Building the Culture Guide

Kary Acevedo

May 6, 2021
5 min read

If you’ve been around VOUS at all, you probably know that we take culture seriously. I don’t mean that we like clothes or movies or music. We like those things, but the type of culture we’re serious about is the culture that exists within our community. This type of culture is the way people treat each other. Our goal is to create our culture with intentionality and purpose. We have all grown up subconsciously absorbing social norms that have shaped our relational behavior. Our desire is to bring those subconscious tendencies out into the open, evaluate them, and reshape them.

Our Culture Guide is one of the key resources we use to accomplish this goal. It is certainly the most explicit application of that idea. It doesn’t just subtly suggest a shift, it actively directs us toward a new ideal. Rather than leaving our culture up for interpretation, we spell it out in black and white. We don’t always live up to the values we aspire to, but we are surely better for the effort. Here’s a window into the process of creating and updating our Culture Guide.

The VOUS Culture Guide is now in its third iteration. Our latest guide is the second revision of the original, first released in 2018. Each year, we review and revise the guide and give it a new look. The revision process is organic. As a new idea, phrase, or event emerges, we make a note of it for our upcoming version. Contributors range from our pastors to our staff to our servant leaders. Each year, a small group of staff members is assigned to oversee the process of compiling new concepts and expanding the content. Overall, the updating process is a collaborative effort between our staff departments.

The art direction for our latest guide stemmed from a sermon graphic we created last year. I liked the look and pitched it to one of our designers for the new revision. The aesthetic of the Culture Guide captures the spirit of our church—serious but fun. What we do matters to us a whole lot. We take it seriously. But we strive to make hard work fun. One of our staff values is Celebrate Constantly. We’re always looking for wins to celebrate and opportunities to enjoy a moment together. The design of the Culture Guide reflects that idea. The design itself is bold and colorful. The content is robust and meaningful. It is our hope that we always carry that odd juxtaposition in our core.

The Culture Guide is an ever-evolving resource. Even now, we are looking ahead to next year. Far beyond that, we’re dreaming of the day when our Culture Guide will be much more than a short booklet with a few cultural phrases. It would take much more to capture the vision God has placed in our hearts for what he wants to do in our community. We see a resource in the future that makes today’s guide look like a subset of a section. Yet it’s not the guide that matters, it’s the essence of the community it captures that means so much to us. We hope it inspires you to dig deep and discover the fullness of the unique gifts God has placed within you and the unique destiny he has laid before you.

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