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Archive for December, 2012

Sunday Nite (New Year’s Edition)

We sent out 2012 LOUDLY by ending the year with a morning of worship through music. If you love Vertical Worship you missed an incredible day. We purposely took our time, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, gave people opportunity to respond to Jesus, prayed, read scripture… powerful way to send out what was an incredible year at Vertical Church.

Here is the complete list of songs we did during yesterday’s worship, as chosen by the church!
Exalted One – Elevation Worship
Forever Reign – Hillsong
Give My Life to You – Elevation Worship
Let Your Kingdom Reign – Elevation Worship
Your Great Name – Natalie Grant
Cornerstone – Hillsong
God is Able – Hillsong
Fix You – Coldplay
Yours is the Victory – Newspring Worship
One Thing Remains – Jesus Culture

The band killed it yesterday. Robby Gaddy (Guitar), Justin McQueen (vocals/keys/guitar), Andrew Hester (drums), Chris Rich (bass) and Rhonda Lovin (vocals). Under the leadership of our transitioning Worship Pastor, Jon Lloyd (vocals/acoustic guitar), they sent their fearless leader off with class! As of January 1, Jon transitions to a role as a church planting intern with Vertical in preparation to move to Pittsburgh in the summer. You will still see Jon around and will even see him onstage at times leading worship.


“What will happen when Jon’s gone?”, is a common question I’ve been getting. Jon’s role of leading the overall worship ministry will transition to Vertical Worship’s Rhonda Lovin. Rhonda has been a part Vertical Worship leadership since day one, even before Jon was on staff. Her team will continue to consist of Justin McQueen and Robby Gaddy. We will share more about her in the coming weeks (as well as upcoming audition information) but I will say this: Rhonda has been leading worship with me for 13 years – I have great confidence in her ability in this area. She is not just “filling an empty space” – she is stepping into a calling with vision and purpose.

As you leave 2012 I hope you will take a little time and look back over your year: recount your victories, think on your failures and how you can improve upon them, and ask what are a few things I hope to accomplish spiritually in 2013.

Honestly, I love you all. Thank you for the opportunity to do this together at Vertical Church. 2013 is gonna be unbelievable!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR my friends. Be safe.

Sunday Nite (Christmas Eve, EVE Service)

Vertical Candlelight, sans candles

I hope that everyone had an INCREDIBLE Christmas that was filled with the people that you love and thoughts of a Savior Who is truly WITH us.

With this Monday being Christmas Eve I decided to “turn it off” and postpone the weekly “Sunday Nite” until Thursday. You all weren’t on your computers anyway, right? We DID have an outstanding Christmas Eve, EVE service. I hope that you were with us, but if you weren’t, here’s what you missed at Vertical Church this weekend:

