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Vertical University Interest Meeting is this Sunday Night

Back when I began dreaming about planting a church (about 9 years), the location of the church that I dreamed about was in Pembroke, North Carolina. Now, if the question, “why Pembroke?”, just crossed your mind, you are probably not alone.

Why Pembroke?

I graduated from UNC Pembroke (actually, back in those days it was still called Pembroke State) in 1994. I did not know Jesus, did not care to know Jesus, and to be honest, during my time there, nobody really talked to me about Jesus. And to be honest, that bothers me. Out of the thousands of people I came into contact on that campus in 5 years, nobody ever felt led to talk to the metal drummer with the long hair about his need to know God?

Anyway, on with the story…

Years later as a Pastor, I recognized that my old stomping grounds would be an awesome place to share the Gospel with thousands of young people. Not that there weren’t churches there – there are some GREAT churches there. I just wondered if a different expression of our shared message of the forgiveness of God and His Glory would be successful aimed at those young adults, setting the foundations of the rest of their lives. A college student who learns to passionately love Jesus will live their life in a much different way. It will change the trajectory of the rest of their life.

God changed that first Vertical location from Pembroke to Lumberton (that’s a whole other story) but the time has finally come! In just 19 weeks, Vertical Church will launch it’s third location in Pembroke and I am INCREDIBLY jacked up about it. This Sunday night we are coming to Pembroke to talk about it:

Vertical University Interest Meeting

WHEN: This Sunday night, April 19th at 6pm
WHERE: Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) House – directly across from GPAC
WHAT: We will share the vision of Vertical University and how you can be part
WHO: Anyone who is interested in learning more about the HOW’S and WHY’s

Hopefully we will be able to answer all of your questions and get you as JACKED as we are. We will have some refreshments so we can hang out and chill afterwards. I hope to see you there.

UNCP Hector Online from mike pittman on Vimeo.

What People Can Expect this Weekend at Vertical Bladen

click to enlarge map

Because we know that Sunday services are the “front door” to the church, we design our Sunday service with outsiders in mind.  Because our vision is to help people who don’t like church meet God we design our services with them in mind – we believe that they will probably attend a service quicker than anything else.

Our Parking team is on mission – they’re looking to make your 1st contact of the morning a great one. Our Greet Team is stationed at the entrances and near the parking lots to help people feel welcome. Our VIP team is in place to make sure our first time guests receive the treatment their visit deserves – they are very important people at VC.

On our stage the people who talk speak regular language that people who don’t attend church can understand. We work hard to not make people feel uncomfortable because of our traditions. We want to help people who don’t like church meet God.

The dress at Vertical Church is totally casual. We don’t just dress casual to help people feel comfortable, we would hate for people to have to spend money on dress clothes just to attend our church. I would much rather a person take the money they spent on church clothes to help someone in need (that would be awesome!). We do this because we want to help people who don’t like church meet God.

In the entrance you will probably hear some music that is familiar to you. People have the opportunity to get a cup of coffee, a drink and maybe even a snack from our cafe..

Our children’s check in is designed with safety in mind. Once you have registered your child in our system you will find our weekly computerized-scanner check in system to be a breeze!

At Vertical we teach the truths of the Bible but our goal is to teach it in a way that people can understand. The bible doesn’t need to be made relevant – scripture IS relevant to our daily life. We believe it and teach it without reservation. With that in mind, we tackle tough issues.  Our service, however, is designed on a whole to create an environment that God can use to draw people to Himself.  In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul instructs the church (and ultimately, us) to conduct our services in a way that wouldn’t be confusing to those who are outsiders. Ultimately, our worship services are about bringing Him glory – and He is ALL about those that don’t know Him.

So, what should people expect at Vertical? An incredibly friendly and easy to navigate environment; great children’s ministry designed with safety and truth in mind; passionate music with a modern flair; passionate, Spirit-led message from the Bible that we pray God will use to draw people to Him; clear instructions about taking next steps with God.

Do I think what we’re doing is the right way and everyone else is wrong? No. If you are staying within the confines of scripture, most everything else is cultural and is subjective to the people they are and are trying to reach. What we’re doing isn’t “right” – we’re just doing it the way we believe God has wired us to do it.

