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Monday Morning Celebration!!

We are EXACTLY in the middle of two exciting weeks are Vertical Church! We have been praying for people by name for the last 21 days and we saw God answer prayers yesterday at VC Ltown. I want to say “THANK YOU” to every single person at Vertical Lumberton who prayed #2for21 and invited people to Sunday’s services. We had an incredible day as we had great crowds, saw 13 people who decided that “their NEXT step is their FIRST step” through Baptism. Vertical Church – WE NEED TO CELEBRATE because Jesus said there is a party going on in heaven!

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7

WE CAN’T WAIT to see the same thing this coming weekend at Vertical Bladen!

I had some great conversations with people who brought friends, family and co-workers to church. I had one conversation with a person who had someone with them yesterday who hasn’t been in church in over 30 years. I had another conversation with a person who’s “2″ were both at Vertical for the first time. It was a miracle to just have them with us according to them. Or the family who had family members take their FIRST step through baptism – they were in a partying mindset after church to say the least. How about when a brother who had been praying for his sister’s salvation for 18 years had the opportunity to get in the pool and baptize his earthly sister as his new sister in Christ?!? As one of my friend’s said to me, “I have NOT been praying for my “2″ for 18 years – so that’s encouraging!”

Maybe your “2″ came but didn’t take a NEXT step? If that’s you, maybe attending yesterday WAS there next step. I want to encourage you to KEEP PRAYING for them – ESPECIALLY today! Do not be disappointed!!! You invited, they attended, we will let God keep working in their hearts and lives. I will say it again: KEEP PRAYING FOR THEM. We don’t want yesterday to be a one-time fluke. Hopefully they had a great first experience with us. Ask God for guidance about how to help them continue to take next steps. Be patient and encouraging. Keep the relationship strong and believe that God’s got this (Romans 8:28)

Maybe your “2″ didn’t come… Don’t be discouraged. You asked, you did your part – you were obedient to God placing that name upon your heart. Continue to pray for them, love them, be there for them: you may be the only “Jesus” they ever see in their day to day, so remember who you represent. You will have another opportunity to invite them soon.

Some of you have a friend who met Jesus yesterday! WOOOHOOOOO!!!! I have a next step for you as well:
  • Make sure that they have a Bible and a Reading Plan. Of course they can download the bible app on their phones ** And I would encourage them to download it if they don’t have it and teach them how to use it well ** but there is something about having that physical copy. If they were baptized yesterday then they received our book, “Now What?”, encourage them to read through that like a devotional for the next 7 days. Do it with them if it will be helpful. If they did not get a “Now What?” book, or a bible, or a reading plan you can stop by Vertical Headquarters and get any or all of them for them. Do it quick though!
  • Get them to Vertical this Sunday!! We will conclude our “What Should I Believe” Series with a message about God’s personal Helper in our lives. One of the best practices for a new believer is CONSISTENT CHURCH ATTENDANCE (Heb 10:25). They need to meet people, learn to worship, hear God’s teaching and be in the presence of the Lord. I promise: this weekend will be helpful.
  • Encourage them to share that they met Jesus with someone. A co-worker, family member, neighbor. The best thing that we can help new believers to do is to share their decision to follow Jesus with someone. I saw some posting it on Facebook last night – the responses to them were SO encouraging. Remember “Foolish Encouragement”? You are Barnabas!

Lastly, Vertical Bladen – THIS IS YOUR WEEKEND! Time to press in. Pray. Call. Text. Invite. Believe. They need to understand that “Maybe it’s time to try church again.” God is going to do great things in your midst this weekend and I can’t wait!!! 

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.

3 Things I am asking EVERY Vertical Attendee to do TODAY

Every Friday morning I feel a shift towards the weekend. I feel an anticipation of what I know is just around the corner. I look at the plans for the weekend, think back on the many planning conversations that we have had and I get excited. I often listen to the songs that we will all sing together and my Spirit just leaps inside of me. Most of the time I think to myself – This could be the BEST Sunday that we have EVER had!!!

Today is no different. I can’t wait for Sunday and I believe God is going to do a great work at both Vertical locations. With this in mind I wanted to ask you if you would do 3 things for me TODAY?

