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Archive for December, 2011

The Power of a Testimony – Rhonda Lovin

Yesterday I shared the 1st of 3 life change videos we showed at #vertical Christmas. These vids, produced by James Lewis from Jilsav and our worship Arts Pastor, Jon Lloyd we real, raw and I believe touched everyone in the room.

This 2nd video is of my great friend, Rhonda Lovin. Rhonda’s story hit me so hard because we lived it with her… I have watched this woman of God stand strong in the midst of the hardest adversity that she had ever experienced. I can tell you, she’s the real deal. As hard as it’s been for her she has served Jesus with everything she could. The more adversity that Rhonda faced the more she loved and served others. I couldn’t be more proud of my friend.

Rhonda was one of the 1st people who came to me to tell me that she wanted to be a part of Vertical Church. She truly felt that God had been leading us to this place for many years so from day one she’s been there. Rhonda is mom to 2 great boys, Mason and Seth and friend to many teenage girls (as a FUZE HS girls VGroup leader). Rhonda leads our NEXT ministry, helping people to take their next step towards Christ, is a VGroup leader and is a leader of Vertical Worship. I know it wasn’t easy to share this story with the world, but I know God used it greatly. Here is Rhonda’s story:


The Power of a Testimony – Meridith Allen

This last video from #verticalchristmas is of my friend Meridith Allen. Meredith’s story was powerful and shows us that God can reach down to us wherever we are. You gotta see where she met Jesus… POWERFUL!!!

Today Meridith is helping people make their way towards recovery and Jesus. She’s a great mom and has taken her challenge and turned it into an opportunity to bring glory to Jesus and we are so proud of her! Meridith became a Vertical partner in our first Verge class (our membership opportunity) after our launch and is a leader in our “Rebounders” ministry which ministers to people struggling with hurts and hang-up situations.

Here is Meridith’s story:


The Power of a Testimony – Greg Blaine

#verticalchristmas was a very powerful service.

There are a few times per year when people who don’t usually go to church WILL go to church. Christmas is definitely one of those times and Vertical has positioned itself as the type of church that they will check out with friends. OUR ATTENDERS KNOCKED IT OUT THE PARK!!! Every night after the service I had the privilege to meet friends of our people who attended services with them… what an incredible opportunity God gave to us.

As we planned the service we wanted to share some stories of life change. Our worship Arts Pastor, Jon Lloyd and James Lewis from Jilsav filmed 3 videos that we believed would affect everyone in the room. These were real stories, real people, no “drama”, just the truth that Jesus meets us where we are at.

This is the 1st of the 3 and it’s of one of my best friends in the world, Greg Blaine. Greg’s story is so important to me because I saw it happen and have been a part of it. Greg is the real deal, he doesn’t just talk it – Greg walks it. Greg is married to Penny (leader of VKidz Production) and is father to Hayden and Kendall. He’s humble and God uses him greatly. Greg and Penny were some of the first to tell us that they wanted to join us on the Vertical journey. He is the head of our Parking team, a VGroup leader and a member of the Vertical Elder team. I am so thankful he was willing to allow God to use him through Vertical Christmas. Here’s Greg’s story:

Sunday Nite (#verticalChristmas Edition / 2011)

Vertical Lead Team

Vertical Lead Team

Merry Christmas everyone!! I hope you all had a terrific day yesterday. As I sit to write this on this Christmas Sunday night I realize that this is a different kind of “Sunday Nite” post… We had a very busy week of which I haven’t posted about yet, SO, even though we didn’t have services I have MUCH to share tonight.

