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Archive for December, 2013

Let’s Celebrate What Happened in 2013

I truly believe that 2014 is going to be the greatest year that Vertical Church has EVER experienced. The best way to encounter a new year is to think back on the one that is behind you and 2013 had some incredible highs. Take a moment and remember with me two thousand and thirteen:

We began the year with a journey towards increasing our faith in God with “The Path”. It was during this series that we learned about

  • The Application Trail (“Application isn’t just a facet of following God – It’s a PATH that God uses to increase our faith.”)   
  • The Discipline Trail (Spiritual Discipline is doing what you don’t want to do now so you can do what you do want to do later.)
  • The Relationship Trail (God uses people to increase our faith in Him.)
  • The Missionary Trail (Our responsibility is to do what WE know to do then trust Him to do what HE does. God is not looking for the most talented people, He’s looking for the most willing people.)
In February we continued the year on a high by celebrating our 2nd birthday on the first Sunday of the year. We were thankful for all who wished us a happy birthday:

Our next series was “Big C, Little C” (“BIG C is the Church, little c is me – what God does in this world, He does as WE.”). It was during this series that we learned what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

It was also during this series that we ordained John Paul Deaver as our connections pastor and David Collins as our Lumberton Location Pastor. We love all of our Pastors and are so thankful for all they do at VC.



In March Vertical became ONE church in TWO locations as we began our Vertical Bladen location at Bladen Community College. Since the beginning of Vertical we have had an incredible group of people serving from Bladen. Now it’s time for us to reach the people of Bladen County. Vertical Church is FOR Bladen.

We also began a very powerful series that hit a major truth in so many lives – without Jesus I have a “Hole in my Soul”. It was during this series that the picture on the right took place – a day when hundreds of people were forgiven of past hurts in our relationships. I will never forget the sound of the cracking of those paint stirrers along with the sounds of weeping across those auditoriums in both locations… I am so thankful to be part of a church where life change happens. The video below was from the “H.I.M.S” series:

In April YOU chose what we preached and taught at Vertical with our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Series and man was it challenging. You directed us to take on all of the following subjects:

  • Homosexuality, Tattoos, cremation, marriage and recognization in heaven, and suicide
  • Couples living together, gambling, why do bad things happen to good people,
  • Is it ok for christians to drink alcohol, Are ghosts real?, Can people lose their salvation

We also experienced this gem of a video:

In May we had an INCREDIBLE Night of Worship at the Vertical Bladen Location. This night was unforgettable and so moving. It was also the night that we sent our Worship Arts Pastor Jon Lloyd off to Pittsburgh to begin Steel City Church.


SUMMER 2013 was headlined by a bible character series titled, “Summer Blockbusters”. It was during the SB series that Vertical Church learned how deep our church is with preachers as our pastors brought messages live at all of our locations. We had the opportunity to hear from Joey Autry (Esther), Brandon Meadows (Abraham and Isaac),  David Collins (Daniel in the Lion’s Den) as well as Donnie and myself (Noah).

It was also during this series that Vertical participated in our first mission trip to NYC!! What an awesome experience as we teamed with our friends from Fusion Church, Spring Lake and Metro NY Baptist to minister to South Asian people’s in Jackson Heights, Queens for a week. Life changing for all who attended.


August brought us to our “White Flag” series, a study of the book of Jonah, where we called our people to surrender. We also talked about the truth that “Your chaos is causing chaos for everyone else in your life.” During WF we really pressed in on prayer. We fasted, we had prayer lunches and we called people to pray for those in their lives that need Christ. It was a humbling series that really refocused us after summer.

We also ended summer with a great Family Get together by gathering at White Lake Water Park for Splash Fest. This event is not only great fun, it’s a great event where families have the opportunity to meet others at VC.

September brought us into the “No Perfect People Allowed” series. Amazing that people (church people) actually asked us does that mean Jesus isn’t allowed at Vertical because HE IS perfect. Sigh… We talked about ROCKS during this series (see picture and THIS POST) NPPA was an incredible series that brought freedom and forgiveness of sins. We saw many salvations through this series by God’s grace as well as 36 baptisms over a 2 week period between both of our locations including the incredible baptism story below:

It was also during September that FUZE, our student ministry, moved to their new location at Bill Sapp Recreation Center. By the end of the semester they were ministering to over 130 students weekly. We are so excited for what is to come!!!

