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Archive for November, 2010

Vertical Leaders: STOP. Register

The Early Bird rate for the Unleash Conference at Newspring Church ends today. For those who missed it, Unleash is a One Day Conference designed to challenge, encourage and equip local church leaders. I have been to every Unleash Conference and have left so inspired to allow God to use me to make a difference in our region. Without a Newspring there wouldn't be a Vertical.

Here are the details you need to know: 

  • Early Bird rate is $39 – it ends today, November 30th.
  • Conference is on March 10th and we want EVERY VERTICAL LEADER to join us for this trip!

 Watch the video below:



Why am I so persistent about a conference that doesn't happen until March? Because I know most of you can swing $39 and this will be the best $39 you ever spend (registration is here). Honestly, I wish that we could just buy everyone's tickets but there is no way we can swing that – WILL YOU MAKE AN INVESTMENT INTO YOUR MINISTRY AT VERTICAL? 

PS… let me know after you have registered!

This is Exciting

Latest_news I hope all of you had an amazing Thanksgiving Holiday with your family and friends. We are full bore heading towards the Christmas Season – I don't really like the music (long running joke) but I DO love the season and all that it truly represents.

This is an exciting week for us at Vertical as this coming Sunday will be our very 1st morning service! This Sunday, 10:45am in the Holiday Inn Ballrooms. V-Kidz will be in full-effect, we will celebrate the Christmas season and its true meaning and celebrate in true Vertical fashion. We are also excited to be having our very 1st baptisms at our new church this weekend. If you have not been baptized since you believed into your relationship with Jesus it's not too late to let me know.


Also, in "Love is a Verb" news – we will be participating in 2 events this week:

  • Lumberton Christmas Tree Lighting on Friday night which will conclude at the Carolina Civic Center with a showing of last year's Jim Carrey version of "A Christmas Carol" – what a great way to share Jesus with our community and have some family fun in one shot
  • Bladenboro Christmas Parade on Saturday where we will give out candy canes and Vertical invite cards. You can learn more about how you can be involved in this event here

I'll close by saying how much I love the team the Lord has put around us. We are 3 spots away from filling our leadership team and the meeting we had last night was just a blessing. God is doing something amazing in our midst. I am so thankful He called us out.

Turkey Day Musing

Turkey With tomorrow being Thanksgiving (everyday is supposed to be thanksgiving day, right?) my heart and mind have been thinking about all that I am thankful for today. Things such as:

  • My family. Sometimes I just think to myself, "what did I do to deserve this?" and I immediately remember that I've done nothing; grace. God blessed me with a wonderful wife that He has used so greatly in my life to lead me to Him – it's hard for me to imagine my journey to Jesus without Keyna's influence with me. Our marriage is a gift from God and reminds me often of His love for me. My kids are another gift that I treasure – the opportunity to raise Madison and Matt, to teach them about life and love and to point them towards Jesus.
  • Friends. God has placed so many people in my life who bring me joy. The relationships that have been formed through faith are absolutely amazing. Those of you who are closest to me, the one's who really know me, love me and do life with me – I am so thankful for you.
  • My journey. The past 18 months have been eye-opening to say the least. From the place where Keyna, Donnie, Karen and I decided to seriously pray about this crazy dream to start a church dedicated to helping people who don't like church meet Jesus to today I have been on the mountain top, in the valley and everywhere in between. I am thankful; for the hurting, the tears, the prayers, the fasting, the pain, the joys… for all of it I give thanks because it all brought us to today.
  • My lead team. Hard to believe God brought the four of us together. Who does this? How many times do you hear of 4 pastors giving up their church, their jobs, THEIR PLANS and laying it all on the line? We didn't have jobs, we didn't have money, we didn't have a building or any of the other things a church needs to start. All we had was a dream… and we were willing to give it all up to see it happen. We're almost there. Donnie, Joey and Brandon – you guys are the dream team and I am blown away by your talent, heart and effort. Most of all I love that you love Jesus above all.
  • The Vertical Launch Team. It's hard to believe so many of you believed in us enough to even pray to see if God wanted you to be a part of Vertical Church. Your belief, time, sacrifice, giving and support is absolutely inspiring! You are an amazing group of people and God is preparing you all for greatness.
  • Milestones. God speaking the same thing to Donnie and I through fasting: Milestone. Telling Pastor Dennis I was planting in June 2009: Milestone. God closing the door at HP: Milestone. There have been so many in my life that have brought us to today: deciding on a name, announcing my resignation, officially becoming a church, having our 1st service, securing our location. Every Milestone brings confirmation – confirmation reminds of God's calling upon our lives.
  • My current job. First, let me say I am thankful that I feel like the Lord has given me an opportunity to help people and make a difference. Another thing about having the privilege of working back in the public sector is that it has been a blessing. I feel as though God put me back in this environment on purpose – as a reminder of who I'm called to; as preparation for the future and to make a difference here in the now. I love the people I'm working with and am seeing more and more spiritual purpose growing there for me daily. 
  • My Calling. I am so thankful for the fact that I know what God has called me to do. I don't in any way doubt God's calling on my life. When times get tough and I get tired or feel like I'm treading too close to burnout His calling on my life strengthens me and helps me to hold on (and fall upon my knees seeking Him).
  • Above all, I am thankful for Jesus. I'm thankful for His sacrifice in spite of my shortcomings and failures. I'm thankful that His love is not my love, I'm thankful that He offers grace to such a unworthy sinner such as I.  I'm thankful for His Word that speaks meaning into my life and I'm thankful for the love He has given me for that word. I'm thankful that I know, I KNOW THAT I KNOW that the eternity that HE has promised lies before me is greater than anything this world has to offer. 

