Pastors Alex and Eridania Soler officially planted Vertical Encounter in 2015 after holding gatherings in their home since mid 2014. The church had a great launch service with more than 225 people attending. The next week the church started out with 70 people and has since continues to grow. Our church started meeting at The Pearce Campus High School in Zion. During the week, we met for various gatherings such as prayer and re|ENGAGE. In July of 2017, we moved into our current location in Waukegan.
Pastor Alex is a former youth pastor and music director with a degree in Recording Arts from Full Sail University. He also has over 10 years working in the Public Schools system where he worked mostly in Middle Schools. Eridania has worked in church leadership for over 12 years. She also has been working with the Waukegan Public Schools for over 11 years as a bilingual certified teacher. Eridania holds a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. They are the proud parents of two wonderful sons, Jacob and Joshua. Their family has been blessed to experience ministry as a family!
Pastor Alex felt God’s call to plant a church while working with a small group of new believers. After taking many steps of faith, they have experienced God’s ability to revive, restore, and exceed dreams. Their church continues to see many miracles of transformation, change, liberation, and freedom occurring in and around Waukegan. Today, great leaders are being birthed out of their church and great churches will soon follow. To God be all the Glory!
WHY WE EXIST AS A CHURCH
MISSION – Reach people far from God and help them move from belonging to becoming.
VISION – Unlikely people encountering God, finding freedom, discovering purpose, and making a difference.
- Love & Acceptance
- Community Engagement
OUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY CONSISTS OF FOUR STEPS:
KNOW GOD – SUNDAY SERVICES
We consider reaching people who do not know God personally to be one of our greatest responsibilities. Our Sunday services are for people at all stages in their spiritual journey but are primarily designed for those who do not yet have a genuine relationship with God.
Our Sunday services focus on four values:
1. CELEBRATION : We believe church should be enjoyable.
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” PSALM 122:1 NKJV
2. INSPIRATION : We believe church should be a place where people experience God’s presence.
“But…when some unbelievers or ordinary people come in, they will be convinced of their sin by what they hear. They will be judged by all they hear, their secret thoughts will be brought into the open, and they will bow down and worship God, confessing, ‘Truly God is here among you!’” 1 CORINTHIANS 14:24–25 GNT
3. PREPARATION : We believe church should be a place where people learn how the Bible applies to their daily lives.
“So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” EPHESIANS 4:11–12
4. SALVATION : We believe church should be a place where people can accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
“‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” ROMANS 10:13–14 NLT
FIND FREEDOM- SMALL GROUPS
We believe life change happens in the context of relationships. Small Groups have one simple purpose: to bring people together. God created us to live in community with others, and it is only then that we can experience the full life He intends for us.
Small Groups provide three things:
- A place to CONNECT with others.
“Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.” 1 CORINTHIANS 9:22 TLB
- A place to PROTECT each other.
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 JOHN 3:16 NLT
- A place to GROW together.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” PROVERBS 27:17
DISCOVER PURPOSE – GROWTH TRACK
Growth Track exists to help you discover and develop your purpose and live the full life God created for you. The Growth Track is made up of four steps, which guide you through next steps in your journey to know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make a difference.
“Let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity.” HEBREWS 6:1
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” JOHN 10:10
MAKE A DIFFERENCE – DREAM TEAM
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” EPHESIANS 2:10 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” ACTS 20:24 “Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities…and there are different kinds of service to God [ministry]…All of you together are the one Body of Christ and each of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” 1 CORINTHIANS 12:4–5, 27 TLB
NOTE: You can start by joining the Dream Team at Step Four of the Growth Track!
VERTICAL ENCOUNTER GOVERNMENT
As you consider investing your heart, time, family, and finances into the life of a church, it is important for you to feel confident in church leadership. Our goal in sharing the details of our church’s government is that you will understand that our church is structured to support the values of integrity, accountability, and spiritual authority.
Our church government is made up of two groups:
- Led by LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
The Leadership Council is led by the Senior Pastor and made up of Deacons. This team oversees the day-to-day ministry and operations of the church. The team serves the congregation and are responsible for the development of the spiritual life of the church.
