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You Can’t Outgive God!

One of the commitments that we made when we started Vertical Church in February, 2011, was to give away 10% of our offerings by seeking to invest in mission work in our local communities as well as around the world.

GOD HAS BEEN SO FAITHFUL TO VERTICAL CHURCH!

Let’s celebrate what God has done through our church because of your faithfulness. Over the last 3 years we have…

Give $63,165 to help take the Gospel around the world.

Had the opportunity to partner with local ministries who are truly making a difference in our community such as “His Little Ones” Pregnancy Support Ministry and Camp Grace both of which have received over $11,000.

Been able to invest $15,200 in helping plant other churches in our region as well as provide support and leadership to their Pastors.

Been blessed to give $8,800 to help multiple families in our community who have been dealt various financial challenges.

All total we have been able to invest $109,185 over the last three years. The reason we have been able to do this is simply because you choose to invest in Vertical Church. YOU CAN’T OUTGIVE GOD!!! Thank you for giving and helping us to make a difference in our community and in the world.

Understanding Vertical Culture – Tres Finale

This week I have been sharing Vertical Church’s core values – we call them the VFormation. Hope you will go back and check Monday and Tuesday’s if you missed them.

The major statement about the shaping of our church was that as we were starting  Vertical we felt like we understood something about culture and church:

It’s not what our churches were teaching that was a problem – the problem in many churches is the culture of the church.

Here are the final 2 V Formations:

Love is a Verb.

We can’t say that we love the people of this area without showing them love in a practical way. Love that doesn’t show itself is wasted. It’s not something you feel, it’s something you do. Our plan is to engage this area with the Gospel by investing in this area, serving in the area and taking part in the community.

When we started a common statement I would make was, “I want people to know who we are because of the way that we serve people and love them while we do it.” We look for opportunities to be a part of community events, to be where people are. Every October we have “Share the Love Week” where we send our people out on mission. We always see this as a way to be the hands and feet of Jesus while sharing with people that we want “to help people who don’t like church meet God.”

The last of our core values is…

If we love Him, we will love them.

Loving people who aren’t part of the church isn’t just a good idea, it’s an imperative. We believe that God has placed us here to be light in our region. We can’t say that we love God if we don’t love the people that God loves.

I had a conversation recently where a christian person said, “someone was telling me that you’ll let anyone come to Vertical”

“That person was right!” I replied. The following questions spewed from the persons Facebook typing fingers:

“You let alcoholics who still drink attend? A prostitute? An addict? What about someone cheating on their spouse?!? Gay people? You have homeless people in your church?”

“YES!!! ALL OF THE ABOVE DO OR HAVE ATTENDED VERTICAL!” And I am thankful that our people love them. I remember very well being a 19 year old kid, hair to the middle of his back, just played in a club til 1am the night before, NOW walking into church with my girlfriend and feeling like every eye was condemningly pointed at me. Anybody can come to Vertical because I BELIEVE that the Gospel is powerful, that it changes hearts and lives. I am willing to speak God’s truth and let the Gospel DO what the Gospel DOES!

I pray these posts have been helpful. I hope that you understand why maybe NOW is the time to try church again.

Understanding Vertical Culture – Part Deux

This week I want to talk about Vertical Church’s core values – we call them the VFormation. If you missed yesterday’s post check it out.

I stated yesterday that as we were starting  Vertical we felt like we understood something about culture and church:

It’s not what our churches were teaching that was a problem – the problem in many churches is the culture of the church.

Yesterday we talked the culture of our services and the way that God reaches those who don’t know Him through the church. Here are 3 more:

Pray Now, Speak Life.

We believe that the Creator of the Universe longs to live and operate within the lives of all who have called upon Him for Salvation. With this in mind, we have made immediate prayer a core value meaning whenever someone asks for prayer for a situation or person we will pray for that person then, agreeing with them in belief and speak words of life into that situation.

I have been serving in ministry for 15 years, and through those 15 years there have been COUNTLESS times where people asked me to pray for them and I said, “sure will”. Sometimes I remembered to do it at a later date – sometimes I didn’t. I decided years ago that I was tired of being a liar in this category.

Prayer for each other is what the church is supposed to do. So why is it that the people of God act almost as if they are ashamed to pray for and over people? May the power of Jesus compel you to exercise this wonderful gift given to believers.

WE are about THE Church.

We aspire to grow an inspiring body that will in turn inspire a movement that will be a praise to JESUS. We are a church plant that plants churches – we will start new churches around our region and beyond.

We always felt that we were called to plant churches, not just A church. We are a multisite church – 1 church that meets in multiple locations. We currently have 2 locations and I believe that more are around the corner. We have been accused of trying to build our own kingdom because of our goal to reach people through SE North Carolina. We just want to reach the people that need Jesus and we cannot effectively reach people in one county/town from another county/town. You might get some people to drive in, but they can’t bring their friends or connect mission to that town.

We are also in the process of working with 4 church planters around NC to start new churches in towns or cultures that we do not feel personally called to multisite in. We do this because we believe in church planting and church planters. We just want to do for others what I wish someone would have done for us when we were starting. WE are about THE Church.

We are a church OF small groups, not WITH. 

There is a difference. V Groups are not another thing we do besides worship. Our V Groups actually gather together on Sunday to worship through service. The biblical functions of the Body of Christ play out within our V Group structure. Our care, discipleship and accountability all happen here. Our ultimate goal isn’t people sitting in rows listening to one of Pastors but talking in circles where lives really change. We expect Vertical Partners (members)  to be part of a V Group.

