Crawford Lorritts  |  Fellowship Bible Church – Roswell, GA

My friend James MacDonald reminds us that the church of the living God is meant to be a place of holy attraction. There’s a lot of things we can do to attract and gather people, but only one thing will mark and transform them forever: the presence and work of our great God. Thank you, James, for reminding us that 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.

Craig Groeschel  |  LifeChurch.tv – Tulsa, OK

Vertical Church will ignite your passion for the potential of God’s power in the local church. Whether you’re a leader in the church or just searching for more, you will discover deep and meaningful spiritual truths in this book that will inspire your faith.


Carl Lentz  |  Hillsong NYC – New York, NY

One of my passionate prayers for my generation of leaders is that we would be fearless in our theological conviction about who Jesus is and what the gospel is all about. Pastor James is one of those leaders who embodies the total package of educating the new believer, informing the nonbeliever, strengthening the solid believer, and graciously confronting the detractor. All are qualities that I strive to grow in, and his thoughts on church, theology, leadership, and culture will surely help any follower of Jesus.

Bryan Lorritts  |  Fellowship Memphis – Memphis, TN

The apostles had something in the early church that I long for in mine: the active presence of God moving actively among His people! If you, like me, thirst for a church that connects Vertically with our awesome God, then this book is for you! Whether you are a leader in the church or a member who wonders what church should be about, my friend James MacDonald has gifted us with a resource that will ignite your passion and increase your appetite for God.

 Bob Coy  |  Calvary Chapel – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Once again, James MacDonald nails it! The greatest threat facing the church isn’t a foe from without but a failure from within … the failure to lift up our eyes and see God for all that He is. With unflinching effectiveness, Vertical Church gets us back to the basics of aligning ourselves, and our churches, with a straight line up!

 Bill Hybels  |  Willow Creek Community Church – Barrington, IL

James MacDonald is one of the most passionate church leaders I have ever known. I count it a great privilege to call him my friend. Vertical Church will force you to think fresh thoughts about the future of the church in the US and around the world. The chapter on preaching impacted me greatly.

Darrin Patrick | The Journey – St. Louis, MO

There is nothing like learning from guys who are doing significant ministry. Vertical Church is a treasury of principles and experience that challenges leaders to be biblical and radical. James MacDonald doesn’t give us easy answers but does point us to an awesome God who is on display through His church.

 David Stone  |  Southeast Christian Church – Louisville, KY

Driven by a passion for the church to change the world, a desire for the people in it to encounter God, and a longing for God’s glory to accomplish both, my friend James MacDonald pleads for a revolution among churches. He’s seen it at Harvest Bible Chapel—and you can too in your church.

Don Cousins  |  Author, Unexplainable: Pursuing a Life Only God Can Make Possible

Years ago, I asked a friend about his church’s target audience. He responded, ‘My target audience is the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I figure that if “they” show up, “they” will bring their friends.’ If that rings as true for you as it does for me, then Vertical Church becomes a must read. With clear, biblically based vision, James MacDonald paints a picture of the church that God attends. And as you might guess, when God shows up in your church, the unexplainable takes place. If this is what you long for, as I do, read this book. After all, God really does want to attend your church.

Ed Stetzer  |  Director of the Billy Graham Center

People-focused ministry cannot forsake the God who sends us. James MacDonald’s Vertical Church is a bold corrective to horizontal ministry that sometimes deemphasizes the focus on a glorious and holy God. It’s definitely worth reading, discussing, and applying with your church’s leadership.

Eric Mason  |  Epiphany Fellowship Church – Philadelphia, PA

By the grace of God, Pastor James has been able to accomplish many things over his years of ministry and could easily pull out a Rolodex of quantitative accomplishments. However, Vertical Church lets us see that ministry fruit flows from a Godward gospel focus. Through this great work and labor of love the reader will wrestle through whether their service is fueled by the transcendence of God or merely temporal pragmatics.

Greg Laurie  |  Harvest Christian Fellowship – Riverside, CA

Vertical Church by my friend James MacDonald will take your eyes off the latest methodologies, ministries, and media in the church. It will cause you to look up and get down on your knees, asking God to make your church Vertical for His glory. Give yourself to its message, and your life and ministry will be radically altered in an upward direction.

JD Greer  |  Summit Church – Durham, NC

The gospel is about God. The church exists for God. We should leave public worship transfixed by God. These truths should probably not be revolutionary, but as James shows in this book, they are—particularly for those of us in the West. This book gets beyond the superficial arguments among churches to the real issue—the loss of the glory of God in the church. This book made me hungry for it. Oh God, send us a revival!

