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Archive for October, 2012

Helping People Connect Back to the Church

There are so many people who believe in God but have given up on the church. Some did so because they were hurt, some because rules were enforced without the Spirit of the rules, while others were just plain disinterested. There are over 96,000 people in our region that don’t go to anyone’s church. The most surprising thing I have found through 13 years of ministry is that most actually believe in God. Though they believe in God they just aren’t into church. What are we going to do to reach the masses that are just not going to go to a “regular church”?


Sometimes Vertical Church is misunderstood. Vertical Church is not a reaction to regular church, it’s an action to reach people who aren’t going to come. It’s not THE solution, but it is A solution. We do what we do the way that we do because we unashamedly want to help people who don’t like church meet God. You see, I’ve met people who don’t feel like they fit in at church…

  • Like a new friend, we’ll call him “Steve”. Steve is a single parent and isn’t a local. He has been raising his child on his own and has been pretty down on his luck. Steve wasn’t a christian but someone invited him to Vertical and from the very 1st weekend he LOVED it! The next week he was back with a friend. After  checking us out for about a month we had a conversation in which he received Jesus into his life. God is changing Steve’s life and the life of his child! Steve was not interested in church prior to VC.
  • Another dude we’ll call “Don”. Don was raised in a legalistic, religious home and went to a very judgmental church that drove him away as a teen. Don went his own way, lived a ROUGH life and had ALL the scars to prove it. A few years after a tragic time he met Jesus but never felt like he fit into church until one day a Vertical attendee invited him to check us out. This Vertical attendee kNEW that “Don” would indeed be accepted at Vertical (I am SO THANKFUL that our people know they can invite their friends and we’ll love them where they are). So Don attended and loved it… Jesus is at work!
  • Or my friend “Lorraine”. Lorraine never felt she fit in at church. She believed in God – she just didn’t fit in and was ready to give up. She quit attending but prayed that God would send her to a church where she could freely worship Him apart from all the other ‘church’ stuff. She was led to Vertical where God is doing a work – drawing her closer and closer to Him and ultimately using her to bring others to know Him.

These are 3 REAL PEOPLE who are attending Vertical. They weren’t interested in church but they were interested in learning about God. The names have been changed but the truth remains the same: People need to be loved. People need to find acceptance. People need to know that the church, the Body of Jesus Christ, is there FOR them and to meet them right where they are at. Most of the time the church is known for what we are AGAINST. This Sunday at Bladen Community College we intend to help people who don’t normally do church see all that the church is FOR: FOR the glory of God, FOR familes, FOR kidz and marriages, FOR our cities and towns, FOR people meeting Jesus. People far from God know that they are flawed. So are we. In our gathering may we give them the hope that they are so desperately seeking.

We are FOR helping people connect back to God’s church, whatever that might take. This weekend we begin a journey of joining all of the like-minded, Gospel preaching churches of Bladen County to help the 19K who don’t attend anyone’s church meet Jesus.

Share the Love Week is Coming!!!

Sunday Nite and BLOWN AWAY! (October 21)

I am SO fired up!!!

We had an incredible weekend at Vertical Church for SO MANY reasons. I am so excited by what went down today… I am also exhausted. This may be short…

  • I was fired up to have my friend @joesangl bring the crusade to Vertical Church this weekend for Week 3 of “How to be Rich”.
  • Joe is the founder of “I was broke, now I’m not” and is an incredible communicator of the Gospel, especially in the area of finances. Joe has taught hundreds of thousands of people through Financial Freedom Experiences, Financial Learning Experiences, one-on-one financial counseling sessions and personal finance messages.
  • Joe seemed to be so excited about what is happening at Vertical Church. YOU CANNOT DENY WHAT HAPPENED HERE THIS WEEKEND PEOPLE!!! Joe knew about Vertical when it was just a dream in my heart without a name, a launch date or anyone else. Joe was one of the 1st people I ever told about my dream/passion to plant a church one Saturday night at San Jose on Fayetteville Road. So for him to see it this weekend… exciting.
  • Packed out room!

    Tonite we had the Financial Learning Experience at Candy Sue’s Downtown and IT WAS AWESOME!!!! I am blown away. Absolutely PACKED OUT room – over 170 people who came to learn about getting their finances in position to bring glory to Jesus. BLOWN AWAY.

  • I am so excited for everyone who attended tonite. I am praying with you all to take the necessary steps TODAY to make that happen.

