Church/university partnership brings Vertical Worship to Kernersville
Each week, voices unite in Triad Baptist’s Worship Center/Gym to praise God through such songs as “The Rock Won’t Move,” “Do What You Want To,” and “Spirit of the Living God.”
On Feb. 16, the group behind the music — Vertical Worship, from Chicago, Ill. — will take the Triad Worship Band’s place in a first-ever concert by Piedmont International University (PIU) designed to focus hearts and minds on Jesus Christ. More than 300 tickets have been sold for the “Evening of Worship with Vertical Worship.” Order yours now at piedmontu.edu/vertical.
In this special Q&A for Connections, Devin Purgason, Piedmont’s director of marketing and website operations, explains more about the “Evening of Worship with Vertical Worship” concert and the PIU/Triad Baptist partnership that produced it.
Connections: Why did Piedmont International University select Triad Baptist’s Worship Center for its first concert?
Purgason: “At Piedmont, we have a yearly event called the ‘Bruin Blitz.’ It’s a weekender experience for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to experience our campus — from academics and student life to financial aid. They get to see the life in the residence halls, eat lunch, visit chapel and classes, and have a lot of fun. We usually center the event on specific campus-wide activities, like a Bruins basketball game. With our coach being NBA All-Star Josh Howard, that’s always a great draw. But we wanted to add a significant concert event for Bruin Blitz. Piedmont is growing rapidly, but we don’t have the facilities necessary to put on an event like this. Triad Baptist does. The combination was a natural.”
Connections: How does this event show another level of the university’s relationship with Triad Baptist at work?
Purgason: “Triad and Piedmont have always had strong connections. Lead Pastor Rob Decker not only is an alumnus of Piedmont, but one of our university’s most well-respected and foundational professors and a crucial member of our Board of Trustees. The church is also one of our largest financial supporters and considers our university a vital mission worthy of support through its Missions budget. Several members of Triad have received their training in ministry from Piedmont International University too. This ‘concert partnership’ only further strengthens those bonds. We’re very grateful to the church because, without Triad Baptist, this Evening of Worship would not be possible!”
Connections: Why did you choose Vertical Worship for Piedmont’s first concert?
Purgason: “First, we don’t want people just to have fun; we want this to mean something. There’s nothing that gives us more meaning than giving honor and praise back to Jesus through worship and singing His praises. We chose Vertical Worship because we knew that they would lead us to God’s throne. They would, just as their name states, help set our hearts and minds vertically towards Him. We want this to be a personal and unique worship experience for everyone who joins us Feb.16.
“We also chose Vertical Worship because of their music. In our chapel at Piedmont, hardly a week goes by that we don’t sing a song written by the group. At Triad’s Contemporary Worship Service, Vertical Worship songs such as ‘Open Up the Heavens,’ ‘1,000 Tongues,’ ‘The Rock Won’t Move,’ ‘Do What You Want To,’ and ‘Spirit of the Living God’ are sung nearly every Sunday. We think this Evening of Worship will not only be great for youth pastors to bring their students to, and for Piedmont students to join in worship, but for people throughout the Piedmont.”
Connections: What do PIU and Triad Baptist hope comes from the concert?
Purgason: “We hope that people come to this event and genuinely worship our risen Savior. We want people to come together in a chorus of song and focus their hearts and minds on Jesus. At Piedmont, our vision is that ‘We will grow in influence to become an internationally recognized leader in innovative, Bible-centered higher education for effective ministry in a constantly changing world.’ We believe that having this worship event helps us do just that just as the church believes it advances Triad Baptist’s mission to ‘point lives toward Christ’ as its members worship, connect, serve, and reach the world.”
Connections: Why are these events important for local churches and Christian universities like PIU?
Purgason: “We know that methods change, but the message never does. I think events like these are incredibly important for local churches to be involved in because they strive to bring people together of all ages, races, and economic status for one purpose: to lift high the name of Jesus Christ.”
Connections: What’s been the response so far?
Purgason: “People are really looking forward to the concert, and we’ve already sold nearly 300 tickets! We’re so happy about that, but our goal is 800. We still have a bit to go, but we know no matter how many we sell, we’re going to have an awesome time worshipping Jesus! While we will still have tickets available at the door, we’d encourage everyone to purchase them online and in advance so we will better know how many volunteers and other resources we need.”