Jack Graham  |  Prestonwood Baptist Church – Dallas, TX

After more than thirty years of church ministry, I thought everything good about the church had already been said. Then I read my friend James MacDonald’s book Vertical Church. Get it. Read it. Read it again. And apply it to your church’s benefit and God’s greater glory.


James Merritt  |  Cross Pointe Church – Duluth, GA

When my good friend James MacDonald speaks or writes, I listen and read with tremendous anticipation and expectation. This book may be his best stuff yet! Vertical Church is a clarion call to get back to the church’s one purpose, which is nothing more, less, or but the glory of God in His Son, Jesus Christ. The chapter on preaching alone should be read by every communicator of God’s Word everywhere—and I mean everywhere! James, thanks for giving the Christian world this invaluable resource and inspiration!

Joel Anderson  |  Harvest Bible Chapel – Orlando, FL

I feel like a bad movie trailer, but it’s true: ‘I laughed, I cried … it was personal. I had a moment. It’s just plain powerful.’ What God has given James through the years and tears of ministry’s crucible will feed and strengthen your soul. If your fire has grown cold, this is sure to reignite the passion that fuels Vertical ministry. It’s flourless chocolate cake—an intensely deep and rich read. It is written with clarity, articulated in a way that I believe will leave your spirit saying, ‘That’s it. That’s what we need. That’s what we’ve been missing. This is what the Lord wants for our lives and our church.’ So grab a pen and a pad and get ready to devour these pages dripping with scriptural authority and life experience.

Jonathan Falwell  |  Thomas Road Baptist Church – Lynchburg, VA

James MacDonald has been one of the great leaders in the church for some time and has truly blessed me in ministry. His books have always been encouraging and God honoring. His newest, Vertical Church, could be his most important yet. The church is God’s plan for world evangelization and thus is also Satan’s greatest target. We must do everything possible to protect, promote, and preserve the bride of Christ. This book is a big part of that imperative and will take your heart to where the answers are found.

Jud Wilhite  |  Central Christian Church – Las Vegas, NV

James MacDonald has truly hit the mark with this book. I found myself nodding again and again in agreement and wincing a few times when challenged. I hope every pastor, leader, and church planter will take to heart his words and be inspired by his passion. I certainly am, and the church I serve will be so much better for it. This book could save you years of heartache and unnecessary ministry frustration. Thank you, James, for pointing all of us Vertical and helping us recognize what is most important for every church!

Levi Lusko  |  Fresh Life Church – Kalispell, MT

I vividly recall the moment I was first exposed to the material that you now hold in your hands. What hit me like a hammer was a riff about how it would be selfish for God to not point us to His glory. When the message ended, its effect was immediate and unmistakable: I was small and God was big. James MacDonald would have the awe factor turned up in your worship experiences, and that AWEsome sensation awaits any heart that journeys through these pages. James has the courage to say what we all desperately need to hear.

Mark Marshall  |  ClearView Baptist Church – Franklin, TN

Judging from the number of highlights and notes I made in the margins while reading this book, I will no doubt revisit it often in the years to come, and my congregation and staff will hear me quote it frequently. While laying a solid biblical foundation, Vertical Church inspires and encourages through stories from James’ personal experiences as a pastor. James brings us back to the true north of having God-focused churches with practical examples to light the way. Pastors of all size churches in any stage of ministry will find this to be an invaluable ministry companion.

Matt Carter  |  The Austin Stone Community Church – Austin, TX

My deepest passion is for the church to be a place where people can experience the presence of our living God while lifting high the name of Jesus. James MacDonald has powerfully articulated something that’s been on my heart for a long time and was the reason I planted The Austin Stone.

Matt Chandler  |  The Village Church – Flower Mound, TX

James MacDonald is a man captivated and consumed by the God of the Bible, and as always, that leads to a heart transformed by God expressing a passion to make God known, seen, and worshipped. I’m so grateful for much that has been written here. The chapters on transcendence and glory stirred my heart to worship, and the chapter on prayer was challenging and convicting. The fact that this was written by such a good friend makes me recommend it to you all the more strongly. May God use this to stir your affections for Jesus.

Michael Catt  |  Sherwood Baptist Church – Albany, GA

Vertical Church is a timely book. In a day of ‘what works,’ we’ve lost our emphasis. The church is not a human institution or a man-centered organization—it is God centered. We will not be right horizontally until we are right Vertically. This book will help you get back to the Vertical.


