So, next Sunday night at this time Vertical Church will have completed it's first official day of weekly services. It seems like the past seven months have just flown by… I know for some who have been part of the planning of Vertical Church may have been ready to go to weekly services for awhile but there was so much to be done.
And now on Sunday night, January 30th we have completed our final practice service, our final VTeam Leaders meeting and we have set our sights on this Sunday's launch. Here are a few thoughts I have before I finally hit it after a long, exciting day:
- This morning we gathered at the theater for a final run through with our teams. We didn't invite anyone to come, we just set up all environments and then gathered everyone, leaders and children alike in the worship center for a time of worship and celebration.
- Luke 14:23 is resonating with me in a major way tonight.
- Love seeing the way that our team is working together to make this happen!
- I cannot say enough about the way that Cinema Four has already helped us to be successful – we are so blessed to have such a great place to call our home.
- I also cannot say enough about the way our team leaders are owning their areas.
- One more…
- I cannot say enough about my MVP (Most Vertical Person), Brandon Smith. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE WOULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT BRANDON!!! The work that Brandon has done to get us ready for Launch… just WOW!
- The original J-Mac, Justin McQueen brought the worship thunder this morning. Very proud of his progress and the way that he is stepping up.
- Everytime I look out over our crowd of leaders I just wanna cry – seriously… I cannot believe I have the privilege of leading this great group of leaders.
- We added a new member to our team today that I believe is gonna be amazing! Can't believe the people God is bringing to make Vertical excellent.
- I believe that "Game Changer" is gonna be just that. I think that God is gonna use this series to challenge our very foundation… Cannot wait!
- KIDZ ARE GONNA LOVE VKIDZ!
- This week I will be sharing how we will be ministering to teens…
- …and speaking of teens, I heard that our FUZE Student ministry is having a Super Bowl Party at Mr. P's Skateworld next Sunday at 6:30pm.
- This week we will be sharing some of our behind the scenes footage of Vertical, not to mention some great pics taken by my favorite photog, Bree!
A quick word to all of our Vertical Partners and attenders: Invite, invite, invite. The "Game Changer" series will make clear what we're doing, challenge us in our walk and show people why we're willing to do what we're doing week in and week out.
That's it… been up since before 4am… too excited… bet I will be snoring within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.
I am so excited about the people who are making Vertical reality. No matter how much Donnie, Brandon, Joey and I want this there is no way we could do this without the people that I have shared this week. Today I would like to share the people who team with parents to lead children to explore and move forward in their relationship with God. These are our VKidz leaders:
Upstreet/Waumba Land – Joey Autry – Besides being the Connections Pastor at Vertical, Joey is also overseeing the VKidz leaders. Joey has studied the "orange" family strategy and is bringing "orange" to Vertical. What does that mean? From the Orange website:
So, an Orange thinker asks, “What if church leaders and parents synchronized their efforts to fuel wonder, discovery and passion in the next generation?” By combining the critical influences of the light of the church (yellow) and the love of the family (red) the Orange Strategy shows a generation who God is more effectively than either could alone.
- Upstreet Producer – Penny Blaine – Penny is over the large group gathering for Upstreet. In Penny's environment kidz will sing, learn about the virtue, will often see a skit that speaks to the days big idea and dive into the bible teaching of the day. Penny's years of experience in ministry as well as theater excites us for our kidz – the energy Penny brings is contagious – she can definitely hang with your kidz!
- Upstreet K-5 Host Coach – McGee Deaver – McGee oversees Upstreet. The goal as BELIEVERS, children in Upstreet learn to apply Biblical truths to their young lives, becominglife-long followers of Christ. We love the passion that McGee brings as she leads Upstreet leaders.
- Upstreet Check-in/Security Coach – Sherry Autry - The check-in team helps kids and families feel welcome while using a computer database system to check kids into Vkidz. Sherry will lead the team that make checking in your kidz quick and a joy while knowing that with our system you can feel assured that we are taking great measure to provide safety while you worship.
- Waumba Land Pre-school Host Coach – Lynn Smith – We're excited that Lynn Smith has joined the Vertical team as the Waumba Land leader. What is Waumba Land? Waumba means Creator in Swahili – so Waumba Land means "Land of the Creator" and while your kidz are there we want to help them EXPLORE a relationship with God. Lynn is looking forward to leading her team to make this truth come to life for Vertical Pre-schoolers.
- Nursery Host Coach – Karen Paschall – We don't believe in baby sitting. From 6 weeks on Karen's team will pray over babies and begin to help them discover Jesus from an early age. We want toddlers to take a first look at who God is and understand that…God made me. God loves me…Jesus wants to be my friend forever. Karen is the perfect person to head this team up.
So now you know the Vertical leaders. Of course there are plenty more people who make Vertical happen weekly but these are the leaders of leaders. They cannot wait to meet you on February 6th (and neither can I).
In only 12 days Vertical Church launches!!! If you're reading this you obviously know how I am but over the next few days I wanted to share the team leaders who are making Vertical excellent even as a young team.
Host Team – Host Team Leader – John Paul Deaver – the host team is a most important team overseeing everyone who visits on Sunday. John Paul is the leader of this team and does a great job setting the tone for everyone on the team.
