More Communities Need More (Vertical) Churches
by Eric Klingel – 20s Pastor
Over the past five years of attending and working at Harvest, I have been completely changed. I've been set free from thinking I could earn God's love through my works and now know it's only because of His grace! Instead of church being a boring weekend routine, I now go expecting God to move in powerful ways!
If you can relate and have been attending Harvest for any length of time maybe you have thought, said, or heard statements like these:
"My DUTY to attend church has been replaced by DESIRE."
"I used to SING, now I WORSHIP."
"My HEAD knowledge has become HEART knowledge."
"THE BIBLE has become the very WORDS OF GOD."
"My SHYNESS is now BOLDNESS."
"I was ADDICTED, but now I'm FREE."
"I was DEAD, but now I'm ALIVE."
How overwhelming it is to think that we are witnessing the very work of the Holy Spirit! His work started nearly 2,000 years ago, and the Church continues to grow today as much as it did in Acts 2:47. "...and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."
DO WE REALLY NEED MORE CHURCHES?
There are churches everywhere, so why do we need more? The need is not just for more churches, but for more vertical churches. I've seen it and experienced it - God uses vertical, Gospel-preaching churches to change people. God is at work in the hearts of people in our community, but I believe our church would agree there is still a need for more unashamed worship, more unapologetic preaching, more Gospel-centered community, and more people experiencing the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit. More communities need more vertical churches!
God has used a vertical church to change me and I have had a growing burden to see God work in more cities and towns. There is a great need for lukewarm believers to be revitalized and for non-believers to come to Christ. If you have been changed and have a desire to see God work in more areas, here are a few steps that you can take now:
I was able to preach Colossians 4 recently and I keep finding myself going back to this verse - "At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison." The reality is that God has been in this "church business" much longer than we have. Only He can open doors for the Gospel. Please be in prayer for doors to open that we may not miss opportunities to proclaim and lift high the name of Jesus in a new area.
More vertical churches will require more time, talent, and resources. Just one financial gift, one night of volunteering, or one person's ability won't be enough. Are you willing to sacrifice your comfort for the Gospel to move forward? If we truly desire to see God glorified in more communities, it will require us to give more in sacrificial ways.
One of the hardest things we're asked to do is to face the unknown. We love what is known because it feels comfortable. Maybe the Lord will call you to a new town to help start a vertical church - will you drive out of your way for the Gospel to move forward? Maybe its a new area of service that needs your help or a new small group you need to be a part of - are you willing to do what needs to be done so that God can be glorified?
As a church we must listen to the Holy Spirit as He leads. If we are not in constant communion with Jesus throughout our lives, we may miss out on His leading. We need to "tune-in" to what God is doing around us so that we can join in and be a part of it! He may be leading us to start another vertical church!
(Also, tune into this weekend's service - we have some very exciting news!)