Over the years, I've been in many churches. Churches of various denominations, beliefs and worship styles. So, let me be clear about this - as I blog my way through Vertical Church, my thoughts are merely my own and not some hidden criticism of any church that I've been to or have been actively involved in. I am also not saying that there is one way to do church. My only desire if for God's glory in the church - and that's why I'm so excited about this book.
You should also know that Joel I and attend a Harvest Bible Chapel. We are actually helping to plant a Harvest Bible Chapel and have been incredibly blessed by the process. James MacDonald, who wrote Vertical Church, is the founding pastor of Harvest and we love his direct, clear, practical teaching. So, I've already experienced some of the truths that James lays-out in the book.
So, Let's Get Started
Yesterday, Vertical Church finally arrived... I ordered a few books and a CD. As I sit on my bed and flipped through the book, my heart was instantly gripped by the message. Tears came to my eyes. And I know this won't be the last time.
This book - the idea really of a Vertical Church - stirs my heart. How powerful would it be if Christians today would move away from the horizontal experience of church, and instead set their eyes, minds and hearts above?
I don't know where you're at with church... Do you attend? Do you quickly rush to your car as soon as the service is over? Are you involved? Do you want to be involved, but can't get connected? Do you feel ministered to? Do you feel loved? Does the sermon leave you confused or bored? Does the sermon grip your heart? Is the gospel proclaimed? Are you growing in your faith? Are you held accountable? Does your church fear change? Does your church change after every cultural shift?
Many today leave church feeling unsatisfied, even frustrated or grieved by their experience (pg. 22). And what happens when people feel that way? They leave their church, hoping to find another one that will meet their heart-needs.
Right away, James MacDonald gets to the crux and says that once we seek to honor God, God Himself shows up and builds. Brokenness is being mended, sickness is being healed, the lost are being found, and families that were floundering are finding fulfillment in a weekly encounter with God Himself, who is the unmistakable constant of a Vertical Church. (pg. 23)
So, I have to ask then, is your church Vertical?
For Leaders & Church-Goers
Vertical Church isn't just for church leaders. It's for every single Christian today. Something isn't working in most churches. You know it. I know it. We all need to desire a church that is for God, about God, through God, and to the glory of His great Son. (pg. 27)
From Here on Out
There are 8 chapters total in Vertical Church. The first four deal with the theology behind going Vertical. The remaining four chapters deal with the "how" of a Vertical Church.
Each week I will take a chapter and share my thoughts with you. I hope that you'll pick up a copy and join me. I'd love to know your thoughts, excitements and experiences!
Let's do this!
Today, I'll leave you with this - think about it, meditate upon it and ask God to open your heart...
Deep within we long for the Father of all galaxies
to fall on us weekly and take us to the mat with His full weight.
Is that happening in your church?
When was the last time you were gripped by the greatness of God? (pg. 20)