- Protected by THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD : CLICK HERE to find out more about the Assemblies of God
Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping. Be as generous as you can. When I get there you’ll have it ready, and I won’t have to make a special appeal.” 1 CORINTHIANS 16:1–4 MSG
At Vertical Encounter, we practice tithing for the support of Christ’s body, the church, as God commands. We recognize that giving 10% of our income is the Biblical standard for giving.
“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” DEUTERONOMY 14:22–26
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” MALACHI 3:10
Giving is one of the central themes in the Bible. Jesus talked more about this subject than Heaven, Hell, or prayer. To understand what it means to be a Christ-follower, we must also understand what it means to be a giver.
The tithe, or “first fruits” of our labor/income belong to God. We find this principle all through God’s Word. Tithing, giving God the first 10% of our income to the local church, is the primary, practical way we acknowledge that God is first (Proverbs 3:9–10).
An offering is giving over and above the tithe. The Bible says that by giving generously, we are able to “take hold of the life that is truly life.” You aren’t really living unless you are freely giving (1 Timothy 6:18–19).
The Gift of Giving
The gift of giving is a spiritual gift that God gives to some people (Romans 12:8). It is a Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by giving of your material resources, far beyond the tithe, to further the work of God.
BECOMING A MEMBER
Vertical Encounter Membership Covenant
Having received Christ as my Lord and Savior and being in agreement with the values and ideas presented in Step One of the Growth Track, I now feel led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the Vertical Encounter family. In doing so, I make the following commitment to God and my fellow church members:
1. I will protect the unity of my church by:
○ Acting in love toward other members.
○ Refusing to gossip.
○ Following the leaders.
“So let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of our fellowship together.” ROMANS 14:19 PH
“Have a sincere love for other believers, love one another earnestly with all your heart.” 1 PETER 1:22 GNT
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.” EPHESIANS 4:29
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” HEBREWS 13:17
2. I will share the responsibility of my church by:
○ Praying for its growth and health.
○ Inviting the unchurched to attend.
○ Warmly welcoming those who visit.
“To the church…we always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.” 1 THESSALONIANS 1:1–2
“Go out into the country…and urge anyone you find to come in, so that the house will be full.” LUKE 14:23 TLB
“So, warmly welcome each other into the church, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified.” ROMANS 15:7 TLB
3. I will serve the ministry of my church by:
○ Discovering my gifts and talents.
○ Using my God-given gifts to make a difference in the lives of others.
○ Developing a servant’s heart.
“Serve one another with the particular gifts God has given each of you.” 1 PETER 4:10 PH
“So Christ Himself gave…pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” EPHESIANS 4:11–12 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus… taking the form of a bondservant.” PHILIPPIANS 2:4–5, 7 NKJV
4. I will support the testimony of my church by:
○ Attending church and small groups faithfully.
○ Living a Godly life.
○ Giving regularly.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” ACTS 2:42
“Let us not neglect our meeting together…but encourage one another.” HEBREWS 10:25 NLT
“But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” PHILIPPIANS 1:27 PH
STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Holy Bible, and only the Bible, is the authoritative Word of God. It alone is the final authority in determining all doctrinal truths. In its original writing, it is inspired, infallible, and inerrant. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Proverbs 30:5; Romans 16:25-26
There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are coequal and co-eternal. 1 John 5:7; Genesis 1:26; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 3:7-11
Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. On earth, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He is the only man ever to have lived a sinless life. He was born of a virgin, performed miracles, died on the cross for mankind, and thus atoned for our sins through the shedding of His blood. He rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will return again in power and glory. John 1:1,14, 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:16; Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 2:5
Jesus Christ was conceived by God the Father, through the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Trinity) in the virgin Mary’s womb; therefore, He is the Son of God. Matthew 1:18, 25; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:27-35
Man was created good and upright, but by voluntary transgression he fell; his only hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Genesis 1:26-31, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12- 21
For anyone to know God, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. John 6:44, 65; Matthew 19:28; Titus 3:5
We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ: His death, burial, and resurrection. Salvation is a gift from God, not a result of our good works or of any human efforts. Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16, 3:8; Titus 3:5; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 16:31; Hebrews 9:22