October not only brought our series of one of the greatest truths you will ever learn: “Who i am > Who i was”, it also brought our yearly LOVE WEEK where Vertical gets outside the walls of the church to serve inside our community. We served thousands of people through LOVE WEEK as a church racking up hundreds of hours. We are already looking forward to LOVE WEEK 2014!

In November we pressed into a blessing of the believer with our series, “the Whisper”.  It was a blessing to see so many working to grow in their ability to hear and respond to the whisper of God.

We just finished December – One of the great parts of Christmas was on the evening of December 15 we gathered with our VKIDZ at the Holiday Inn Ballroom for the VIDZ Night of Worship. It’s always a great night of encouragement when we celebrate the season and Jesu with our Kidz. McGee and team did a great job putting together a great family event.

I certainly hope that you were able to be part of a great Christmas holiday season, especially with our Christmas service, “The Song of the Season”. Not only was it an incredible evening but that day saw 18 people make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.









Here are some other noteworthy stats for 2013:

  • In 2013 Vertical gave over $31,000 towards mission work both here locally and around our world
  • We were able to give 12,800 to Church Planting Partnerships through the Vertical Church Planting Center.
  • We helped people with personal needs locally to the amount of $2,700.
  • And because of your giving we baptized 75 people – bringing our total to close to 300 in the last 33 months!!!
Isn’t that encouraging?!?  We need to CELEBRATE what God has done in our midst this year. I am so thankful to be a part of a church that is committed to


2014 is gonna be off the chain! See you Sunday.

Sunday Nite on a Monday Morning

Great day at Vertical yesterday as we celebrated our last service of 2013 with ONE big service – 2 locations gathering together in our Lumberton location. We knew that it would be a travel day for many and for that reason believed that we would be able to get everyone in one building and we did.

It was really great to get everyone together – to have all of our teams, musicians, Pastor’s and attendees from both locations in the same place.

The service was a different sort of service for us as we chose to share what had happened at and through Vertical Church in 2013 by having the people who made it happen share their heart. We heard from:

  • Brandon presenting Joey with his “trophy” for being a great leader.

    Joey Autry (Vertical Bladen Location Pastor / Kidz Min). Joey shared about what’s been going on at the Bladen Location and as usual brought a challenge that made me shout. Dude is the most encouraging – my Barnabas.

  • Brandon Meadows (FUZE Student Pastor). Brandon shared with the church what God had done, especially this fall. It was excited to see the way that God moved in young people’s lives this year. It’s even more exciting to imagine what is getting ready to happen through our FUZE ministry.
  • Brandon presented Joey with a trophy for being an awesome leader (see pic).
  • Our next segments shared what is happening though our Vertical Church Planting Center
  • We saw a video presentation from one of our Church Planting Interns, Joe McDaniel, about an upcoming church planting opportunity/possibility locally here in Lumberton. (Video Below)
  • Matt Harmon (FuZion Church – Bladen Staff Team)

    Matt Harmon (Church Planting Intern / Bladen Staff Member) shared what 2013 had brought to his upcoming FuZion Church in Raeford. I loved the honesty in Matt’s heart. Truly, never seen him in better form!!!

  • We introduced our church to church planter, Noel De Asis, Pastor of LifeZone Church. We began funding Noel this September as he is working at church planting in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Lumberton. Amazing man of God. (Video below)
  • Donnie shared some Vertical statistics for 2013 – money given to missions work, local and worldwide, financial assistance we have provided locally, number of baptisms… always great to see what God does through the faithful giving of His people.
  • Jon Lloyd, Lead Pastor of Steel City Church (Pittsburgh) shared with the church what is happening in Pittsburgh and the way that God has shown them He is in control in their move up north.  

    Great to have Jon Lloyd leading on the Vertical stage again

  • All of this was interspersed with music and worship. So Great to have JL leading worship with us again for the day. Thankful for a band that is talented enough for another worship leader to walk in and lead with them. Great job to all of Vertical Worship under the leadership of Rhonda Lovin.
  • btw… incredible pics by Steve Woods. More available on the Vertical Facebook page.
Unbelievably great day – I sure hope you were with us!!! See you Sunday!



