By Jillian Dunbar | Contributor
Every Monday night on Baylor’s campus, you can find about 1000 students together worshiping God. College students come to this gathering to seek a distraction from their stress and the many responsibilities that come with being a student.
Vertical Ministries exists to “ignite a passion in college students for Jesus Christ, His Church, and His mission around the world,” according to its website. The ministry began October 26, 2009 and has continued on the Baylor campus ever since.
Coppell freshman Ashley Rivera has attended Vertical regularly throughout her first semester and has loved being surrounded by people like herself.
“It is a judgement-free place where everyone shares the same purpose of being there, which is worshiping God,” Rivera said.
Dale Wallace has been on the Vertical Ministries staff for almost three years and has served as executive director for the past two years. He is also a Baylor alumnus and is currently the official emcee of the university. Wallace said he has a special heart for the ministry because it was around during his time as a student. From being an attendee to now having a “front row seat”, he said Vertical continues to impact his life in many ways.
“When I was a student, it was a place of refuge where I knew I could go to be challenged and encouraged,” Wallace said. “On staff, it serves the same role and has grown me as I’ve had a front row seat to see God’s miraculous work on Baylor’s campus.”
There are many working parts that allow this ministry to be a success. The ways students can become involved are through being a Vertical Volunteer or part of the Young Adults Team. The volunteers are assigned to various groups including a media team, donor relations team, greet team, roadie team and prayer team. Currently, the ministry has about 150 volunteers. The Young Adult Team’s role is to help pray for the students, give them wise counsel and care for those that want to talk with someone in a different life stage.
San Diego, Calif. freshman and Vertical volunteer Megan Mae Oitzman shared her roles and the ways she serves in the ministry.
“We get the privilege to advertise Vertical on our social medias, pray for the ministry on our own time, engage with attendees and make them feel welcome,” Oitzman said.
Dallas freshman Allison Feille took on a volunteer role as well and said it has been one of the best decisions she has made this semester.
“It was the first place where I really felt like I belonged here at Baylor,” Feille said. “Vertical has really encouraged my faith, especially in the transition to college.”
Feille believes this ministry is perfect for anyone and everyone interested in getting involved.
“I would encourage anyone, strong in their walk with the Lord or not, to attend if they want community and encouragement,” Feille said. “We joke around but also talk about the hard stuff, which I think is a balance everyone needs. Even if you’re lacking in spending time with God, Vertical will meet you where you are and give you that extra push ahead.”
Wallace has high hopes for the future of this ministry and believes it has the power to help change the Waco community along with other organizations and churches in the area.
“I believe God is using this ministry, many other ministries, and the local Churches here to bring spiritual revival, reformation and God‘s Kingdom to Waco,” Wallace said. “I believe Vertical is a small part of what God is doing in and through Waco.”
Those interested in attending or getting involved in Vertical Ministries can follow @VerticalWaco on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for updates and additional information.