What We Do
The activities of Vertical Fellowship stem from Who We Are. We generate Christian ministry on two basic levels: as Producers and as a Resource.
We are passionate about bringing together individuals, ministries, churches and organizations and creating opportunities for them to serve God and learn. As producers, we take the lead to fulfill our Vision, Mission and Calling enlisting others who share in our passion for the gospel to actively partner with us in ministry.
Examples of ministries we produce:
International Music Missions
We build, enlist or combine worship teams, vocal ensembles, choirs, bands or orchestras and send them to share worship and sacred music (of many styles) with people in Central Europe and other parts of the world. We provide training and conduct rehearsals to prepare a meaningful music program. We work together with our overseas partners to set an itinerary for public performances using the events as opportunities for team members to share their testimonies and present the gospel. We also build in time for touring historical and natural wonders and spend time together in fellowship and prayer. See a video example here:
International Music Tours
We invite excellent music groups (choirs, orchestras, bands – usually students) to visit the American continent. We set up tours in one or more U.S. states (or Canada) and present their art interacting with church music groups and worship teams. We house them with local Christian families whom we train to share Christ with their visitors. We teach the participants the Word of God and hold baptism services for those who put their trust in Christ. We also work with American music groups and set up tours for them in Central Europe providing a full itinerary, performance schedule, tours of historical sites and spiritual guidance. See a video example here:
One of the ways we follow up with our new converts (European or American) is through summer church internships. We find Christian family housing for them and work out a plan to integrate them into the ministries of the church. We mentor them through a regular Bible study, worship and leadership training. Over the years, a number of our European converts become Christian mentors or teachers, ministry workers and even foreign missionaries while also serving as long-term partners in our ministry.
As a resource...
Worship and Ministry Conferences
We organize training conferences custom suited for participating ministries (including a full weekend event). We recruit the teaching faculty working with nationally recognized as well as local worship leaders and pastors, create a plan including topical workshops, keynotes, panel discussions, music and vocal training and joint worship services (usually open to the public). We partner with churches and organizations to provide facilities and meals and to share in marketing the event.
Seasonal and Community Worship Services
We facilitate “special occasion” community worship services such as Good Friday, Passover Seder, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve as well as Concerts of Prayer or patriotic gatherings. We enlist and combine local worship teams, choirs, and ensembles (at times featuring our visiting international groups) to produce a powerful worship experience for the community. We work with leaders to coordinate the worship and music repertoire. We love to feature the event in multiple locations often blessing churches who don’t have the resources or vision to produce and experience a cross-cultural multilevel worship event.
See a video example here:
A personal ministry of Pastor Michael Šust utilizing his experience and skills in teaching and communication. The aim is to highlight the various perspectives debated within the news media (including any controversial or political topics) and then present a “vertical” perspective from God’s Word. The goal is to reintroduce the viewers to the biblical values our country was built on and assert a Christian perspective on cultural issues seldom or no longer presented in the church, but pivotal to preserving the fast-eroding Judeo-Christian foundation. You can sign up for Pastor Michael's email list here to receive his "Vertical Perspectives" at least once a week. We hope to develop this ministry into a regular video podcast soon.
We network and partner with churches and organizations to meet specific needs by providing high quality ministry work including teaching, worship, outreach, evangelism, missions, ministry events, training, church and leadership transitions, and other professional services as God gives us the opportunity. As a resource, we use our gifts and skills to serve others participating in their events to fulfill their God-given vision and calling.
Bible Preaching and Teaching
Pastor Michael Šust is able to fill the pulpit at your church on Sunday morning, step in as an interim teaching pastor, prepare a series for mid-week services or otherwise share the many years of experience as a teaching pastor. Through the Vertical Fellowship network, we are also able to recommend other credible Bible teachers if Pastor Michael is unavailable.
For video examples, check out the Vertical Fellowship YouTube Channel here.
Event Speaker Ministry
You can invite Pastor Michael, his wife Colleen, or both of them as a team to speak at your special event. They are able to address a variety of topics, including marriage, family life, addiction and crisis support. Pastor Michael has a powerful testimony of conversion to Christ while escaping from behind the Iron Curtain after a time of communist imprisonment. The Šusts have an amazing story of how God brought them together as a couple from their first-date engagement, through the years of parenting, maternity home season, multiple church plants, all the way to their current roles as Kingdom workers and grandparents. They are experienced biblical counselors and delight in sharing with couples or parents in retreats, events and classrooms. – Through the Vertical Fellowship network, we are also able to recommend other credible event speakers.
