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I Am About to Explode!!!

As you may be able to tell from my title I’m pretty excited today. And while many may have the Monday morning blues – I am about to shout right here in this public place that I am sitting. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • I cannot get over the conversations I have been having with people who attend Vertical lately. The number of VIP’s (first time attendees) that God brings to us is staggering. We thank God for the influence that He has given to us through YOU. 
  • Hearing reports from both locations of WINS all over the place. Conversations – people taking next steps – people meeting Jesus.
  • We gave away a lot of bibles yesterday. As we talked about “What Should I Believe About the Bible” we encouraged people who do not have a physical bible to get one from NEXT before they left. Blown away and THANKFUL that we have so many people attending who do not even have a bible. (NOTE: this shows you that we are reaching into our true target. Once again, that is happening because of YOU!)
  • Had a conversation with a friend in a local restaurant Wednesday night who told me that he commonly hears that we have “a bunch of sinners coming to our church.” Once again, I WANT TO SHOUT IN THIS PUBLIC PLACE I AM IN!! We started a church that would “help people who don’t like church meet God”. People have often asked why we see so many people receive Jesus at VC and my answer is quick and easy: when you have large numbers of people who need Jesus and teach them God’s Word and believe God to save them, He will. Thank you, Jesus, for bringing this prayer to fruition.


  • Your Pastor team is incredible!!! These guys are killing it and I am so honored they choose to live this out with me!!! Your VTeam Leaders, VKidz Leaders and Vertical Worship Leaders at both Vertical locations are amazing and they are literally making it harder for people to go to hell in Southeastern NC.
  • We had people take their next step with Vertical last night through becoming a Vertical PARTNER. So proud of all of you who took this most important step. Can’t wait to see how God uses you!!!
  • I cannot get ONE of the many conversations I had after the 11 o’clock service at Lumberton location off my mind. It was the lady’s first time at Vertical and she said, “Pastor, I LOVED it and can’t wait to see you next Sunday morning!” That’s exciting in itself but that’s not what has me about to lose my mind. The person who brought her then looked at me and said, “Pastor, I’m bringing them in one-by-one like you said!” Let me remind you, #relationshipsmakethedifference (If you missed this the other day PLEASE take a moment and read)
  • Which is why I am asking you to DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to get the people you are praying for to Vertical Lumberton this weekend (9/21) and to Vertical Bladen next weekend (9/28). I am telling you, we are preparing to have the most powerful service in the HISTORY of Vertical Church. We have been asking God to do a miracle in our midst – You are the tool that He is using to bring that miracle to pass!!!

Maybe it’s time for that person to try church again or for the first time. Let God use you this week.

3 Things I am asking EVERY Vertical Attendee to do TODAY

Every Friday morning I feel a shift towards the weekend. I feel an anticipation of what I know is just around the corner. I look at the plans for the weekend, think back on the many planning conversations that we have had and I get excited. I often listen to the songs that we will all sing together and my Spirit just leaps inside of me. Most of the time I think to myself – This could be the BEST Sunday that we have EVER had!!!

Today is no different. I can’t wait for Sunday and I believe God is going to do a great work at both Vertical locations. With this in mind I wanted to ask you if you would do 3 things for me TODAY?

  1. PRAY for our services.Every Sunday morning people walk throughout both Vertical locations praying for all of those who will soon enter the doors and experience the life-changing message of Jesus. Will you pray:
    1. That there will be nothing to distract people from receiving the message.
    2. That God’s Presence would be apparent to all who are there.
  2. PRAY for our VTeams. Every week all of those people who serve YOU with the Vertical shirts on, they give of their morning for Jesus and for YOU. Please pray God’s blessing on them and their families and for their success on Sunday morning. (You can also ask God which of these teams that you need to be part of.)
  3. PRAY for your 2. We are all praying for 2 people that God has shown us need to take a step towards Him and to attend Vertical with you on September 21 (Lumberton) or September 28 (Bladen). I am praying WITH you FOR them.
Seriously, this could be the GREATEST Sunday we have EVER experienced together. I BELIEVE – DO YOU?!?

Why I am so Excited About “What Should I Believe?”

This past Sunday we began a new series titled, “What Should I Believe?” We are taking four weeks and talking about some of the things that we believe are a foundational part of our beliefs. This is one of those series that just really sets me on fire because

I love seeing the spiritual light come on in people’s lives.

These four weeks have the potential to not only take individuals to another level but our whole church as well. Here’s why:

  • The young man I met Sunday at the Lumberton location who is just out of jail and preparing to go to rehab. The LIGHT was on!!! He loved Vertical and was thankful for what he experienced yesterday. He is learning #wsib (what should i believe)
  • The young man at the Bladen location for over a month who received Christ last weekend – he probably would not attend 4 weeks in a row at any church in our area. God is changing his life and he is learning #wsib
  • The multiple people I saw taking next steps to serve in significant ways on a VTeam. They are learning #wsib.
  • The challenging conversations that I had after services with people that the message pressed in on. They are learning #wsib
  • The people I saw pray to receive Christ!!! They are learning #wsib
  • As a church we are all individually praying for 2 people over a 21 day period. We’re praying for them by name, for any known situations and we are asking God to give us the opportunity to encourage them spiritually. We are inviting those 2 people to church either on the 21st (if you attend Lumberton) or the 28th (if you attend Bladen).
  • We had great days at both locations for week 1 and we’re just going UP from here!
  • I am believing that God is going to save 75 people this month through the Vertical Church ministry.
  • I am believing that many of you will take important next steps, whether it be baptism (sign up here), becoming a part of a VTeam (sign up here) or taking steps to find a VGroup (sign up here).
  • I think that the foundations for the next Vertical moves are being laid during this season of ministry.

Let’s not be about a meeting – we’re a movement!!! #maybeitstime

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!