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A Helpful Plan for Action

People have good intentions. They want to make a difference, it’s just that sometimes they forget to.

Years ago as I was studying for a message on the subject of personal responsibility to reach people with the Gospel I discovered an interesting concept – the thought of a person’s individual spiritual world. Now I know that I’m not the 1st to think this way but at the time I had not ever seen anyone teach about this. Here’s what I mean:

Every believer in Jesus has a “world”. Within that world are the people whom God has placed in their life that they have influence over. Relatives, work associates, close friends and acquaintances would all be a part of your “world” – anyone you have any influence over.

I don’t believe any 2 people have the same “world”. For example: Keyna and I have been married for 22 years and as you might imagine our worlds are connected and intersect often. However, our worlds, no matter how connected are not the same – there are people in Keyna’s life that she has influence over that I don’t and likewise on my side. Our worlds may be similar but they aren’t the same.

There are people that God has placed in your world that He intends you to influence towards and share the Gospel of Jesus.

That’s where this worksheet comes in.

Printing out the “my world” worksheet is Step One – it will help you to put together a list of the people in your world who aren’t connected to the local church thus giving you a group that you can begin to pray for. The groups consist of your relatives and close friends. Then we bring in our work acquaintances and then acquaintances. The sum total of all of these put together = YOUR WORLD. We did this exercise one evening with Vertical Church leadership and there were immediately over 400 people on the list!!! Imagine if you were able to reach just one of the people/couples from each of these groups – how exciting would that be?

Impacting lives begins with having a plan. ReMember.

Church Planting is a Learning Process


One of the things that we have been constantly reminded about as we plant this church is that we have never done this before. Funny how many books you can read, how many podcasts you can learn from and how many messages you can hear. These resources, while hugely valuable, can also make you feel like you know what you're doing.

We don't. How's that for transparency?

We have never planted a church before. We have DEFINITELY never planted a church aimed at helping people who don't like church meet God. And in there is the challenge.

As we've been working on developing Vertical our goal has not been to do everything as an organized church, but rather, we have been organizing a church. But in our development there have been times where we failed to communicate things that needed to be communicated. There have also been instances where we failed to follow up with people who were in charge of making things happen. Other times we failed to cover some bases because we thought someone else had it covered.

As we've been working on developing Vertical our goal has not been to do everything as an organized church, but rather, we have been organizing a church.

Important thing is that we have learned from these failures. And that's what we're supposed to do, right. I think we have failed at times to remind people  that we were in the learning process and mislead people to think that the way we are now is the way we will be when we launch. I CAN ASSURE YOU WE WILL BE FAR FROM THIS. Our heart is that on opening day we will function as if we've been doing this for years – I believe we will do this – we will settle for nothing less. 

That being said,  negative feedback isn't negative at all unless we fail to correct. Feedback is positive – we learn from feedback and won't improve if we don't. The reason I'm sharing this is because I believe in transparency. I don't wanna act like we have everything together when we don't and the truth is we are learning from and adjusting and becoming a better organization by the day.

If we would have stayed on the sidelines and never planted we would have never had to worry about failing. I'm glad we decided to lay it on the line – failures and all.

Sunday Nite

05_mado_StarryDay_02 I have been serving in ministry for over 11 years. Almost every Sunday night during those 11 years I have taken the trash down to the road (Monday is pick up day) and while I'm out there by myself I look up into the beautiful night sky and talk to Jesus about my day. Sometimes the talk was pain-filled; most nights the conversation was joyous. One thing that they all had in common: thankfulness.

I am still blown away that Jesus has called me to the life that He has – to serve Him, to be His mouthpiece and representative to the world. Tonight is one of those filled with joy. Have you thanked Him lately for all He has blessed you with.

