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Book Notes: Vertical Church

Vertical Church


I have a good deal of respect for James MacDonald and I think he is a great pastor and leader in the church. I decided to read Vertical Church when someone in my church asked what I thought of the book and I hadn’t read it. At that time it was only $3.49 for kindle but it has since gone up.

I took some great insight from this book and it is well written but I will be honest and tell you, it’s not my favorite read of 2012 and I probably won’t recommend this one to many people. please don’t let that stop you from reading it, if you read it and have a different opinion, I would love to hear what you think.

With that said, I don’t like the book very much because to me it comes across in a way that feels legalistic to me. It feels to me like “we’re doing it right and you’re probably not.” Now, the message is good, the concept is that God’s Glory comes first before anything else. I agree that we serve God for His Glory and not ours. However, I disagree with some of the thoughts in the book. Still a great author and still a book that I learned a lot from.

Here are some of the things I found helpful.

Christians have a way of crouching in their own culture instead of penetrating the one they live in with the gospel.

We need to be taken and shaken by the God who made us and forced to look up into the eternity racing upon us this moment.

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?

Church must be about helping people discover and experience that, fifty-two weeks a year, every year for the rest of their lives. No personal quiet time, no Christian book, no community or small group or service can substitute for the absence of God coming down to meet with His church corporately.

Apart from the revealed presence of God in the midst of the church, we are just the rotary club without music, or the boy scouts without fire.

Would you keep going to Burger King if they didn’t have beef? • How long would you sit in a theater if the screen didn’t light up? • Do you line up for gas where the station’s fuel tanks are empty? Ritual church, tradition church, felt-need church, emotional-hype church, rules church, Bible-boredom church, relevant church, and many other iterations are all horizontal substitutes for God come down, we all get rocked and radically altered, Vertical Church.

The problem in the church today is that we treat God’s glory as a by-product and the missional activities of the church as the primary thing when the opposite is what Scripture demands.


December 18, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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