I had the opportunity to close Sunday’s service with the following challenge for all of Vertical Church as we look to a new chance for a new start. Let me share it with you briefly:

The call of God on our life is not to attend church services – it’s to become a follower of Jesus. The mission of Vertical Church is “to lead people to become passionate about Jesus so they can lead others to Jesus.” It’s why we do this, set up in a movie theater and a community college week in and week out. We want YOU to become passionate about Jesus.

As we close 2013 and approach a new year there are 3 things that I really want FOR you:

To grow in your relationship to God

  • I want you to commit to spend daily time with Him, in His presence, allowing Him to lead you in this life.
  • I want you to give Him a prominent time in your day. Don’t leave it up to chance. Begin by setting the clock 15 mins earlier. You will never believe what a difference this will make in your life.
  • I want you to begin a daily bible reading plan. We have them available at the NEXT table. You can also find many great reading plans at

To grow in your relationship with people

  • You need people IN YOUR LIFE who are striving to grow in their relationship with God. I want all Vertical attendees to participate in a VGroup in 2014, a group of people growing together and ministering to one another. You can join one in January.
  • I want you to be aware of the people God has put in your life who do not know Jesus. They are there on purpose. Begin (or continue) praying for them, for open hearts, for their salvation. Be purposeful in HELPING them meet Him.

To grow in your relationship with this church

  • I want you to commit to weekly attendance (when you are in town). One conversation that has never taken place in my family’s life since I began following Jesus is this: “dad, are we going to church today?” I dare you to become so consistent that the convo changes to, “we’re NOT going to church today?!?” This will change the tone of your family’s life.
  • btw…. if you have children, they NEED to be in VKidz weekly. You will be amazed at the way it will help you. If you have teens MAKE THEM connect to FUZE on Wednesday night’s at Bill Sapp. I’m telling you, it’s a game-changer.
  • I want you to find a place to serve at Vertical. Nothing activates your faith like service. NOTHING.
  • I want you to become a Vertical Partner. We do this about 4 times per year. Your next opportunity will be on January 19th. Sign ups begin Sunday.

You can try to do all of these half-hearted and it will be going through the motions. If you do it won’t have the desired effect. But if you will prayerfully enter into this, I’m telling you, You will be well on your way to a life that brings glory to God. Sunday we begin a new series, “NEXT”, and it will direct you in figuring out what is next in your Jesus relationship. I am praying for you and love you all.

Let Us Adore Him, Christmas Tickets and vKidz N.O.W.

What’s up everybody!!! I hope that everyone has had an outstanding week. I find all of you on my mind this Friday morning so I just wanted to take a moment to tell you that I CAN’T WAIT FOR SUNDAY at VERTICAL CHURCH!!!

Reason One: Week 2 of Carols: Songs of the Season. Nothing says the beginning of Christmas better than the carol we will look at this Sunday. In all of my years as a worship leader, O Come All Ye Faithful, was always a favorite to lead. The part I like best is the chorus, “O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him…” For me, this is one of the most worshipful songs of Christmas, and this chorus reminds me of those who joined Mary and Joseph on the “O holy night” of Jesus birth.

Sunday’s gonna be incredible!

Reason Two: vKidz Christmas Nite of Worship is this Sunday nite, 6pm at the Holiday Inn in Lumberton. Vertical vKidz from both locations are coming together for an evening of fun, family and worship.

Reason Three: Vertical Christmas Service is just over a week away!!! My heart is blowing up about the Vertical Christmas services that will take place next Sunday nite, December 22nd, 6pm at Bladen Community College. Last night I dropped by Vertical Worship Christmas rehearsal and they got me pretty excited about what they have in store. Here’s a couple of things you need to know about it:

  • This will be a great event to invite your friends to, especially those who need to meet Jesus.
  • We have a special prayer emphasis towards next Sunday that we will be sharing this Sunday!
  • You need a ticket for everyone attending. You can get tickets by clicking HERE or Sunday morning at both Vertical Locations.
  • DO NOT BE LATE FOR THIS SERVICE! You DO NOT want to miss the opener (pa rum pa pa pum!)

Get Your Vertical Christmas Service Tickets!