I know that sometimes my leaders must think I sound like a broken record – I can at times be a one-trick pony. I say this because I am a stickler for making sure that we stick to that for which we started. Every single leader meeting we have we begin by asking a different leader to quote
OUR MISSION: To lead people to become passionate about Jesus so they can lead people to Jesus
OUR VISION: To help people who don't like church meet God
After we do this we take time to go around the room and allow our leaders to share at least one thing that has happened in the last month that shows that we are living out that mission/vision. We want to remind our leaders who give so much that we're "winning". We do this everytime and it is awesome. The stories that we hear are unbelievable and often they are stories that we wouldn't know if I didn't practice this. This time we heard:
- the story of the family who visited for the 1st time and their kidz talked all the way home about how much they loved VKidz and what they had learned. (WIN)
- the man who, when leaving the worship center yesterday stopped at the Audio cart to tell the tech, "thank you so much for what you do!" (WIN)
- the mom with a special needs child who grabbed one of our Waumba Land workers and tightly squeezed them while thanking them for allowing her a few minutes to worship without having to keep up with the child. (WIN)
- the lady who signed up to serve with our VIP Team (1st time guests) who said she tells people all week about God and looks forward to helping people on Sunday's to draw closer to Him. (WIN)
- the man who had not been in church in 18 years and was BLOWN AWAY by our parking, greeting, VIP, usher, cafe, production and worship teams. He loves Vertical and came back a 2nd week (WIN).
It would be very easy to miss a month and not do it. Truth is, I often feel everything pulling against me to break the pattern because I don't want my leaders to get tired of hearing me state these same things over and over. I get my repetition from the bible. In scripture we see a lot of repeating patterns such as love God and people, living a holy life, dying to self, self-sacrifice and and returning to God. The reason these themes continually pop up in scripture is because they are important -
We continually repeat that which is valuable. When we don't we decrease the effectiveness and scope of that theme/vision/value.
The leadership at Vertical is very intentional about our mission/vision because our mission/vision is very intentional about bringing glory to Jesus. It's why we're here, it's what we do and we're gonna ride this one trick pony all the way to major change in our region.
At Vertical we have seen an unbelievable move of God over the last 12 months and we're just thankful. We have much love for Jesus and much love for Vertical Church. That love and thankfulness is what is driving "much love". God has been SO good – lives are being changed – the church is being mobilized. People are returning to Jesus and the church and we are so thankful for the stories that accompany the lives being changed. The shirts signify the movement and are a testimony to God's faithfulness.
Blown away tonight after an unbelievable day at Vertical. God has been so good to us… to be privileged to be part of this just makes me speechless. Words do not describe how blessed I feel. Here's what's on my mind on this Sunday night:
- Week 3 of our series, "I Love the 80's" was pretty awesome from my point of view. This series is connecting with people in a major way.
- Every week our production team is knocking it out of the park. Whether it be Kelly Little's weekly ever changing stage design, Jon's "80's" roll in videos, Brandon's service planning, the bands take on some of our favorite 80's hits, the media team's excellence or the sound crew bringing a FAT, FULL SOUND… it has just been amazing.
- By the way… our cafe crew is killing it!!! Their designs and the extra touch is just amazing. Hallelujah! Their efforts make the difference in our environments.
- We had a HUGE crowd today. We had our biggest day in Upstreet. And in the worship auditorium we were totally packed out.
- 5 people professed their faith in Christ to Vertical Church today through baptism!!!! I absolutely LOVE baptism Sunday's. To hear the video testimonies… it just demonstrates to everyone in the house that God is at work. The baptism videos totally help me to preach.
- Today's message was titled, "Crosses". Through the visual of the cross we talked about whether everyone in the house had "nailed down" whether or not the had faith in Jesus.
- There is no reason for you not to know whether or not Jesus lives in you. You GOTTA nail that down!
- We had quite a number of people indicate this morning that they had walked from death to life receiving Jesus as Savior in the service.
- We had people saying to me, "Mike P: I'm a '10'!" Praise Jesus for that.
