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Everything You Need to Know about our BIGGEST WEEKEND EVER!!



For such a long time we have been praying and preparing about this weekend and I believe that it is going to be one of those that we will remember for a long time. Here’s what you need to know:

  • “Share the Love” Weekend – One of our core values here at Vertical is #loveisaverb – it’s not a feeling, it’s an action. Occasionally we have opportunities to share and minister to those outside the walls of the church and tomorrow is one of those days. Over the past weeks we have spent many, many hours ministering to UNCP in anticipation of our upcoming launch, tomorrow (Saturday, Aug 22) we will minister to our Bladen and Lumberton communities. If you attend Vertical Bladen, please join the team at Dublin Elementary at 8 am. If you attend Vertical Lumberton, please join the team at Lumberton HS at 7:30 am. Wear some work clothes – if you have rakes or minor yard tools bring those as well.

  • Who are you Bringing to Vertical this Sunday?  For weeks as a church we have been praying for people that we love and care about. Have you invited them? Maybe they said “no”, or gave you the “maybe” that you know actually MEANS no. DON’T GIVE UP!!! One more prayer, one more call and one more ask could change someone’s eternity. Never forget that we #celebrate when good people seek, when God’s people grow, when saved people share, and when the lost are found!
  • btw… this weekend is baptism Sunday at Lumberton so you know that is always a special day! Have you been baptized SINCE you believed? 

Vertical University launches THIS SUNDAY NITE!! For years we have prayed towards an open door to minister to UNCP students and the town of Pembroke as well and we are so very thankful that God has made a way. Vertical University launches THIS SUNDAY NITE, 6pm, at the Campus Ministry Center across the street from the GPAC in Pembroke. We cannot wait to see what God is gonna do!!!

“Are You Guys Closing the Church?”

That was the question that my wife was asked after the 9am service at our Lumberton location last Sunday. It was a legitimate question being that we were telling everyone that “today is our last day at the theater”. I just couldn’t believe that the person didn’t understand what’s next as we FELT that we have clearly communicated it multiple times over the previous weeks and 3 different times in Sunday’s service. This question reminded me that you can never over-communicate important information.


So here’s what’s happening at Vertical Church as of this Sunday, June 7th:

  • All 3 Vertical Locations (Lumberton, University, Bladen) in one location. For the next 5 Sunday’s our services will take place at our Vertical Bladen Location located on the campus on Bladen Community College
  • Service Times are at 9am and 11am.
  • VKidz and check-in process will be as you are accustomed.
  • OUR 1st SERVICE AT LUMBERTON HIGH SCHOOL will be on July 12th, 9 am and 11 am.
  • Vertical University Launch Team Meeting. Anyone who is interested in being a part of the University Launch Team is expected to be a part of the “Start Strong Bible Study”. It is 6pm Sunday night, 6/7, at the BCM House across from UNCP.


Sunday is going to be special as we have all of us under one-roof. Worship is gonna be off the chain!!! We are beginning our series, “The Devil Made Me Do It” and I will be talking about something that we all deal with, spiritual warfare. I will also share how you can win that war.

It’s gonna be an exciting day that you don’t wanna miss! Bring someone and watch God work!!!


What’s NEXT?

In last week’s message I said, “God didn’t shout His love from heaven, He showed His love on earth when His Son became flesh and blood.” What Jesus did on the cross was the ultimate act of true connectedness. The thing that blows me away is what He asked in return:

“FOLLOW ME.” – Matt 4:19, Mark 1:17

How does a person “follow Jesus”? I think that’s an awesome question that doesn’t get asked enough. I think the most important thing in following God with your life is always moving forward. We never follow by taking backward steps. If you find yourself moving backward, you aren’t following, you’re falling. The best thing you can do to follow is take some great next steps and you can begin that today:

Here are some great NEXT steps:

  1. Begin reading your bible EVERY day. I would begin by reading at least 5 mins, your time there will grow. Use a translation you can actually understand (I vary between NIV, NLT, ESV with a little bit of “the Message” thrown in). You can begin a reading plan HERE. We have 21 day and 100 day reading plans at the NEXT table at both Vertical locations.
  2. Get involved at your local church. Don’t just attend, be a part. The people whose lives are being changed the most are those involved in changing others lives on a weekly basis. If you attend Vertical you need to join a VTeam today and you can begin that process HERE.
  3. Forgive someone whom you have issues with. The greatest hinderance that I see to growth in people’s lives is in the area of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness will stunt your growth like a teenager smoking cigarettes! Seek forgiveness and pray for reconciliation – stop focusing on what’s wrong with others and focus on what’s wrong with you.
  4. Confess secret sin for purpose of breaking its hold on you. Some people can’t move forward because they are carrying something spiritually heavy and rather than confess and repent so they can move on, they choose to hide and conceal. Our care and prayer team (orange tent after the service) is always there to listen and pray with you. Secret sin will always keep you from what’s NEXT.
  5. Examine your habits and environments. Is there anything in your life that causes you to sin? What will it take to remove that temptation from you? Sometimes we have to remove ourselves from things or places that cause us to walk in our old lifestyle.

