County. He is equipped, prepared and ready to help people in Bladen County who don’t like church meet God!

This weekend, as we close our series, “BIG C, little c”, I will talk more about how we will be 1 church in 2 locations.

Tattooed: Forever Marked by Christ

Today’s post is written by our Bladen Location Pastor, Joey Autry. Only 11 days until the weekly launch of Vertical Bladen!!

Tattooed: Forever Marked by Christ

I saw something that blew my stinking mind on a visit to Anderson, SC in 2010. Yep, that Anderson, SC. College age students were RUNNING to get in the doors of a …..CHURCH! Imagine that. God had been doing something in my Spirit for about a year. That visit to NewSpring Church had been preceded by a Catalyst One Day event at North Point Community Church where I saw what could be and should be in a local church. Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel spoke with a message of hope and renewed fervor for His Church and it rocked me to my core. All the way home from Atlanta I couldn’t shake what I heard and experienced that day. A move of God that cannot be stopped by man. That it was time for His people to step up, get off the bleachers, and begin making a difference in our area for Jesus. What I didn’t realize was that Jesus was ‘marking’ me with a new passion for spreading the Gospel and to make disciples. That led to some God orchestrated conversations where I began to brainstorm with a team of men from Lumberton what He was leading us too in our area of influence.

Mike P, Donnie P, Brandon Meadows and a few others were headed to ‘Drive Conference’ in Atlanta. On the way down, we stopped in Anderson and NewSpring Church for their Sunday night service. We arrived a little late (due to a Brandon Meadows ER visit which is a blog in itself) and as we arrived on campus, I was blown away by the scene. People all over the parking lot making sure we were welcomed and loved. Volunteers holding the doors for us with a genuineness that was contagious. College students running to get inside the auditorium (that’s insane!) We were so late that we actually had to sit in the atrium and watch via monitors.The experience was just wow! They observed communion that night and it was as if Jesus was speaking directly into my soul, “I’m calling you to something more.”

Church planting had never ever been on my radar. Coaching for UNC or the LA Dodgers maybe, but to plant a church? In our area? You’d have to be crazy. But God forged this team’s heart on this trip. A couple of the folks on the trip were people I had never met or spoken too. But He was doing something IN us that I just can’t describe. When we arrived at the conference in Atlanta, one of the folks that traveled with us said to me at one point during a break between sessions: “Oh my goodness, ya’ll are about to start a church aren’t you?” We had not gotten that far in discussions but to hear her say it and what I felt in my spirit just screamed “Yes we are.”

Tattoos are meant to be permanent. They’re not something to take likely or play around with. It marks one’s outer body for life. Church planting was not something I had ever planned on or dreamed of doing. But after almost three years on this journey with an incredible wife, lead team, and unbelievable volunteer force, I can’t see myself doing anything else. To see life change week in and week out is indescribable. To see people spiritually go from death to life, to see the baptisms and hope that is found in no one else except Jesus Christ is/has been AWESOME!

In two weeks, we ‘GET TO’ plant again. This time in Bladen County which is our home. I hear almost daily how people can’t wait to experience Vertical Church. With over 19,000 people who don’t attend anyone’s church in Bladen County, I can’t wait to serve alongside incredible churches and leaders to help lead people to be passionate about Jesus so they can lead others to Jesus. Personally I can’t wait for children and adults to be forever ‘tattooed’ by Jesus Christ. Souls forever marked. People forever changed.

Interested in Vertical Bladen?

We are four weeks out from Vertical Bladen launch! Get fired up!!

This coming Sunday we will meet with everyone interested in serving at Bladen location.

When: This Sunday Morning (Feb 10) at 10:15
Where: Theater 1
What: Time of  prayer time and to discuss a few logistics.

We really need everyone that is planning to serve at Bladen or still considering to meet.

Register for the Real Marriage Tour in Lumberton!

DO NOT MISS THIS EVENT!

Dinner on Friday night and one of the best investments in your marriage you can ever make! Registration is open to anyone and is limited to the first 150.

REGISTER HERE!!!