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Archive for October, 2010

“In the Know” – October 29th

Last week we introduced you to Karen. This week's "In the Know" features our new friend, Clarence. Looking forward to serving with many of you tonight at Fairmont and tomorrow at Bladenboro. 


People Who don’t Like Church: What Do We Mean?

Pc_church-for-people-who-dont-like-church There are a lot of people in this world who don't like church. 

We live in an area that has a lot of churches. As a matter of fact, we may lead our state in number of churches per capita. With that in mind most people around here have some experience with the local church. It is a given for most in our area that they believe:


  • in God the Father
  • that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
  • the Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose from the dead

Even I knew these points before I became a Christian – it just meant nothing to me… at all. Since I followed Jesus what I have found (especially after serving in the church for over a decade) is that a lot of people believe in God, are guilty that they don't have a relationship with Him, and are guilty that they don't attend church. So what's the issue?

The issue seems to be the church itself. It appears that when these people look at the church they don't automatically think, "that (the church) is what's missing from my life."

Maybe it's because they've never attended church much so they are nervous about attending. Maybe it's because they have been to church and were turned off, or didn't think it was their thing.
Maybe it's because they have met "church people" who represented the church (and Jesus) badly. 

That's why the Vertical Lead Team, (Joey Autry, Brandon Meadows, Donnie Paschall and myself) decided to give up the comforts of our local churches to start a church in our region that would be focused on reaching people who don't like church. We are looking to reach people who are open to God, open to Jesus but don't attend church. A church for people who are seeking and searching for more to life – people who are looking for a church that just seems to be real, a place where people can seek God without having to dress up. A place that is brimming with excitement for God and promises to not be unusually quiet; A place that promises not to bore people with what appears to be the same service week in and week out. We are excited about what God is doing in our lives and we think that it is just appropriate that we declare it LOUDLY! The last thing our area needs is another church like the ones we already have.

L-town/Rob Co/Bladen County: this is what Vertical is all about. A church whose mission is to lead people to become passionate followers of Jesus so they can lead others to be passionate about Jesus. It's God's church focused on people who don't like church so THEY TOO can become passionate about Jesus.

And that's what we mean by that statement.

Our Plan to Affect the Next Generation


At Vertical Church we are so serious about impacting the next generation. Thom Rainer states,

"More than two-thirds of young adults between the ages of 18-22 leave the church – that's a disturbingly high figure."

That statement, from the book "Essential Church" (and more importantly, spoken to me at a conference in the spring of 2008) literally put me on the path to starting a church that would help people (that includes students) who don't like church meet God.

Our solution begins with LDP.

Leadership Development Plan (LDP) will be a very vital program within the structure of Vertical Church. LDP is designed to be a leadershipjourney that combines hands-on experience in a key area of ministry with practical leadership training. LDP is a  program geared for rising 12th graders and college students. Each LDP staff is expected to spend time working in a specific area of ministry and participating in leadership trainings. As an LDP, students will have the opportunity to work within Vertical Church in a coordinator role. We will be looking for students interested in the following areas: Waumba Land = preschool, Upstreet = elementary, Host Team, Student Groups, Photography, Graphic Communication, Production, Church Administration, Student Production, Creative Planning Team, Road Crew.

Our long term plan for the LDP structure, is to offer two LDP opportunities, a 9-month LDP that functions as a part-time (20 hours/week) leadership role and a Summer LDP (May-August) part-time leadership role.

For more information regarding LDP's please contact


How “Regular People” Impact Their World

Bullhorn It all starts with a plan (and it doesn't include one of these).

If someone you are close to wanted to know more about Jesus what would you do? Would you have to call your pastor or group leader or do you know how to share?

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 over 20 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.

My World Pic 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 the other week in basic training with our Vertical Church starters and there were 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?

Over the next months we will offer opportunities to learn to share God's story as well as your own, so stay connected.  Hope this helps!

Sunday Nite

Fuze This is a different kind of Sunday nite.

Every Sunday night I share with you what we experienced that day and possibly throughout our weekend. I will do that tonight as well but I have to say this weekend showed me a lot about our future.

1st – the servant heart of our launch team is so awesome. I know I've said that before but it just gets better and better. It all started on Friday:

  • Our goal Friday was serving one of our core schools, Lumberton Senior High.
  • On Friday afternoon at 3:30 a part of our team served the football team what I heard was an incredible supper. We had the opportunity to provide the team devotional during this time as well.
  • Friday night started with Team Vertical handling the slammin' concession area… what fun we had! And what great conversations we had… and the orange "Verb" shirts got many compliments as well.
  • Friday night ended with us cleaning up the stadium after the game. What a mess!!! That place was trashed (it will make you think twice about leaving peanut shells on the ground ). All I can say is 30 minutes later Team Vertical was on the field, praying for our school and on the way home.

2nd - Saturday Team Vertical handled the parking for the "Chevy to the Levy" Race at Luther Britt Park. The Chevy is one of the biggest event our city has yearly and we were honored to be part. We were there at 8am preparing for the thousands of cars that would stream in and out. The organizer of the event sent out an email and said referring to Vertical Church that we "had the parking area looking and flowing wonderfully." I had someone actually tell me that they overheard a conversation in which someone was stating how good the parking was this year. As my man, Brad Townsend said on Facebook, "if anyone asks why we pick up trash, park cars, sell concessions, just say you're being like Jesus! Phil 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant." Amen.

By the way, people at Chevy also commented that they saw us serving at the game friday night. The orange shirt told the story! The orange shirts were literally seen by perhaps 4 to 5,000 people this weekend!

3rd (and last) our Student Ministry. Wow! Tonight was the 1st gathering of 6th-12th Graders for Vertical Church, titled "Fuse". I am blown away by the potential that I saw in that room. I want these young people to know that I believe in them NOW and that I believe God is on the verge of something amazing in their lives. May we all turn our hearts to Him.

Vertical Church is all about helping people who don't like Church meet God. We will do that by helping believers become passionate about Jesus so they can lead people to Jesus. Remember that this week as you go about your life.

I am honored to lead this journey. I love you all.