Leadership

Get to know a little more about our staff, elders, deacons, and ministry leaders

Lead Pastor and Elder

Luke Ahrens

How I came into relationship with Jesus Christ
My mother shared the Gospel with me when I was four, and gave my life to Christ. During my early teenage years, I began to see God do a work of grace in my heart, and my walk with Christ deepened significantly.

How I came to Vertical Church
I first began attending Harvest when I entered seminary in 2003. Then after finishing seminary and serving on staff at Harvest in Chicago for a few years, Jensine and I moved to Columbus to plant Vertical Church Columbus.

What I do at Vertical Church
I serve as the Senior Pastor and as an Elder.

Why I do what I do
I want to see people encounter and be changed by the Living God!

At Vertical Church since 2010
On staff since 2010

Luke Ahrens

Luke Ahrens

Lead Pastor and Elder

Luke recieved a bachelor of Theology from Columbia Evangelical Seminary and a Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Seminary. Luke has been married to Jensine since 2001 and they have 4 children.

You can also hear Pastor Luke on the Meeting With God Radio Ministry.

Aaron Roberts

Aaron Roberts

Director of Worship and Student Ministries

Aaron is currently pursuing an education in theology to apply to his ministry at Vertical. He has been married to his wife, Alex, since 2014, and they have a sweet dog, Rose.

Director of Worship and Student Ministries

Aaron Roberts

How I came into relationship with Jesus Christ
I was blessed to be raised by parents who love the Lord, and they taught me the truth about Jesus from a very young age.  While I was in college at OSU in 2012, through the ministries of Campus Crusade for Christ, God opened my eyes to how awesome He is and I dedicated my life to Him.

How I came to Vertical Church
My wife and I were invited through a friend of ours who had the opportunity to get church planting experience at Vertical.  We loved it so much we decided to make it our church home!

What I do at Vertical Church
I work on planning for Student Ministries gatherings, both on a weekly basis and special events. I also plan worship sets, coordinate volunteers, and lead worship on Sunday mornings.

Why I do what I do
I am passionate about serving our students and congregation for the Kingdom of God, and love seeing God do awesome work in people’s lives through these ministries!

At Vertical Church since 2016
On staff since 2019
Favorite verse Romans 1:16

Adminsitrative Assistant

Claire Bauer

How I came into relationship with Jesus Christ
In 2006, I went to college searching to resolve the dissonance I felt regarding my questions of God and faith. My God’s grace, I was invited to a Bible study through Campus Crusade for Christ in my dorm. Throughout the course of the year, I read the bible and my eyes were opened to the truth that I needed a savior and could not produce any righteousness in my self. In April of that year, I put my faith in Christ alone and began walking with him daily.

How I came to Vertical Church
After graduating college I was looking for a church home in Columbus, and my close friends invited me to check out this church. 

What I do at Vertical Church
I am the Administrative Assistant here at Vertical Church, helping Pastor Luke with Assimilation, planning events and other Administrative things for the church. My husband and I also lead a small group together and serve our 1-3rd graders in the Children’s Ministry.

Why I do what I do
I love being a part of reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and watching lives be transformed by His goodness and grace. It is a privilege to get to be a part of serving Christ at Vertical Church by working on behind the scenes things to give Him glory and make the Gospel increasingly accessible to those in Columbus.

At Vertical Church since Spring 2011
On staff since 2019
Favorite verse Hebrews 1:3

Claire Bauer

Claire Bauer

Administrative Assistant

Claire is also involved with outreach on the Ohio University campus. She is married to John and they have two children.

Brandon Haynes

Brandon Haynes

Pastoral Intern

Brandon is pursusing his bachelors in Worship Ministry at Cedarville University. He has been married to Connor since 2017.

Pastoral Intern

Brandon Haynes

How I came into relationship with Jesus Christ
I had the blessing of being raised in a family of believers and thus was exposed to the gospel plainly at a young age. One night when I was 8 years old, I began to understand the weight of my sin and my desperate need for grace and a Savior. My mom led me to the Lord that evening and I received His gift of grace and invited Him to be Lord of my life.