  • Our Christmas service opened musically with a killer version of “Oh Holy Night” arranged by Vertical Worship’s Robby Gaddy. I loved the heavy simplicity in which this version was brought. I’m a sucker for fat guitar tones and this version of possibly the most popular Christ centered Christmas carol had them. Great job on this one, Robby.
  • We finished up “A Simpler Kind of Christmas” series with the message, “Light up the Darkness”. No doubt that there is so much darkness in our world. Maybe the most striking thing about darkness is how easy it is for all of us to resist the light once we get used to the darkness.
  • [4] In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] The light (Jesus had) shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5 ESV)
  • In the fullness of time our world had grown dark and God became silent. And just when people began to wonder where God was and why He had become so quiet while the darkness increased He did something about the darkness – HE SENT HIS SON, THE SAVIOR, INTO THE WORLD. The amazing thing was He didn’t send Him to talk about the light, He sent Him to BE the Light. He did something about the darkness and continues to today through those who have trusted in Him.
  • We celebrated His light with a “light” service at the end – an opportunity to pray, make decisions and take steps towards Him. Of course, at Vertical candlelight would have to be candlelight simulation in the form of the glowstick. So incredible to see those sticks lighting up across the auditorium as people prayed and called out to God.
  • Sunday’s music was Christmas and just great! As I said earlier, the musical opener was “Oh Holy Night” (arrangement Robby Gaddy). The next song was a favorite Christmas song of mine, Chris Tomlin’s “Glory in the Highest”. Next was a great uptempo song that led into the message, “Do You Hear” (North Point Music). At the end of our message the band was back up for the time of decisions with Elevation’s, “All things New”. They closed the message with “Silent Night”.
  • The band consisted of Jon Lloyd, Justin McQueen, Chris Rich, Robby Gaddy, Andrew Hester, McCray Bowen and Rhonda Lovin. It was great to have McCray back with the band this weekend! Missed seeing you up there, dude!
  • We have been so blessed in the area of music.
  • btw… this weekend will be a HUGE weekend if you love Vertical’s music. Our congregation picked the whole set for this weekend online – we will send out 2012 with a BANG!!!
  • This coming weekend will also be Jon’s last weekend as the Worship Arts Pastor of VC. He will be around until the summer but in a different role. A common saying around our staff is that this is “bittersweet” – no better description than that. We love Jon and are truly excited about Steel City Church, but his leaving is not one we hoped for. We are reminded in times like this that God is not about building A church, He is building a Kingdom. We are thankful to be a small part of His plan.
  • That being said, we have a great plan for Vertical Worship going forward – we will be talking about it in the upcoming weeks.
  • Shout out to Vertical Production for this past weekend!!! Our Media and Lighting directors were travelling this weekend and production did their thing. So proud of all of them. They had moments where trouble-shooting was necessary and they WON! Love our team!

So like I said, don’t miss this weekend! Gonna be an awesome morning celebrating all that we have experienced together over this incredible year!!! God has been so good!!!

About This Sunday’s Christmas Services

The purpose of light is to illuminate the dark. Think of all the sights of Christmas – what’s at the center of it all: LIGHT. Christmas is the season of light!

READ the words of John as He speaks of Jesus:

What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by… The Life-Light (Jesus) blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out. The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. (John 1:4-5,9-11 The Message)

As we celebrate this season I want to remind you that the light God has shone into you through Jesus has made you to be your “true selves,” your “child-of-God selves.” As we embrace this truth I ask you to embrace this secondary truth:

As His light God is calling US to shine light into darkness.

This Sunday we will have our Christmas services at Vertical Church. They will take place at our normal times (9 and 11 am) but I want you to know that THIS is no NORMAL service. We are preparing for you and for those whom you will be bringing. This Sunday is an optimal time to invite those who do not normally attend church. We are praying you would receive the boldness necessary from God, embrace the sometimes discomfort of an invitation to church for the purpose of being God’s light in your world.

Like I said, we are praying for you. Please pray for all who serve from the parking lot to the stage as we make preparations for the people you love so much. Merry Christmas. See you Sunday.

An Inside Look at Vertical Production from an Outsider.

Picture by Bree Harris

Guest post: Robby Gaddy, Vertical Worship Leadership Team, Stage Manager and Guitarist.

Just had to share this post from one of my favorite people. Robby has been such an important part of Vertical Church from the very beginning. Robby’s worship and excellence is such a blessing to me. As you will read, he was so blown away by Vertical Production (Audio, Video and Lighting) that he had to tell the world. Check this out:

Loving Jesus Through Technical Production, Vertical Style
by Robby Gaddy

Last Sunday, Vertical had “Orange” Sunday, when all of our youth and children’s ministries take over the service. It was an excellent set of services that day, giving our congregation a glimpse of what happens with their children when the parents are in the main services. The excellence that Penny and crew serve with is a beautiful sacrifice that touches lives for decades to come, and I was blown away by the whole thing.

