Meet Our sTaff and Elders

Luke Ahrens Senior Pastor and Elder

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
Graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School: Master of Divinity
and Columbia Evangelical Seminary: Bachelor of Theology
Favorite verse Romans 1:16
Married to Jensine since 2001
Children Isaiah, Elijah, Micah, and Tirzah

Brandon Haynes  Pastoral Intern

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
Married to Connor since 2017

Claire Bauer  Administrative Assistant

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
Married to John Bauer

Children two sweet little guys, JJ and Everett

Chad Helmick – Elder

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 Occupation   In-house counsel for OhioHealth Corporation Favorite verse Micah 6:8 Married to Kristin Helmick Children I have 4 kids:  Alyssa, Braeden, Kassidy, and Tanner Fun fact to know I won Pastor Luke’s fantasy football league this year, which is a very silly thing to be proud of.  
Elder Chad Helmick

Daron McGuire – Elder

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

Married to Karin McGuire

Children Samantha “Sam” and Sawyer

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