How I came to Vertical Church
I was invited by a dear friend to come and visit. My wife and I were quickly welcomed in to the community. We loved the church’s commitment to preach the Word of God and the vibrant and caring community that exists at Vertical Church.

What I do at Vertical Church
I have the privilege of working as a Pastoral Intern and wear many hats. I serve as the music director of our worship ministry and also serve in our student ministry.

Why I do what I do
In John 13:14-15, Jesus calls us to serve and love others because he has first served and loved us. I love the people in this church and it’s a privilege to get to serve here at Vertical.

At Vertical Church since September 2016
On staff since July 2017
Favorite verse 1 Peter 1:3

Elder

Chad Helmick

How I came into relationship with Jesus Christ 

My mom lead me to the Lord at 10, as I understood that I was a sinner and I needed Jesus to save me.  It was later though, on a Student Ministry trip at 15, that I recognized that really believing in Jesus would change my life, and I truly accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord. Since then I’ve been on a long stumbling path of growth as God’s grace continually overcomes my own ego and self-sufficiency.   

How I came to Vertical Church 

I went through a long period of growth and was incredibly blessed at Shawnee Hills Baptist Church in Jamestown, Ohio, but it was over an hour’s drive for my family.  As I matured, I became increasingly convicted that I needed to be more actively involved in the church community and service, so we sought to move to a more local church.  God lead my wife, Kristin, to learn about Vertical Church Columbus through some fellow homeschool moms, and after a few weeks of exploring we were hooked.  The vibrancy of the community, the depth and honesty of the messages, and the sincerity of the worship stood out to us. 

What I do at Vertical Church 

In addition to being an Elder, I work in Student Ministries with the high school men and attend an early morning Men’s small group.  Before I transitioned to Student Ministries, my wife and I worked with the K-2nd graders. 

Why I do what I do 

I really appreciate how much Vertical Church has poured into my life, and I believe that God has called us all to use our strengths to serve each other.  I particularly enjoy the privilege of working with our youth group because it’s such a critical time in their lives, as it was in mine.  Plus, they just have a lot of fun.  

At Vertical Church since Fall 2012

Favorite verse Micah 6:8

Chad Helmick

Chad Helmick

Elder

Chad works as in-house council for OhioHealth. He is married to Kristin and they have 4 children.

Darron McGuire

Darron McGuire

Elder

Darron works as a banker. He is married to Karin and they have two children.

Elder

Darron McGuire

How I came into a relationship with Jesus Christ

At age 5 I heard a compelling hellfire and brimstone sermon and knew I did not go to hell. I went forward at the alter call and accepted Christ. Unfortunately, I never understood a personal relationship with Jesus until 2008. Ever since I have enjoyed a personal relationship with Christ and am never disappointed. He is always faithful.

How I came to Vertical Church

I was attending another church and heard a pastor on the radio. In his message he asked, “When is it time to quit your church?” The answer was when the Holy Spirit quits showing up. Then we looked up Vertical Church. When we visited, the Holy Spirit showed up and we have been coming here ever since.

What I do at Vertical Church

I am a greeter, serve on the finance committee, am a leader of a men’s small group, and I am an Elder.

Why I do what I do

I enjoy serving and seeing lives changed and see others growing in a relationship with the Living God.

At Vertical Church since Fall 2012

Elder since Spring 2017

Favorite Verses Romans 8:28, Job 23:10

John Buk

John Buk

Deacon - Ushers

Mark Knore

Mark Knore

Deacon - Set-up and Tear-down

Ron Townsend

Ron Townsend

Deacon - Finance

Travis Vulich

Travis Vulich

Deacon - Finance

Amber Bernal

Amber Bernal

Coffee Cart

Tom Heyl

Tom Heyl

Communications Team

Kristen Martin

Kristen Martin

Outreach Coordinator

Rick Ross

Rick Ross

Security Team

Susie Ross

Susie Ross

Children's Ministry

Joel and Emily Swaney

Joel and Emily Swaney

Greeting Team

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