Since I wasn’t serving on stage in the worship music, Mitchell Cain spotted a teachable moment and, as any good leader should, used that Sunday to introduce me to our new sound system, which is not any Mickey-Mouse system…we have a completely digital system. Every aspect of this system can be controlled remotely, and from different sources simultaneously, and the controls are all IP linked on a closed VLAN. To sum all that up, it takes a “high-tech redneck” like Mitchell to put It all together, and to rise up future operators. But more on that later.

So, Mitchell sat me down where Don usually resides (Don,the sound man for Vertical Bladen) was deployed up to the stage, since there were so many things different that day), demonstrating to me the laptops that they use. One serves as the sound board, where you set sound levels and all that. That next one to the left was a direct link to internet connection, and then the next one to the left was the laptop used for recording, a separate job and system in itself. Now, at this point, I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed….

Then it started.  Angela (Shaver) started calling out a count-down, both to the folks around her and to someone she was connected by headset to, and it was on! As I sat there, house lights dropped, stage lights went to a dark scene, audio came up, and an intro video started rolling. As the video rolled, Angela was giving directions and time to scene changes at 1minute out, 30 seconds out, until the “3,2,1, change” command came out, at which time, this production machine did exactly what it was supposed to do in perfect unison. That meant lights changing scenes, audio for the specific scene brought up, house lights up or down as required, prompter at stage and words for congregation up as needed. And that led to the next scene change, with instructions, time info, warnings, etc., through each and every scene change during entire event.

Then a little bit of realization began to dawn on me…I have seen and heard this before. Our production team was doing what any live professional production team does on any event…and was doing it with excellence! The professionalism amazed me…for instance, Angela’s directions, stated calmly and with the confidence of a captain who knows that their crew is capable and seasoned, to the quiet, drama-less exchange of information when there was a change in the program. Then there was the way the entire crew attentively stayed totally aware of their environment, so that there were no surprises. Now, please don’t take that last statement lightly, because almost every person back there is a teenager, many under 16. The really cool thing was that age didn’t matter…they were a beautiful example of the Body of Christ in its balanced form, a complete, professional unit, bound together by the Great Commission. They were doing what a multi-million production company does, and doing it because of love.

As for Mitchell and Don, they are the guys that make the band sound good. Sure, the musicians need to know their parts, and be able to worshipfully play their instruments, but what folks don’t see is the skill and musical ear it takes to put every instrument and voice together, in the right amounts, in the right eq’s, in the right sound pressure for the environment.  In their hands, the sound board is a musical instrument in itself, and they, like Angela, are directors in themselves. And by the way, these are the same guys that are editing, mixing, and uploading the podcast while most of us sleep a Sunday afternoon away.

The amount of not only work, but professionalism and skill that goes into a Vertical worship experience is a very humbling thing. When I realized just how much love for Jesus was being demonstrated around me, I teared up for a moment…but just for a moment, because I was running sound (with Mitchell’s guidance) for 2nd service, and Angela was going “3,2,1,and now!”, and Mitchell was going ” crowd mics left and right up, Jon’s guitar on, yellow mic up”, program music middle”…. I’d just have to wait and cry later.

Guys, thanks for what you do, and the way you do it. Your time in research, training, set-up, running, and take-down is a beautiful sacrifice and sermon that sometimes goes unnoticed by your fellow man (when you do it right, nobody notices what you’re doing!), but rest assured,  Your Heavenly Father knows…and I have a new-found respect and admiration for y’all. And Scott Shaver, I don’t believe that anybody but Angela truly knows to what extent you serve, or how deep your knowledge base is, but sir, I salute you.  I am SO GLAD I’m a guitarist…you guys work too hard! God Bless!

Would you be interested in being part of Vertical production? There is no experience necessary, just a willingness to serve. If you are interested in being part contact leader Scott Shaver and say, “how can I be part?!?” This is definitely a step in the right direction!

