Our Story

The foundations of Vertical Fellowship go back to a Christian international worship ministry called the Czech Symphony Project (CSP). On September 29, 2006 at the CSP annual banquet, Pastor Michael Sust presented his vision for expanding the ministry in a message from Mark 4:35, “Let us go over to the other side…” At the time, no one knew what the ministry expansion would look like. Many people expressed their desire to follow Michael’s leadership. Some suggested church planting.

The same weekend Pastor Michael and his wife, Colleen, attended the “Straight Up Conference” in Chicago. Through the work of the Spirit, they were approached by Harvest Bible Fellowship leaders and challenged to plant a new church in St Louis.

On October 10, 2006, the Susts met with sixteen believers (many previously involved in the CSP) to pray and discuss the unsolicited challenge. They formed a church planting Core Group which eventually grew to about 40 people. On December 5, 2006, the Harvest Bible Fellowship leaders came from Chicago to discuss our future partnership and we “officially” became a part of Harvest Bible Fellowship.

The new church launched on Sunday, August 19, 2007 as Harvest Bible Chapel St. Louis West at Northwest Middle School on Ladue Road. Over 300 people attended! The launch season was not without a challenge. The school was not happy about our boldness and public sharing of God’s Word. After only two months, we moved to the Doubletree Hotel in Chesterfield which became our Sunday morning home for the next four years.

In August of 2011, an unsolicited opportunity emerged to lease a foreclosed church building in Chesterfield about 7 minutes from the hotel. We worshipped at this location for one year as the church continued to grow. Through a series of miraculous events, the Lord prepared for us another larger facility located less than half a mile up the road, which is our current home at 17795 Wild Horse Creek Road.

In 2017, after planting over 200 churches, the Harvest Bible Fellowship suddenly collapsed. Several new church planting networks emerged from it. We became members of the newly established Highpoint Send Network under the umbrella of the North American Mission Board. During this new season, while building on the strong biblical foundation of the past, the Lord gave us a new vision unique to our current local community, “to proclaim what we have seen and heard that others may have fellowship with us. And indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).

On March 29, 2020, after much prayer and months of hard work in preparation, we relaunched our church as Vertical Fellowship. We continue to make disciples who Gather, Grow and Go. Praise God for His faithfulness and favor!