So, this is how we do Sunday services at Vertical. There are many styles of churches and this is the strategy we have chosen to use as a body. We might be different but I don’t believe we are wrong.  And neither are the other churches who want to bring people to Jesus no matter what their style may be.

Helping People Connect Back to the Church

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 13 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 him “Steve”. Steve is a single parent and isn’t a local. He has been raising his child on his own and has been pretty down on his luck. Steve wasn’t a christian but someone invited him to Vertical and from the very 1st weekend he LOVED it! The next week he was back with a friend. After  checking us out for about a month we had a conversation in which he received Jesus into his life. God is changing Steve’s life and the life of his child! Steve was not interested in church prior to VC.
  • Another dude we’ll call “Don”. Don was raised in a legalistic, religious home and went to a very judgmental church that drove him away as a teen. Don went his own way, lived a ROUGH life and had ALL the scars to prove it. A few years after a tragic time he met Jesus but never felt like he fit into church until one day a Vertical attendee invited him to check us out. This Vertical attendee kNEW that “Don” would indeed be accepted at Vertical (I am SO THANKFUL that our people know they can invite their friends and we’ll love them where they are). So Don attended and loved it… Jesus is at work!
  • Or my friend “Lorraine”. Lorraine never felt she fit in at church. She believed in God – she just didn’t fit in and was ready to give up. She quit attending but prayed that God would send her to a church where she could freely worship Him apart from all the other ‘church’ stuff. She was led to Vertical where God is doing a work – drawing her closer and closer to Him and ultimately using her to bring others to know Him.

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. This Sunday at Bladen Community College we intend to help people who don’t normally do church see all that the church is FOR: FOR the glory of God, FOR familes, 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 weekend we begin a journey of joining all of the like-minded, Gospel preaching churches of Bladen County to help the 19K who don’t attend anyone’s church meet Jesus.



So glad that you decided to check out what I'm excited about today! In no certain order I'm pumped that…

  • On Saturday evening we are headed to Elevation Church in Charlotte – Vertical Road Crew! In my opinion, Elevation sets the standard for what a young church can be. Even if you haven't been out with the Road Crew you can still join us this weekend – but let me know you're coming. During the early days of Vertical we have been “road triping” together to different churches throughout our area. These road trips allow our LAUNCH TEAM the opportunity to worship together, clarify our mission, build relationships, strategize, gain insight and see similar models “in action”.
  • Our next "Love is a Verb" event is this Saturday morning as we're taking part in the Lumberton Christmas Parade. Our Vertical hot chocolate stands are going to give us some awesome opportunities to meet bunches of Lumberton's residents – LOVE THESE TYPE OF EVENTS!
  • Just got off the phone with someone who I believe God is going to use in a mighty way at Vertical Church. Said he had been praying about signing our Membership Covenant because he took it seriously (PRAISE, because we want you to) and he really felt like our area needed this kind of church.
  • We are in contact with some local assistance agencies about ways that Vertical can make a difference this Christmas – We have a big announcement coming soon about that.
  • Have I mentioned that we are "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!"????
  • Very excited that a close friend of ours who we've been praying for got some great medical news today! We know God is good despite any and all news but it sure is nice when the news is good too.
  • I am loving the "Sun Stand Still" Home study! Have you found that audacious vision for your life yet?
  • Our next Vertical Worship Service will be December 5th, will be our 1st  morning service (10:45am) at the Holiday Inn Ballrooms and we hope that you will begin your Christmas Season off right with us as we share with you the Gift Revolution (we'll talk about Gift Revolution soon)!

Very Important Update!

In exactly 3 months from this Sunday morning Vertical Church will launch weekly services in our mission field of Lumberton, NC. We cannot wait to share Vertical with our city.

With this thought in mind this weekend holds a very unique opportunity. In addition to our worship service this Sunday afternoon we are also planning for a very special Sunday morning.


What a great opportunity for our launch team, friends and partners to see first hand what an opening Sunday looks like! We know that there promises to be a great buzz, much excitement and ample opportunity to bring praise to Jesus!

The Service that we are attending is at 11:15 – it is located at 28 Whiteville Plaza, S Madison St. Whiteville, NC. Let me know if you are planning to attend with us