These things, outside of worship, don’t really happen on Sunday morning’s. I have said this for years, you start coming to Vertical and you LOVE IT!! “I’ve never experienced church like this!!!” That’s #vibrantworshipsetsthetone. But after a person attends for 4, 5, 6 weeks you’ve seen it all. And what was new and exciting becomes your new norm. You need more. we don’t GO to church, WE ARE the Church!!! V Groups allow the church to BE the church.

We finish up tomorrow.

Understanding Vertical Culture

This week I want to talk about Vertical Church’s core values – we call them the VFormation. If you are curious as to WHY we call our core values the V Formation I break that down HERE.

As we were starting  Vertical we felt like we understood something about culture and church: 

It’s not what our churches were teaching that was a problem – the problem in many churches is the culture of the church.

Side note: Now, I know, people don’t like to see the words CULTURE and CHURCH in the same discussion, but honestly, every church has a culture. Every church has a way that they dress, the style that they sing, the hymn books that they use, the version of the bible they prefer, the way that they preach, the length that they gather, the people who attend. EVERY church has a culture.

We felt that there are people around here who WANT to know God but don’t like church. I remember when I went to church before I had met Jesus and I didn’t like church either. We wanted to start a church that people who don’t go to church would LOVE to come to.

The vision is Vertical Church is “to help people who don’t like church meet God.” Our mission is “to lead people to become passionate about Jesus so they can lead others to Jesus.” THIS is who we are and this is WHY we do WHAT we do.

So over the next few days I will be sharing the V Formation – this is in the core of who we are at Vertical Church:

Vibrant Worship Sets the Tone.

We create Sunday morning environments that people will talk about during the week. Vertical services are structured with the thought of those we are trying to reach. (1 Cor 10:31) Our worship to our Savior is loud, passionate and reflects the next generation. (Psalm 100:1-5) We value our mission above traditions so we purposely create engaging environments that reflect that. Most churches set their culture based on their attenders – our approach is different. Our church understands that our services, while ultimately is a gathering where believers worship Jesus, are designed to help people who don’t like church meet God. Personal preferences will not divert our goal to impact this region with the good news (GOSPEL) of Jesus, therefore, we structure for who we’re trying to reach above who we are trying to keep. 

We are Viral.

The term viral means something totally different today than it did 10 years ago. Nonetheless, the term means something that circulates rapidly. (Ever seen the Facebook post, “WalMart called. Your Pictures are Done.”??? We are all here as believers in Christ because of the viral nature of the Good News. 

The Gospel lived out is contagious. We believe God wants to turn our world upside-down (right side up). We are driven by Jesus’ last words that we are to reach people and make disciples. Our goal is to spread the Gospel to “our world”. (2/21)

I truly believe that God is getting ready to do something miraculous in SE North Carolina. Are you ready. I hope that you are gaining a better understanding of who we are and what we’re about!

 

A Controversial Vision

The original title of this post was, “To Church People Who Think We’re Slammin’ You”. Since day one we have had people who just couldn’t get past the vision of Vertical Church.

What we say:

The vision of Vertical Church is to help people who don’t like church meet God.

What some church people hear us saying:

The vision of Vertical Church is to help people who don’t like YOUR CHURCH meet God.

If that’s you I truly hope that you will hear my heart: This is so not our intention. Truth is, the direction of our vision is aimed at the tens of thousands of people who are unreached. When we share our vision we aren’t talking to church people at all yet it seems that some read or hear our vision and think we’re talking about them when all we’re doing is talking to the people we are called to reach.

BY THE WAY, OUR VISION, IT’S WORKING!

Our target is the unreached. Members leaving one church and going to another ISN’T revival – it’s not even true growth – it’s barns swapping sheep. I would add that people who attend one church and begin to attend ours and do not join us in our vision will eventually grow disenchanted with us as we are focused on who we’re called to reach above those we have to please to keep.

CAN WE ALL AGREE THAT THERE ARE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN OUR REGION WHO DON’T GO TO ANYBODY’S CHURCH? Many, if not most of these people believe in God and believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Many don’t like church – I know this true as I was one of them before I knew Jesus. Whatever the reason is, they have written off church. Many went at one time. Some feel they didn’t fit in. Still others have been hurt by someone in church. Their dilemma: they believe in God and Jesus but if they have to go back to “church” to get back to God they don’t know what they are going to do because they are done with church. My heart is for those people - those who just don’t fit a regular church mold.

How do you get the attention of those people who are unreached? I think you do whatever is necessary short of sin, right? The vision of Vertical is communicating to those people, “hey, we know you’re there, and we want you to give the church another chance.” We feel compelled to call out to these people as we believe it is the mandate of the church, given by Jesus Himself, to find people, baptize them in His name and lead them to become His disciples.  How many times have I been in a conversation with someone about church and tell them that the vision of VC is to help people who don’t like church meet God and they said to me, “that’s me man!”?!? I know… I started a church to reach people like him/her.

We could change our vision to say that we want to help people who don’t DO church meet God, but if we did it would only be in response to people that the vision has nothing to do with. Unfortunately, our vision wasn’t designed to communicate to churches – our vision is designed to communicate with people churches normally do not communicate. Communicating with churches isn’t our vision –  our vision is the vision.

What do we do when we see a problem? We find a solution to that problem. What is Vertical Church. A bible believing, bible preaching church that meets in a movie theater and uses rock worship music to reach people with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You know what else I believe Vertical to be? I believe it is God’s solution to a long standing prayer that I have had to reach the people that most of churches aren’t positioned to reach.