- Brandon Smith's "MuchLove" video was amazing! Love that dude and what Jesus is doing in his life. No doubt his story resonated with many (especially me).
- The band totally 80's brought the heat this morning opening with the 80's classic, 867-5309. As Justin said after the song, "Guess we all know Jenny's number, huh?". They went on to lead worship with 2 of my favs: "Your Love never Fails" by Jesus Culture and "Give me Faith" by Elevation Worship.
- We ended the day with a leaders meeting down at Vertical HQ. I shared some really, REALLY big news and dates about upcoming events and the remainder of our year. You know, I TRULY HAVE THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TEAM. These people blow my mind – love them so much.
- Love my Pastors and staff as well. How did I receive such amazing favor that God would allow me the opportunity to lead them.
Many of you have asked about Grammie. As of writing time (10:27 pm on Sunday evening) she is still with us. She is at hospice house and I don't think it can be long now. Thank you so much for your kind words and your prayers. Regardless of the fact that we are not prepared to lose her we know and are persuaded that God's grace and mercy for us in our time of need is more than enough. Thank You, Jesus.
 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, (think about that statement – Mike P) according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)
Our great God can do more in the whisp of a moment than we can make happen with a lifetime of wholehearted work. With this in mind who have you invited to Vertical Church this Sunday?
I heard the story just last night of the young man who told one of our leaders, "hey man, I'm coming to your church this weekend!", to which the leader told him that his co-worker came last weekend. The man said to his co-worker, "you went to church last Sunday?" to which he replied, "YEP! And I'm going back this week too!"
People who don't normally like church are deciding to give the church (and ultimately God) another shot. We have not only prayed for this over the past year but also for the years of prayer about Vertical that preceded our beginning as a church.
So let me say it again: This Sunday as we continue our "I Love the 80's" series I will give a very clear presentation of the Gospel, how a person can receive Jesus. I hope you'll join me in prayer that many will be saved. Sunday is also a baptism day and you know how powerful those are.
I want you to think of 1 person who doesn't go to anyone's church (even that one that no one would even think to invite). Will you ask them to come to Vertical with you Sunday morning? Make that phone call. Stop by that desk. Send this text message:
Me: hey… I go 2the new church that meets in the movie theater – u wanna go with me this sunday?
Sent: Aug 26
Send that text to the person you thought of above. Maybe you know 2 or 3 others you could send it to. I am praying with you right now that God will give you favor (Acts 2:47) with those people.
PS. make sure to introduce them to me or Donnie in the cafe' after the service is over.
This past Sunday was one of those days that exemplifies WHO we are as a church and WHY we are in Lumberton. If you attend or read me often you know that we are here "to help people who don't like church meet God". I also believe that we are here to change people's perception about Jesus' Church. Sometimes people just don't have eyes to see Jesus because of past issues with the church. Just from this past weekend we saw…
- a college student who told me that he was so glad that he was at VC in order to hear my message from Sunday. He was raised in the church and has struggled in the area of what many in the church believe is "giving God our best"(1 Samuel 16:7)
- a friend from high school who didn't even know I was the Pastor of VC. I don't know how this was possible but needless to say he was blown away when I walked out to preach. He was also blown away by Vertical Worship and all of our environments and workers.
- the young man who had not attended church in years and loved it! Church was the last place his friends thought he would be Sunday but he said HE'LL BE BACK SUNDAY!
- the son of a preacher man who attended VC for the 1st time Sunday and was just overwhelmed by the atmosphere and God's presence in our services and the people who provide service. Though he loves Jesus, this man has baggage when it comes to church – God used Vertical to blow his mind and inspire him towards what could be and should be in the church of the Living God.
AND THIS IS JUST THIS PAST SUNDAY!
The series that we're currently in, "I Love the 80's" is a perfect introduction to Vertical Church for those people in your life who you care about that don't attend church. I believe that this weekend's message, "Crosses", will be one that will help MANY people cross from death to life in Jesus. If you have a friend, family member, work associate, etc. who you feel need to hear the message of Jesus in a clear way that may change the direction of their life – DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO GET THEM TO VERTICAL SUNDAY! I am already looking forward to it.