Back to Sunday morning…

  • Great, great services at VC. Great crowds. SO MANY young people… and bringing their friends. How are we going to reach the next generations if those people aren’t excited to share what God’s doing in their lives?
  • For the 2nd week in a row we had church planters in the house. It was great to have Pastor Jeff Lynch and Ronnie from Bridgetown Church, Danville, Va at Vertical. I believe God is going to do a great work through these guys. Last week we had a great crew from LifePoint Church in Dillon. Their pastor, @BobbyTyler is gonna be used by Jesus to do great things in Dillon.
  • Thank you to our leaders who help these church planters and their teams to see the inside of portable church. YOU ARE BLOWING PEOPLE AWAY with your commitment and excellence. When they see what you are doing it makes them think deeply and count the cost. Thank you for your flexibility to help others. I am so very, very proud of you all.
  • WE BELIEVE IN HELPING THE CHURCH AT VERTICAL, PARTICULARLY CHURCH PLANTERS at VC!!! I will do for others what I would have given my right arm for someone to do for me.
  • Vertical Worship was incredible today! We opened with Justin bringing, “God is Able” (Hillsong). Next Alison did an incredible job with Hillsong United’s “Lead Me to the Cross”. Jon then introduced Vertical to Elevation Church’s song, “I Give My Life to You” and it was SMOKING! (bad choice? HAHA). For real, though, just an incredible version which segued nicely into Justin closing the worship time with “Our King has Come” from Elevation. I love Vertical Worship… so proud of all of them.
  • BTW… shout out to Mike Scott on drums this morning. Dude, EXCELLENT job on “I Give My Life to You”. Drummer-to-Drummer: You totally nailed that one man.
  • Major shout out to the Parking Team: with their “Commander” Greg Blaine playing hookie at the Panthers/Cowboys game (yeah, I called him out – GRIN) the crew got a HUGE compliment from our visiting preacher and his assistant, Travis. These guys, who are in a different church every weekend, were blown away by how excellent our parking team was and how well they greeted and helped them. Great job team, and great job to Greg: We see how great a leader you are by how well the team does when you aren’t leading.
  • After the 9am service, Keyna, Matt and I went to Red Springs to our home church, Westside for their homecoming service. It was great seeing some of our old friends there. My friend, Kevin Mauldin, has been leading worship there for years now. So proud of the work that Kevin is doing there. And Pastor Randy is a great preacher as well. Great to see God doing something different there than what you see in “normal” baptist churches.
  • My friend and former Pastor, Eric Rich, used to say, “The church has become so sub-normal, that when a church does something that should be normal it appears to be abnormal.” Read that again. Preach! Glad to see God doing a great work at Westside. Thankful to see some cultural diversity in there as well.
  • One more thing… Vertical becomes more culturally and racially diverse by the week. Anyone who knows me KNOWS that this is a long-standing prayer in my life and ministry. I LOVE what JESUS is doing in our church.

Only 2 weeks until we come to Bladen Community College for Vertical Roadtrip. We honestly cannot wait!!! I love our church and am thanking Jesus for allowing us to experience all of this.


A Few Things I Want You to Know

Hey everyone! Happy Thursday. I hope that you are all having an outstanding week. I just wanted to make you aware of a few things.


This Sunday is “NEXT Meet & Greet”. If you or anyone you know is new to Vertical please help them to join us this Sunday at 9:20 am in Theater 4 (the one to the left of our worship auditorium) for a time where they can meet some of our leaders, learn more about Next Steps at Vertical and ask any questions they may have.


Did you sign up for the “Financial Learning Experience” after last weekend’s service? I cannot wait for you all to meet my friend, Joe Sangl. The FLE will help you to get control of your finances and begin to win with your money. You can sign up and pay online HERE. BTW… EVERYONE is invited to this – Vertical or wherever! This is an event so many need. I promise it will be worth it.


This weekend is going to be a powerful weekend. Do NOT MISS Sunday as I tackle something that I believe we ALL deal with.


I’m gonna keep this short and sweet – I am SUPER JACKED about 3 things this Sunday:

1st thing: This Sunday we begin our new series, “How to be Rich”. It seems like today people are striving for more and more – a better job, a larger home, a flashier car, the latest phone or tablet, etc. There is SO MUCH MORE to life than chasing that impossible to catch carrot dangling temptingly in front of you. This weekend we begin a journey where we will discover how to be truly rich with what we already have.


2nd thing: This Sunday evening our 1st church plant, FuZion Church will have their very 1st public service. FuZion Night of Worship is going to be an incredible evening of worship. Our very own Vertical Worship will be bringing a full-scale evening of passionate worship to Jesus. Everyone is welcome to join us Sunday Night at East Hoke Middle School – 6pm. If you know people in the Raeford area, encourage them to check out what FuZion is all about!

3rd thing: We have an exciting announcement to make this Sunday Morning! Can’t tell you here but I’ve been waiting a long time to share this!!!

Love you all – have an incredible weekend.