  1. PRAY for our services.Every Sunday morning people walk throughout both Vertical locations praying for all of those who will soon enter the doors and experience the life-changing message of Jesus. Will you pray:
    1. That there will be nothing to distract people from receiving the message.
    2. That God’s Presence would be apparent to all who are there.
  2. PRAY for our VTeams. Every week all of those people who serve YOU with the Vertical shirts on, they give of their morning for Jesus and for YOU. Please pray God’s blessing on them and their families and for their success on Sunday morning. (You can also ask God which of these teams that you need to be part of.)
  3. PRAY for your 2. We are all praying for 2 people that God has shown us need to take a step towards Him and to attend Vertical with you on September 21 (Lumberton) or September 28 (Bladen). I am praying WITH you FOR them.
Seriously, this could be the GREATEST Sunday we have EVER experienced together. I BELIEVE – DO YOU?!?

Let’s Celebrate What Happened in 2013

I truly believe that 2014 is going to be the greatest year that Vertical Church has EVER experienced. The best way to encounter a new year is to think back on the one that is behind you and 2013 had some incredible highs. Take a moment and remember with me two thousand and thirteen:

We began the year with a journey towards increasing our faith in God with “The Path”. It was during this series that we learned about

  • The Application Trail (“Application isn’t just a facet of following God – It’s a PATH that God uses to increase our faith.”)   
  • The Discipline Trail (Spiritual Discipline is doing what you don’t want to do now so you can do what you do want to do later.)
  • The Relationship Trail (God uses people to increase our faith in Him.)
  • The Missionary Trail (Our responsibility is to do what WE know to do then trust Him to do what HE does. God is not looking for the most talented people, He’s looking for the most willing people.)
In February we continued the year on a high by celebrating our 2nd birthday on the first Sunday of the year. We were thankful for all who wished us a happy birthday:

Our next series was “Big C, Little C” (“BIG C is the Church, little c is me – what God does in this world, He does as WE.”). It was during this series that we learned what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

It was also during this series that we ordained John Paul Deaver as our connections pastor and David Collins as our Lumberton Location Pastor. We love all of our Pastors and are so thankful for all they do at VC.

 

 

In March Vertical became ONE church in TWO locations as we began our Vertical Bladen location at Bladen Community College. Since the beginning of Vertical we have had an incredible group of people serving from Bladen. Now it’s time for us to reach the people of Bladen County. Vertical Church is FOR Bladen.

We also began a very powerful series that hit a major truth in so many lives – without Jesus I have a “Hole in my Soul”. It was during this series that the picture on the right took place – a day when hundreds of people were forgiven of past hurts in our relationships. I will never forget the sound of the cracking of those paint stirrers along with the sounds of weeping across those auditoriums in both locations… I am so thankful to be part of a church where life change happens. The video below was from the “H.I.M.S” series:

In April YOU chose what we preached and taught at Vertical with our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Series and man was it challenging. You directed us to take on all of the following subjects:

  • Homosexuality, Tattoos, cremation, marriage and recognization in heaven, and suicide
  • Couples living together, gambling, why do bad things happen to good people,
  • Is it ok for christians to drink alcohol, Are ghosts real?, Can people lose their salvation

We also experienced this gem of a video:

In May we had an INCREDIBLE Night of Worship at the Vertical Bladen Location. This night was unforgettable and so moving. It was also the night that we sent our Worship Arts Pastor Jon Lloyd off to Pittsburgh to begin Steel City Church.

 

SUMMER 2013 was headlined by a bible character series titled, “Summer Blockbusters”. It was during the SB series that Vertical Church learned how deep our church is with preachers as our pastors brought messages live at all of our locations. We had the opportunity to hear from Joey Autry (Esther), Brandon Meadows (Abraham and Isaac),  David Collins (Daniel in the Lion’s Den) as well as Donnie and myself (Noah).

It was also during this series that Vertical participated in our first mission trip to NYC!! What an awesome experience as we teamed with our friends from Fusion Church, Spring Lake and Metro NY Baptist to minister to South Asian people’s in Jackson Heights, Queens for a week. Life changing for all who attended.

 

August brought us to our “White Flag” series, a study of the book of Jonah, where we called our people to surrender. We also talked about the truth that “Your chaos is causing chaos for everyone else in your life.” During WF we really pressed in on prayer. We fasted, we had prayer lunches and we called people to pray for those in their lives that need Christ. It was a humbling series that really refocused us after summer.

We also ended summer with a great Family Get together by gathering at White Lake Water Park for Splash Fest. This event is not only great fun, it’s a great event where families have the opportunity to meet others at VC.

September brought us into the “No Perfect People Allowed” series. Amazing that people (church people) actually asked us does that mean Jesus isn’t allowed at Vertical because HE IS perfect. Sigh… We talked about ROCKS during this series (see picture and THIS POST) NPPA was an incredible series that brought freedom and forgiveness of sins. We saw many salvations through this series by God’s grace as well as 36 baptisms over a 2 week period between both of our locations including the incredible baptism story below:

It was also during September that FUZE, our student ministry, moved to their new location at Bill Sapp Recreation Center. By the end of the semester they were ministering to over 130 students weekly. We are so excited for what is to come!!!