Repentance is the commitment to turn away from sin in every area of our lives and to follow Christ, which allows us to receive His redemption and to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Thus, through repentance we receive forgiveness of sins and appropriate salvation. Acts 2:21, 3:19; 1 John 1:9
Sanctification is the ongoing process of yielding to God’s Word and His Spirit in order to complete the development of Christ’s character in us. It is through the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that the Christian is enabled to live a Godly life. 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 5:23; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 6:14-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Romans 8:29, 12:1-2, Hebrews 2:11
The Blood that Jesus Christ shed on the Cross of Calvary was sinless and is 100% sufficient to cleanse mankind of all sin. Jesus allowed Himself to be punished for both our sinfulness and our sins, enabling all those who believe to be free from the penalty of sin, which is death. 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5, 5:9; Colossians 1:20; Romans 3:10-12, 23, 5:9; John 1:29
Jesus Christ Indwells All Believers
Christians are people who have invited the Lord Jesus Christ to come and live inside them by His Holy Spirit. They relinquish the authority of their lives over to Him thus making Jesus the Lord of their life as well as Savior. They put their trust in what Jesus accomplished for them when He died, was buried, and rose again from the dead. John 1:12; John 14:17, 23; John 15:4; Romans 8:11; Revelation 3:20
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Given at Pentecost, it is the promise of the Father, sent by Jesus after His Ascension, to empower the Church to preach the Gospel throughout the whole earth. Joel 2:28-29; Matthew 3:11; Mark 16:17; Acts 1:5, 2:1-4, 17, 38-39, 8:14-17, 10:38, 44-47, 11:15-17, 19:1-6
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is manifested through a variety of spiritual gifts to build and sanctify the church, demonstrate the validity of the resurrection, and confirm the power of the Gospel. The Bible’s lists of these gifts are not necessarily exhaustive, and the gifts may occur in various combinations. All believers are commanded to earnestly desire the manifestation of the gifts in their lives. These gifts always operate in harmony with the Scriptures and should never be used in violation of Biblical parameters. Hebrews 2:4; Romans 1:11, 12 :4-8; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, 14:1-40; 1 Peter 4:10
The Church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of Jesus’ Great Commission. Every person who is born of the Spirit is an integral part of the Church as a member of the body of believers. There is a spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:22, 2:19-22; Hebrews 12:23; John 17:11, 20-23
Water Baptism: Following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the new convert is commanded by the Word of God to be baptized in water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 36-38; 10:47-48
The Lord’s Supper: A unique time of communion in the presence of God when the elements of bread and grape juice (the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ) are taken in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. Matthew 26:26- 29; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-25
Marriage: We believe marriage is defined in the Bible as a covenant, a sacred bond between one man and one woman, instituted by and publicly entered into before God. Matthew 19:4-6
Healing of the Sick
Healing of the sick is illustrated in the life and ministry of Jesus and included in the commission of Jesus to His disciples. It is given as a sign, which is to follow believers. It is also a part of Jesus’ work on the cross and one of the gifts of the Spirit. Psalm 103:2-3; Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 16:17-18; Acts 8:6-7; James 5:14-16; 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28; Romans 11:29
God’s Will for Provision
It is the Father’s will for believers to become whole, healthy, and successful in all areas of life. Because of the fall, many may not receive the full benefits of God’s will while on Earth, but that fact should never prevent all believers from seeking the full benefits of Christ’s provision in order to better serve others.
John 3:3-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Romans 10:9-10
- Mental and Emotional
2 Timothy 1:7, 2:11; Philippians 4:7-8; Romans 12:2; Isaiah 26:3
Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24
Joshua 1:8; Malachi 3:10-11; Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6-10; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 34:10, 84:11; Philippians 4:19
Jesus Christ was physically resurrected from the dead in a glorified body three days after His death on the cross. In addition, both the saved and the lost will be resurrected; those that are saved to the resurrection of life and those that are lost to the resurrection of eternal damnation. Luke 24:16, 36, 39; John 2:19-21, 20:26-28, 21:4; Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 44; Philippians 1:21-23, 3:21
Heaven is the eternal dwelling place for all believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:3, 12, 20, 6:20, 19:21, 25:34; John 17:24; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 11:16; 1 Peter 1:4
After living one life on earth, the unbelievers will be judged by God and sent to Hell where they will be eternally tormented with the Devil and the Fallen Angels. Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 14:9-11, 20:12-15, 21:8
Jesus Christ will physically and visibly return to earth for the second time to establish His Kingdom. This will occur at a date undisclosed by the Scriptures. Matthew 24:30, 26:63- 64; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8; Revelation 1:7