  • #verticalchristmas ran on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the historic Carolina Civic Center in downtown Lumberton. What an incredible venue to have such a celebration for the birthday of the King.
  • Wednesday Night was a special service for FUZE, our student ministry and our VTeams. We wanted to give the worker who make Vertical special weekly the opportunity to experience the service like regular VC attenders. We had a whole new set of VTeam workers serving that night and they did a great job (trial by fire – grin).
  • BTW… FUZE NATION, Fuze is back meeting next Wednesday, January 4th at Mr. P’s Skateworld with a brand new New Years series. Put it on your calendars!
  • One of the coolest things about #verticalchristmas was that it was a full-experience from the moment people drove in to the time they left. We got the city permits to close down the downtown area so our team could convert the downtown area into a Christmas festival of sorts. It was awesome to walk out the front of the Carolina Civic Center (CCC) and hear the sound of Christmas music singing throughout the downtown evening air. It was MAJOR environments.
  • Much thanks to the Carolina Civic Center for being such gracious hosts! We love your venue!
  • WE MAKE A REALLY BIG DEAL ABOUT ENVIRONMENTS at Vertical. We have bought into the thought that a persons experience with your church happens the moment a person drives in your church parking lot. For this service it started an hour prior to the start of service. When they met us at 6pm around the HUGE Christmas tree we had:
    Santa Village with Santa and his elves
    Face Painting
    Stocking and ornament decorating stations
    Ginger bread cookie decorating stations
    Hay Rides on the Plaza
    Hot chocolate, cider, and cookies
    Marshmallow roast
  • John Paul Deaver is the Vertical Church VTeams Coordinator. He is such an incredible leader who leads incredible teams of people who pour themselves out for the Lord. I am so proud of JP and his teams – they were just incredible all 3 nights!!!
  • The service itself was just incredible. I don’t mind saying it because it was much more of our team than it was me… from the opening numbers (Run Run Rudolph) to the videos, the songs that were sung (Do You Hear – North Point, Joy to the World/All Creation Sing, O Come all Ye Faithful/Hark/Angels We Have heard Medley, Everything Changed (KILLER VID LINK HERE) and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, a cappella) and the testimony videos – it was SO powerful. Such a great job from our planning in the worship area between Brandon, Jon and the team.
  • The production side of things was beyond anything we’ve ever done! I will be shoutin’ about Mitchell (Sound), Scott, Angela and Steve (Video), Will and Katie (lights) and Kelly and Otto with the stage design. I know there were so many more involved like Jimmy, Matt, Joe, Gabriel, Matt… Just amazing what these people pulled off.
  • The testimony videos were beyond anything we’ve done as of yet. Just amazing how everything flowed together and everyone in the room related to one of these people. Great job by Jon and James Lewis. All the way down to the original soundtrack behind it – so proud of the Vertical quality. Greg Blaine, Rhonda Lovin and Meridith Allen shared their stories of life change and how they came to Jesus. Not a dry eye in the house. Hope to show these vids online over the next weeks.
  • Some of the unsung heroes were our VKidz teams who watched our workers younger children every night. Thank you Lynn, Donnie, Karen, Brandon, Kristie, Kim and everyone else who made that happen!
  • My message was titled, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Every night I shared the thought that it’s real easy to miss what the people in the Christmas story saw – we CAN see what they see. You can hear it and everything else here.
  • The conversations and stories every night were just amazing… from the people who received Jesus on their 1st trip to VC, to the homeless young man who took a bible, the quadriplegic young man transported to our service by Lumberton Rescue, or the old friend of mine who was deeply moved by his first trip to VC. So many stories, so many lives touched.
  • Over the 3 nights we  saw in excess of 50 people receive Jesus over the 3 days. We are Praising Jesus for His saving power and thanking Him for using us in spite of us. Hallelujah! THAT’S a great Christmas present for all involved.
  • DON’T MISS NEXT SUNDAY – NEW YEAR’S DAY AS WE HAVE A VERY SPECIAL DAY PLANNED CALLED “2011 Year in Review” (check out the fresh video here).

Let me close by sharing that our friends, Flying Backwards just released their 1st video today. We are proud of Andy, Chris, Troy, Mike and Jacob for their hard work and love for Jesus Christ and to share Him as often as possible through music!

What Will Happen BEFORE the Christmas Service?

Our Christmas Celebration doesn’t begin IN the Carolina Civic Center (CCC). Meet us at 6pm around the HUGE Christmas tree in our plaza. Our team has worked really hard at creating a pre-service environment on the Downtown Plaza beside the Carolina Civic Center that you’ll not want to miss. We have worked with the City of Lumberton to close all driving in the plaza and the street that runs in front of CCC to make sure we could create a safe, fun, Christmas experience for all of our attenders.

When you meet us at 6pm around the HUGE Christmas tree as we will have:
Santa Village with Santa and his elves
Face Painting
Stocking and ornament decorating stations
Ginger bread cookie decorating stations
Hay Rides on the Plaza
Hot chocolate, cider, and cookies
Marshmallow roast

Around 6:45 we will begin to make the short walk to the Historic Carolina Civic Center for what we hope will be a life-changing evening of worship.

We can’t wait! Oh, and don’t forget to bring the tissues…