O.S. Hawkins  |  President and CEO, GuideStone Financial Resources

James MacDonald wrote Vertical Church from a horizontal position: on his face and broken before the Lord. Those of us who have known and loved James for years see his passion, energy, and heart oozing out of every single page of this volume. As the pages unfold, it becomes more and more contagious. It is for a fact, what we are longing for and what we can be. Read it and reap!

Paul Niequist  |  Moody Bible Institute

Vertical Church is a clarion call to connect people with God. It rightly shows our deepest yearning in church is to be engaged in a real, vibrant relationship with the glorious Creator of the universe. This is not mere theory to James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel; it is their consuming passion. There is much to digest in this book; chew on it slowly, and the people in your church will be glad you did.

Paul Tripp  |  Paul Tripp Ministries

If you care at all about the church of Jesus Christ, please don’t read this book! No, humbly meditate on each chapter and you will be confronted with a God of awesome glory and a church that is called to reflect that glory in everything it does. Live with the truths this book proclaims, marinating the tough places of your heart until they are tenderized and transformed once again by the stunning glory of the One who the church is from, to, and through.

Perry Noble  |  NewSpring Church – Anderson, SC

There is no one on the planet that I respect more when it comes to biblical knowledge and love for the church than my friend James MacDonald. I am constantly encouraged and challenged by his love for the gospel and his awe of God. I am so glad he took the time to write this book reminding us all what the church is supposed to be about, why we exist, and how we can impact the world in ways we never imagined.

Rick Warren  |  Saddleback Church – Lake Forest, CA

I didn’t just read this book—I savored it. It’s packed with great content that every pastor, whether a rookie or a veteran, will benefit from. I’m so grateful my friend James MacDonald invested the time to help us all, because it is a message of hope for every church.


Ron Zappia  |  HighPoint Church – Naperville, IL

Finally a book on the church that is both practical and theological, relevant and historical, encouraging and challenging. Thanks, Pastor James, for providing the church and our church planting movement with a thought provoking and essential resource that will inspire us all to greater Verticality where it matters most: the church of Jesus Christ!

Ronnie Floyd  |  Cross Church – Springdale, AZ

Upon reading through Vertical Church, I felt the Holy Spirit move upon me greatly. This God-exalting book is biblically based, theologically deep, spiritually convicting, personally challenging, and generationally connecting. I will get this book into the hands of as many people as possible and encourage you to do the same.

Ryan Huguley  |  Redemption Bible Church – Mount Prospect, IL

Vertical Church is the most significant contribution yet to the list of gifts God has granted His church through the voice of my friend James MacDonald. This a dangerous book. It will disrupt business as usual, destroy your man-centered ministry, and dig its way deep into your heart and mind. Gospel-saturated, God-centered, and pastorally sensitive, Vertical Church will stir your affection for Christ and reignite your passion for the church God has called you to.

Steve Viars  |  Faith Church – Lafayette, IN

Vertical Church is the passionate cry of a faithful pastor who longs for the glory of God to be authentically lived out in the church of Jesus Christ. It’s decidedly not about the latest formulas, fads, and fashions. I think we’ve all had plenty of that. Let’s get Vertical. I needed to hear that. My church needs to hear it. And you probably do as well.

Steven Furtick  |  Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC

James MacDonald is one of the most effective Bible teachers alive today. His passion for God’s Word and for God’s people is contagious. I’m grateful for Vertical Church because I believe it will inspire you to fight for a higher purpose in your life and ministry.


Terry Hemmings  |  CEO, Sony Provident Music Group

The biblically based, Vertical preaching of James MacDonald has been a needed God encounter for my weary soul. After more than twenty-five years in Christian music, I can truly say this teaching and the music of Vertical worship has stirred and renewed my faith like nothing else. When Christ is welcomed back to the center of our lives, taking His rightful place, high and lifted up, we are renewed and deeply satisfied. James ignites hope from his own experience that the ‘Vertical Church’ can encounter God in a very real way that ‘changes everything,’ and it all starts with honoring Jesus, the Head of the church.

Todd Dugard  |  Harvest Bible Chapel Barrie – Barrie, ON

It seems ridiculous to highlight an entire book, but for those pursuing God’s glory as our highest purpose, that’s the reality. James MacDonald makes every word count in this indispensable apologetic for God-glorifying, Christ- centered, Spirit-filled churches. Put all the horizontal church books to the side and pick up Vertical Church. If you lead your church to the manifest presence of God, you and your people will get all you were created to long for and Christ established His church to be.