These 5 things aren’t a very exhaustive list but, for me, these are things that I believe will point us towards what’s NEXT. I do know this to be true: God’s plan for you is GREATER than your plan for you. So take a NEXT step and watch Him move in your life.

I can’t wait for Sunday!!! I hope that you will finally do what you know you need to do.

You Were Hoping I Would Forget…

We live such guarded lives.

I would think that most of us have let someone in emotionally at some point in our lives and allowed them to be a close friend. And I would imagine that most of us have been hurt by people that WE have let in as well. And then it happened again – and again – and again…

At some point the hurt becomes calloused and we, knowingly or unknowingly, put up some boundaries: “I’m not saying I’m done – I’m just done with letting people become that close to me – when they hurt me, it hurts too bad.”

Our boundaries protect us. Our boundaries shield us. Our boundaries hide us.

Our boundaries also keep us from living out what God wants most for those who have trusted in Him: True Connected Relationships.

John 13:34 ”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

True Connected Relationships

So, this past Sunday I asked this question: “When was the last time that you had someone in your home for a meal that wasn’t family (or in your VGroup) for the purpose of relationship?” The question stems from this passage from Sunday’s message:

Romans 12:13 When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night.

A Challenge

I think that this should be a part of our lives. I know it’s hard – I know you are busy – but how often have we used our BUSYNESS as an EXCUSE to not do something we knew God wanted us to do? So here is our challenge to you:

Schedule a meal within the next 2 weeks with someone that you feel like God wants you to get to know inside of our church or for the purpose of reaching out. Invite them this week, meal next week.

Simple, yet hard. I know you were hoping that I would forget and that this would be one of those challenges where you “say a prayer and leave it there.”, but never forget, Relationships make the Difference. I wonder if you will take the challenge? I look forward to hearing of your obedience.

This is the “WHY?” Behind Vertical

There are so many people who believe in God but have given up on the church. Some did so because they were hurt, some because rules were enforced without the Spirit of the rules, while others were just plain disinterested.There are over 96,000 people in our region that don’t go to anyone’s church. The most surprising thing I have found through 16 years of ministry is that most actually believe in God. Though they believe in God they just aren’t into church. What are we going to do to reach the masses that are just not going to go to a “regular church”?


Sometimes Vertical Church is misunderstood. Vertical Church is not a reaction to regular church, it’s an action to reach people who aren’t going to come. It’s not THE solution, but it is A solution. We do what we do the way that we do because we unashamedly want to help people who don’t like church meet God.You see, I’ve met people who don’t feel like they fit in at church…

  • Like a new friend, we’ll call her “Georgia”. Georgia is a twenty-something and was raised in a very legalistic, religious environment where church and very strict teaching was a daily constant. Not only did she feel she couldn’t live up to the expectations of her church, she felt that God was ashamed of her – so she avoided God. Eventually she ran from God so hard that she “hated Him”. Her father began attending Vertical Church and began to pray that God would use this church to draw his wayward daughter back. “Georgia” did begin to attend under her father’s insistence and week-by-week the coldness of her heart towards God began melting. She soon met Jesus. Before Vertical, “Georgia” didn’t care if she EVER attended a church again.
  • Another person, we’ll call “Anthony”. Anthony was raised in a very religious home. He believed in God, and even gave his heart to Jesus as a young man. But the world caught Anthony and he began to rebel against everything that his parents had placed in him. Anthony ran from God as well. After years away from God which included crime, homelessness and drug addiction, Anthony came to Vertical to try to save his marriage. He didn’t expect to be moved as he was only attending to appease his unhappy wife. Little did he know that God was about to change his life dramatically. Today, Anthony is impacting people for the Gospel everywhere he goes.
  • Or my friend “Carrie”. Carrie didn’t really have much church background – she never really “got” church. She believed in God – she just didn’t see the need. After hearing about VC many times she decided to try it out. Seeing her one day she gushed, “I have NEVER been to a church that I can’t wait for next Sunday!” (BTW… so thankful to hear that SO much!) God is working in her life and she is drawing ever closer. I believe before long she will surrender her heart to Jesus.

These are 3 REAL PEOPLE who are attending Vertical. They weren’t interested in church but they were interested in learning about God. The names have been changed but the truth remains the same: People need to be loved. People need to find acceptance. People need to know that the church, the Body of Jesus Christ, is there FOR them and to meet them right where they are at. Most of the time the church is known for what we are AGAINST – we want to show people who don’t normally do church see all that the church is FOR: FOR the glory of God, FOR families, FOR kidz and marriages, FOR our cities and towns, FOR people meeting Jesus. People far from God know that they are flawed. So are we. In our gathering may we give them the hope that they are so desperately seeking.

We are FOR helping people connect back to God’s church, whatever that might take. This is the “WHY?” behind Vertical.

NOTE: Our Next Vertical University INTEREST MEETING will take place on Sunday, May 3rd at 6pm – BCM House (across from Givens Performing Arts Center in Pembroke).