See Pastor Michael’s personal testimony here:
Worship Leading (individual or team)
Vertical Fellowship can provide a worship leader or worship team for your weekend church services, mid-week gatherings or special events. We are experienced, trained and able to accommodate a variety of styles from the latest contemporary Christian songs, to gospel music or traditional hymns. You can invite the Sust family to lead worship for you or work with your existing team. Beyond that, we can also connect you with other high quality worship leaders.
See samples of the Šust Family leading worship here:
The Šust Family Singers are a well-established group with a rich repertoire they have presented on many local, national, and international platforms. What a great family ministry: the parents trained their daughters to become exceptional vocalists and now they all sing together. You can invite the Sust Family Singers to bless your church or community for special music at your event, church service or perform a full evening concert – anything from opera arias, Broadway favorites, song literature to custom arranged ensembles. We also have a network of vocalists that work with us – so whether you need a tenor or alto, we can help.
For video examples, please search YouTube for “Šust Family Singers” or watch the samples below.
Vocal Clinics and Workshops
Pastor Michael continues to use the skills acquired in his original profession of a voice teacher and vocal coach. He taught singers consistently since his conservatory training years, spent seven years as an adjunct faculty at a university and presented many vocal masterclasses, vocal clinics and choir workshops at schools, churches and public settings across the U.S. and internationally. He developed an instructional publication called “Seven Basic Lessons in the Art of Singing,” which you can obtain free for all participants if you bring Pastor Michael to teach a masterclass or vocal workshop in your area.
To book a vocal class or workshop, please email a request to Michael@WeGoVertical.org.
Worship Team Equipping
Vertical Fellowship centers around ministries that bring worship of our God. Beyond the musical and leadership parts, we firmly believe in the prophetic significance of worship both in church (or home) and as a tool of evangelism. We love to share our knowledge, training and experience with worship leaders and teams through practical training (use of musical skills), spiritual equipping (purpose and philosophy of worship) as well as team development (planning, scheduling and systemic approach). All instruction, classes and workshops are based on sound biblical teaching – not on entertaining techniques or popular trends.
See a video sample of worship training here:
A vital part of our calling at Vertical Fellowship is connecting believers and non-believers for the sake of the gospel. We delight in equipping believers for evangelistic ministry realizing that while some may be more gifted than others, presenting the gospel verbally is a biblical mandate for all Christians (Acts 1:8, Mat. 28:18-20). We conduct outreach classes and evangelism workshops and include practical applications in the field creating opportunities for the participants to test their skills, grow in boldness and celebrate the results.
Pastor Michael & Colleen have planted or assisted in planting of several churches. They coached a number of young pastors and their wives as well as other church staff members preparing them for unique and uneasy task of planting a new church. Pastor Michael served as a Board member of the Chicago-based Vertical Church Network, a coaching pastor for Vertical Church Europe and a charter member of the Highpoint Send Network established in 2019. In addition to practical training and equipping (through speaking engagements), we offer a variety of written materials, systemic tools, vision guidance checklists, step-by-step worksheets and other tools specific to church planting ministry as well as weekly or monthly coaching calls or personal meetings.
Spiritual and Church Leadership Training
We provide a variety of training for pastors, church staff and lay leaders including pastors & wives retreats, elders or deacons training, church culture and staff relationships as well as men’s, women’s and youth ministry topics. We offer a variety of biblical leadership topics to choose from or can prepare a custom designed teaching based on current needs or specific vision. We believe in facilitating spiritual growth through employing biblical principles for conflict resolution. We are able and equipped to navigate the groups through healthy discussions in times of crisis or transitions.
Marriage Retreats and Workshops
As mentioned in the Event Speaker Ministry section, Pastor Michael and Colleen are trained biblical counselors and have years of experience leading pre-marital and marriage classes, speaking in retreats and participating in family conferences. At Vertical Fellowship we believe that strong and functional families are the foundation of both the church community and the society. We teach and impart family values based on biblical oneness in marriage and underline the scriptural mandates of “distinct in function – equal in value – united in purpose” principles for men and women. We unapologetically endorse the biblical model of a godly marriage between one man and one woman that reflects the relationship between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32).