A church isn’t a church because it looks like a church. A speaker, a band, some trendy graphics, and a crowd doesn’t generate a church.  Healthy churches are miracles.  Every church-planter in VCN who has given their life to that end would agree.

Vertical describes the philosophy of ministry that centers around this idea: The church is for God, not people.  You can understand how that sharply runs against the grain of everything our world tries to get us to buy into.

Culture attempts to instill the idea that the more things in your life that are for you, the more fulfilled you will be.  It’s a lie. All that the world offers are cheap knock-offs to what God provides.  That’s where the church comes in.

Church should be the place where you are reminded that you aren’t the center of this world.  It’s the place where you get to engage with the maker of the universe.  The message being proclaimed from the church isn’t the work of marketers and strategists, it’s the Word of God.  The selfless community of the church reminds us that we aren’t alone in our struggles and disappointments.

"A church isn’t a church because it looks like a church."

Vertical is the pursuit of making sure the church is what God desires it to be.  It’s opening God’s Word and proclaiming it without apology to God’s people.  It’s exalting the name of Jesus Christ over every name.  It’s not a strategy or a tactic, it’s a core belief.  God has called the church to be the place where people encounter His Spirit and His Word.  It’s not always comfortable, and it’s rarely convenient, but it’s extremely fruitful.

The issue of Vertical shows up almost everywhere in the church. In every message, every class, every Small Group, we have to ask the defining question “Who are we doing this for?”. If extreme care is not given, the ministries within the church, and eventually the entire church are devoured by horizontal strategies to simply please people.

"God has called the church to be the place where people encounter His Spirit and His Word. "

VCN is a network of pastors who are giving their lives to the belief, that the church is God’s.  They are giving everything that they are, with the unwavering faith that Jesus Christ is and will continue to build His church.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t love people or work extremely hard to help people as they pursue God.  We love them enough to not just entertain or attract them, rather we disciple them to greater engagement with God.

The key question that gives way to being vertical is: “Who is my ministry for?”.

When we pursue God’s glory over the praise and interest of people, great things take place.

Written by Bobby Greenwood, Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Fayetteville, AR