- Lead Greeter/VIP host – Lisa Hester – Lisa's enthusiasm to make people feel welcome at Vertical is contagious. She understands that her team has much to do with whether a person returns. They are amazing.
- Lead Usher – Mike Jackson – the real Michael Jackson (eeh-he!) leads our usher team. Most churches view ushers as bulletin giver-outers but Mike understands that Vertical ushers set up and environment which is conducive to worship.
- Lead Refreshment Host – Candy Cox – Candy and her team are awesome! They have put together an awesome cafe' environment even though we are portable. Want something to drink, a snack or some coffee before worship? Vertical Cafe' will make it happen (and we have cup holders in the auditorium!)
- Lead Parking Host – Greg Blaine – how important is the parking lot? HUGE!!! Our parking lot is the front line. In the lot we do more than park cars… i believe that we set the tone there! That's why I'm glad that my main man, Greg Blaine heads our Parking team. Greg shares my heart for helping people feel welcome in the first seconds of their Vertical visit.
- Lead NEXT Host – Rhonda Lovin – What is "NEXT"? The question is, what ISN'T Next? Made a decision in the service? The NEXT team will pray with you. Want to go deeper in your walk with God and have questions? NEXT. Need to be baptized? Go by the NEXT table. Want to serve at Vertical? (i think you get it by now). Rhonda Lovin has been teaching people for years how to connect with Jesus on a deeper level. Her experience in this area will make NEXT a true next step for our Vertical family.
The best part about this team of people? They're love for Jesus is going to help people who don't like church meet God and that's why Vertical is becoming reality. Tomorrow we will look at Vertical Worship and Programming.
We are 14 days away from the launch of Vertical Church! 2 weeks from today we will finally begin having weekly services. For some it might seem like a long time – for our team it seems like just yesterday that we had our very first interest meeting at the Woodman of the World pool.
This morning we had our 1st service at our new location, Cinema Four Theaters in Lumberton. The reason we didn't say anything or advertise was this service was for those who have been attending along the way only. We hope we didn't miss anyone when we were making our phone calls. To say that we were blown away by everything we have experienced this weekend would have to be the understatement of our short life as a church! Here's what I'm talking about:
- We received all of our equipment from Church on Wheels on Saturday. Included was full sound, audio-visual equipment, lighting, Childrens environments (birth-5th) and full cafe environments. All of this is in wheeled road cases for easy set-up/tear down and is stored in a 25 foot trailer.
- Yesterday (Saturday) was the first time we set it all up and learned how we're gonna do this on a weekly basis. Everybody was SO PUMPED by their particular area and the gear they had to work with.
- After we finished around lunch time on Saturday we tore it down and rolled it all back into the trailer as we looked forward to Sunday.
- I didn't sleep very much Saturday night – too excited. I bought McDonald's coffee at around 4am.
- OUR FIRST LOAD-IN (7:30am): we have the best team (Road Crew) setting up and tearing down. I was so impressed how quickly everything was together.
- I was tied up in the worship center until about 8:30. I walked out into the Cafe' area not expecting to see what I saw… IMMEDIATELY I CRIED. I cried a lot today.
- After a quick sound check we got all our volunteers in the worship center for a couple of songs and a great time of prayer. More tears ensued.
- Conversations… prayers… encouragements… excitements… coffee… seeing a dream come true – making reality what I saw in my heart a long, long time ago – that's what this day sums up to for me.
- Seeing our people do what they do is unbelievable!
- Our Connections Pastor Joey Autry was sick today. How sick do you have to be to miss today after praying together for a year?!? Poor guy… many, MANY Sunday's to catch up with.
- Parking team – amazing. Greet team – the friendliest, most helpful. Vertical Cafe crew – caffeinating people for great worship experiences with the best attitudes.
- Audio/Visual team – unbelievable! VIP and NEXT – dream come true. VKidz and Waumba Land environments: your kidz won't be able to wait! The security in those areas – excellent. Our Usher team ushered in excellence and TOTALLY understands the concept behind our decision to truly usher.
- Our band… I am just blown away by the worship they laid down today – Greater things.
- Donnie brought a great message today challenging our people with the thought, "Do you have a heart for our city?"
- The invitation time was so sweet as our people began to pray for all of those who we are believing will be changed by Jesus through Vertical.
- "Why is our Lead Pastor playing drums?" I actually planned for Donnie to preach a while back. The reason I played drums was because our drummer is actually preparing to play for the next month. Me playing was purposeful – I still love to play drums. If you could play with this caliber of band you would jump at the opportunity as well.
- Tear down was quick and painless. Like I said, the Vertical Road Crew are my heroes!
- Best part of my day: freely worshiping my King with my new church family in our new facility.
- 2nd best part: my wife hugging me with tears in her eyes and saying, "I'm proud of you." I know this journey hasn't been easy for her – Keyna believed God and believed me and sensed His call just as I did… But I know this step of faith has been unnerving (as it has been for our whole lead team who ALL stepped out in faith w/o jobs or income – God has been and IS faithful). I love me some Keyna Pittman.
Today was an amazing day. Very proud of all our team leaders leading their areas… This is gonna be good! We're gonna help people who don't like church meet God! So in 14 days we will do this… we want YOU to check us out! Look Vertical for the answers to life's questions.