October not only brought our series of one of the greatest truths you will ever learn: “Who i am > Who i was”, it also brought our yearly LOVE WEEK where Vertical gets outside the walls of the church to serve inside our community. We served thousands of people through LOVE WEEK as a church racking up hundreds of hours. We are already looking forward to LOVE WEEK 2014!

In November we pressed into a blessing of the believer with our series, “the Whisper”.  It was a blessing to see so many working to grow in their ability to hear and respond to the whisper of God.

We just finished December – One of the great parts of Christmas was on the evening of December 15 we gathered with our VKIDZ at the Holiday Inn Ballroom for the VIDZ Night of Worship. It’s always a great night of encouragement when we celebrate the season and Jesu with our Kidz. McGee and team did a great job putting together a great family event.

I certainly hope that you were able to be part of a great Christmas holiday season, especially with our Christmas service, “The Song of the Season”. Not only was it an incredible evening but that day saw 18 people make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other noteworthy stats for 2013:

  • In 2013 Vertical gave over $31,000 towards mission work both here locally and around our world
  • We were able to give 12,800 to Church Planting Partnerships through the Vertical Church Planting Center.
  • We helped people with personal needs locally to the amount of $2,700.
  • And because of your giving we baptized 75 people – bringing our total to close to 300 in the last 33 months!!!
Isn’t that encouraging?!?  We need to CELEBRATE what God has done in our midst this year. I am so thankful to be a part of a church that is committed to

HELPING PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE CHURCH MEET GOD.

2014 is gonna be off the chain! See you Sunday.

A Mid-Thursday Encouragement

It’s Thursday. Maybe you’ve had a tough week. As hard as you have attempted to let this week be different spiritually for whatever reason, it didn’t happen and you just don’t understand why. On Sunday you felt great, you were “All In” and today you kind of feel like a failure. Let me encourage you: Follow through is one of the hardest disciplines and it is so easy to get off course.

If satan can get Adam and Eve off course in the middle of Paradise he can certainly distract you on a Thursday.

You CAN get back on course today. The devil is a liar and telling you that you already got off-track so “you might as well quit”. Be victorious for in Christ you have already won the battle. Here’s some things that will help:

  • Catch up on your Bible reading. You have only missed 4 days. Day One is here, Two here, Three here and Four here. You can find each days devotional questions on my website, http://mikepittman.org/
  • Did you sign up to take the NEXT class this Sunday at 9:20 am? It’s time for you to quit just attending and take that next step whatever it may be. Respond in the comments below and say, “I’m coming to NEXT!”
  • Do you have kidz? Make sure to join us for the “ALL IN SplashFest” at White Lake Water Park on Saturday, August 25th at 6:30 pm. This is going to be a great chance for you to meet others including our staff. I look forward to a little splashing with all of you!
  • Who are you inviting to “ALL IN WEEKEND”? Sunday morning, August 26th is the day I would ask you all to be praying for. That person that you have prayed for, the one that you KNOW needs to experience Vertical – do whatever it takes to get them here on that Sunday morning as I am bringing a message that they need to hear.
  • Do you want to learn to how to share your faith with others? VGroups are Vertical small groups that meet in homes all over our region. Our next VGroup semester is going to begin in September and we are starting it with a church-wide study that is going to help everyone of you learn to be confident in sharing what God has done in your life with others. If you’re anything like me you always need help in this area. Make plans to join us IMMEDIATELY after the service for a free meal and the opportunity to be part of a VGroup in your area.
  • Would you like to H.O.S.T. a VGroup video study in your home? Here’s what it means to H.O.S.T.
    H = Have a heart for Jesus and Vertical Church
    O = Open up your home
    S = Serve people in your home
    T = Turn on a DVD player
    If you think that you and 5-8 of your friends could do this study together 1 time per week contact our VGroups Pastor, Danny McLamb on facebook or email him at DannyMc@govertical.org
  • If you were supposed to come to a VTeam Vision Night and missed it you CAN join us tonite at 7pm for our last one. Honestly, this has been an incredible week and I would love for you to experience this. Let me know in the comments below that you would like to attend so we can plan for your meal.

Don’t quit – start today!!! Your lunch hour is a GREAT time to read the scriptures. What a great way to get your heart ready for the 2nd half of your day!

By the way… below is the “In the Know” video that did not play in Sunday’s service. I love you all and am praying WITH and For you.