Sunday Nite (December 16)

Jeff Wright baptism video

When we started Vertical Church 22 months ago we were excited! We had great big dreams, lofty goals and a passion to see this thing called Vertical happen. It was scary and we laid it ALL on the line but it was worth it because we knew that ultimately our goal was this:


This is our vision. The thing that makes our hearts beat a little faster. The thing that makes us get up earlier than most church people on Sunday’s… and we are thankful. Thankful that God has given us this opportunity, this platform to ultimately bring Him glory. Every week I see a little more breakthrough. I love it more and more every week. I hope you were here this morning, but if not, here’s what you missed:

  • First, let me acknowledge that today was Keyna and my 23rd anniversary. Let me say, “happy anniversary” to my bride. Words cannot describe my thankfulness for her partnership in the Gospel. Without her by my side there is no VC. I didn’t plant VC – WE planted. And not only as a couple but as a family. I love that woman. She is Definitely evidence of God’s grace on me.
  • With this in mind, I scheduled off with all intentions of leaving for our anniversary. A busy weekend ensued (Christmas dance recital and cheerleading for Madie, Basketball for Matt). We decided it just wasn’t a good week to leave. We will get away together soon.
  • Week 2 of “A Simpler Kind of Christmas”. Donnie brought today’s message, working hard to make God’s simple message, simple. Amazing how much we can confuse the issue of the Gospel.
  • Since when did the “Good News” become not so good news? Donnie proposed the thought that maybe the reason the unchurched don’t see the Good News as good is because CHURCH PEOPLE have confused our rules with the good news. Our rules are not the good news – the good news is the good news. (Luke 2:10-11 ESV)[10] And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” And this was good. And it was for ALL the people. Not the good people, ALL the people. Not the church people, ALL the people. Not the religious or Hebrews, ALL the people. For some reason people don’t seem to understand that they are included in ALL. For some reason, church people sometimes forget that ALL people are included in the term, ALL people.
  • Our goal with this series: Simplifying Christmas. We can’t uncomplicate all your plans and travelling, but we can make simple the message of God’s Church.
  • It was a special day for us today as we celebrated baptism. EVEN MORE SPECIAL is that 2 of our staff, Jon Lloyd and Brandon Meadows, had the opportunity to baptize one of their children. Jon baptized his son, Braden at 9 am service and Brandon baptized his daughter, Mikayla, at the 11 am.
  • Whenever we have baptism and I hear those baptism testimonies… wow. I am just reminded WHY we did this. And as I look at these people on the video screen and standing waist deep in a baptism pool I wonder WHERE they would have found a church that they could be part of had we not done this.
  • btw… when this happens I am SO THANKFUL that God made me step out in faith. The faith we stepped out in is often part of these people’s stories.
  • SO THANKFUL tonight for my Pastor’s and staff team. We have the most incredible group of people who do what they do. This cold, rainy morning reminds me how much they love Jesus and people. Thank you for standing in the rain to park cars, for walking people in under umbrellas, helping mom’s with their kidz. Thank you VIP team for making people’s first time incredible. Thank You set up team for arriving at Cinema Four on Saturday night at 11:30 pm while everyone else slept or prepared to sleep, to set up the baptismal pool so our church could celebrate baptism this morning. Like i said, #theylovejesusandpeople
  • NEXT WEEKEND IS CHRISTMAS WEEKEND. All week long, invite, invite and invite. And PRAY!!! Ask God to show you who HE wants you to invite, believing that He has already prepared them to receive your invite and say yes. WE are PRAYING with YOU.
  • This facebook post tonight reminds me… “‎Mike PittmanJoey AutryAlison Carroll and all Vertical Church members, please say a prayer as soon as possible for a certain atheist drug addict tonight. He went to our church one time only and came away with a hardened heart. I can tell tonight by his FB posts that his encounter with God has left him deeply troubled and hungry for peace.” I believe the Gospel to reconcile this person to Jesus. He IS enough.

And with that I call it a night. Great day, VC. I love you all. Remember, this week is THE WEEK to invite that friend that has been putting you off. This weekend’s Christmas service will be worth it!