Vertical Church had an amazing weekend. We completed basic training this weekend; we attended Newspring Church; we talked major vision. Donnie brought an amazing message about how we will fund this HUGE dream and Joey shared about V-Groups. We prayed with people, celebrated answered prayers and believed/agreed about some that have not been answered yet – but we believe. We ended the night with an impromptu and sweet time of prayer among your pastors… This group of men believe that God is preparing us to see something that we will have no choice but to give Him credit. 

I am so proud of the team that God is putting around us; I am humbled that He would allow me to serve with such an amazing group of people. 

NEXT SUNDAY IS OUR NEXT VERTICAL GATHERING. We are looking forward to once again gathering with our launch team and hope to meet some new friends this coming weekend. If you've been curious about Vertical and what God is doing make plans to join us at 4pm, Holiday Inn in Ltown.

"You are amazing, God!" 

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Suggestion_box I don’t know what you’re doing this weekend but here are two suggestions for you:

Vertical Basic Training (VBT) takes place on Saturday (2Guys Grill at 5pm) and Sunday (Village Station at 4pm) – the one you choose to attend doesn’t matter as they are the same teaching both times.

The Vertical Roadtrip this weekend is heading back to Newspring Florence this weekend as Steven Furtick will be preaching. Furtick is the Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte and if you haven't heard Furtick "bring it" you're in for a surprise. I am praying this week that the message will rock your world!

Before you head into full-weekend mode you should know (in case you missed it):

RESIST The Next Vertical Gathering will be next Sunday, October 10th at the Holiday Inn, Lumberton (4pm) – More info on that HERE

Loveisaverb We are living out Acts 8:8 and V-Formation #2 (“Love is a Verb”) during the month of October by serving our community. Click HERE to sign up to serve at an outreach, Click HERE to purchase your “Love is a Verb” promotional t-shirt that we will wear when we serve.

Have a great weekend! 


Sunday Nite

IMG_20100926_114455 I am SO excited tonight… seriously, my heart is just overflowing as I think all that Jesus is preparing to do in this region through Vertical Church!

This was week two of Vertical Basic Training (VBT) and we once again had the privilege to teach our new flock HOW Vertical will do the ministry that God is leading us to in this region. Because of the amount of people we have taking VBT we decided to teach it on Saturday and Sunday. I love this because it allows us to be way more personal than we would if we had everyone participating at the same time.

Tonight we focused on our mission – to lead people to be passionate about Jesus so they can lead people to Jesus. Why? Because we want to help people who don't like Church meet God. We'll talk more about this teaching this week.

IMG_20100925_180209 As we shared the fact that everything we do is designed to spread the Gospel and build the Kingdom of God, our Connections Pastor, Joey Autry, shared our vehicle for  serving at Vertical, V-Teams. I love seeing Joey break down our process for serving the people that we love. After all, "If we love Him, we'll love them".


This morning the V crew headed down to our "2nd home", Newspring Church. I'm not ashamed to say that if there wasn't a Newspring I don't know that there would be a Vertical. What God has done in Anderson, SC has given me hope for our region. If you've ever been to Anderson you will know exactly what I'm saying – it's very similar in size to our city. Understand, I know that what has happened there is a God-thing – their circumstances speak to that immensely. 

Steven-furtick By the way… Vertical Road-trippers, I'll go ahead and share that we will return to Newspring Florence next week as Steven Furtick will be preaching. Furtick is the Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte and If you haven't heard Furtick "bring it" you're in for a surprise. I am praying this week that the message will rock your world!

I'll close by saying what I said to the crowd tonight: 

"Your 4 pastors are still getting to know you… there are people that Donnie doesn't know well that I don't and like wise. There are people who don't really know Joey or Brandon and like wise towards them. But something amazing is happening – God is giving me a new heart for this flock daily; I am falling in love with you as Jesus gives me a new love for the people of Vertical Church. As I pray for you daily I am humbled and amazed that HE has chosen us to do this… I believe with all of my heart that together God is going to make Acts 8:8 a reality in our lives as He brings great love and joy to the 9 cities represented on our launch team. What a humbling and life-changing experience."

I love you.