By the way, I actually wrote that last one 1st and then wrote the rest of them. Happy Thanksgiving to you all – I am so very thankful for the opportunity you offer me to speak into your life. 

What about you? Wanna share your thankful thoughts with the rest of us?

Impossible? Just Imagine.


What is IMAGINE 150 to 150?

Because of God's faithfulness and our faithfulness to Him, we strongly sense God prompting us to take the next exciting step in our Vertical Pre Launch. Our staff and the leadership team are fasting and praying for God's clear direction. What would make the biggest impact for Him? IMAGINE what could happen if every household within our Launch Team chose to join ours in full participation with this significant opportunity.

IMAGINE what the next 36 months could look like if we allow everything we do to center around Christ. We will have the amazing opportunity of watching God work in the lives of His people. IMAGINE this same movement beginning again as we plan on planting our 2nd campus in a surrounding area or planting another church in another part of our region within the next 24 months. IMAGINE sharpening our kingdom focus by sending global teams to crazy places around the world and throughout our region. IMAGINE witnessing healed marriages, changed lives, families restored, freedom from bondage to addictions and people coming to Jesus,  growing deeper in their faith.

Þ The church meeting on Sunday’s in a place that people are already familiar  and comfortable with. 

Þ A worship environment designed to connect parents and their teenagers to God. 

Þ Environments designed to connect people far from God with God’s truth.

Þ A variety of resources to better train and equip leaders to reach into our surrounding communities. 

Þ A children's environment where we partner with parents in raising Kingdom-minded kids.

 The Purpose

IMAGINE is an exciting 12 month spiritual journey of prayer, serving, sacrificial giving and outreach. IMAGINE is based on Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or IMAGINE, according to His power that is at work within us.” This campaign moves us into the LAUNCH DATE of Vertical Church and BEYOND. It will help us with our leased facility space that will be used on Sundays to help create more opportunities for us to engage and interact with unchurched people. Not only will it help with our gathering location, it will also help us with materials needed to begin as a portable church. Also, always trying to think beyond ourselves, 10% of all money raised will go toward Missions.

 The Plan

Our 1st campus along with portable church resources will give Vertical Church a consistent, visible presence with our community. Allowing us options for more compelling and creative ways to relationally engage unchurched people as well as gathering together and equipping those Christ has already given us. 

The Decision

As an individual or partnering church, we ask that you prayerfully look over the tools "Your Giving Potential" and "How Much Should I Give"  which might help you better understand God's leading in the matter.

Once you've determined what amount would reflect sacrifice for you, your family, or as a church, your next step one of the following 3 options:

  1. You can send a check to: Vertical Church, Imagine 150 to 150, PO Box 397,  Bladenboro, NC 28320
  2. You can give at the next Vertical Gathering on December 5th, 10:45am in the Holiday Inn Ballroom
  3. You can contact us to discuss further how you can give or be involved. To contact Donnie/Joey/Brandon or Mike P  click the corresponding links.


We are looking for 150 people or churches to partner with us to raise the $150,000 it will take to make this dream a reality. Sounds impossible? It today's economy it IS impossible, but with God all things are possible – ALL THINGS!

Just imagine.

A Letter to Vertical Church

Written on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

This morning at 8am, the Vertical Lead Team along with various partners and leaders of ministries met  at Cinema Four Theaters, our future home. The purpose of this meeting was to meet with Eric Bako, a consultant/project manager with Church on Wheels, a company that helps churches to be mobile.

I-heart The reason I'm writing this today is I wanted to share with you my heart – I want you to know how I am feeling right now.

If you're a part of Vertical you already know my story – how for years I felt God tugging at my heart to create a church, a different kind of church, that helps people who don't like church meet God. What I didn't know as we journeyed towards this was what and who it would take to do this. This morning, as I observed different members of my team, representing different areas of OUR church to Eric, my heart filled with joy. As Donnie, Joey and I looked at each other with big smiles we were  THANKFUL that God, in His Sovereign plan, brought such knowledgeable and talented people our way.

I can't believe the team that God has placed around me. I am a blessed man, blessed with wonderful friends and partners in the minstry of saving the souls of men, women, boys and girls. I understand today how much I need all of you.

As we walked through that theater, the actual building that Vertical will call home, we realized that this was the 1st time we had all been there together. Today, we dreamed. Today, we saw. Today, faith was realized. Today, we put in motion a plan that will help us live out God's plan for His  church, initiated through us.

Today, we dreamed. Today, we saw. Today, faith was realized. Today, we put in motion a plan that will help us live out God's plan for His  church, initiated through us.

Here's what you must know: what we are out to do is hard; it's unusual and will be a huge challenge. Your investment of time and finances will be daring but our common vision will be filled with an audacious faith that I believe together will allow us to see Acts 8:8 become a reality in this region – "So there was great joy in that city" – Our region needs joy, the joy of the Lord that only comes from the grace-filled salvation of Jesus Christ.

I believe in Jesus' call upon my life and I believe in Vertical Church's call to this region. I believe in you, I love you and am so very priviledged that you would choose me to be your Pastor.

Let's change this region. Together.