The mission of VOUS Church is to bring people who are far from God close to him.
The beauty of a mission statement is that it clarifies what you are aiming to do. What it doesn’t tell you is how to accomplish that goal. The how of the mission—that is the challenge church leaders face. How do we reach people who are far from God? What are the steps we lead them through to bring them closer to him? Our answers to these questions are constantly changing to meet the needs of people as our culture and context change. This won’t look the same in every season of church.
Jesus commissioned us to go into the world, proclaim the Gospel, and make disciples. Each part of that Great Commission warrants a lifetime of consideration and effort. For this article, I want to focus on making disciples. A disciple is simply a follower or a student. The process of making disciples is all about leading people into a growing relationship with their teacher. Our church services and events serve as catalysts for a relationship with Jesus, but those things are not enough to develop depth in that relationship. At some point, we have to move beyond a 75-minute corporate experience once a week into a daily rhythm of personal connection with God.
Our systems for developing committed followers of Jesus in our community are Crews and teams. We believe that doing life with a small group of people and sacrificially serving others are the greatest catalysts for growth in the life of a believer. Our system for connecting people to Crews and teams is the Growth Track.
Growth Track is a four-week discipleship class that we offer every Sunday at VOUS. It is built in four steps and designed to work in any order, so people can start and end on any step. (You can jump in on Step 03 and graduate on Step 02 the following month.) Step 01 happens on the first Sunday of the month, every month. We offer Growth Track online and in-person, and all of our classes are led by live facilitators. This series of classes is how we shift people from being spiritual spectators to passionate participators, loving, leading, and serving others.
Here is a breakdown of each of the four steps.
Step 01: Encounter
On week one, we dive deeper into what it means to have an encounter with Jesus. We give participants a snapshot of what the next four weeks will look like and share core tenets of our faith. We answer questions like how do I become a Christian? and what does it mean to have a relationship with God? We encourage people to be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what Jesus did. We challenge them to continue their journey of faith by completing Growth Track and getting connected to a small group.
Step 02: Establish
On week two, we lean into the process of sanctification. What does it mean to become more like Jesus and how do we do it? We share details of our doctrine, story, and core values. We talk about how to share Christ with others and how to participate in the mission and vision of our church. We offer more insight into the heart behind VOUS Crews and Growth Track, and encourage people to seek the unique purpose God has placed within them and the path he is paving before them.
Step 03: Equip
On week three, we get personal. This step is all about helping people discover distinct features of their personality and spiritual gifts. Participants complete the DISC profile—a personal assessment tool designed to help improve teamwork, communication, and productivity—and a spiritual gifts test. They leave with a deeper understanding of themselves, both their unique personality traits and the spiritual gifts God has placed within them.
Step 04: Empower
On week four, we connect what we learned in Step 03 with specific opportunities to exercise those gifts within our community. Our facilitators give participants a breakdown of the teams within each of our church departments, providing an overview of what it looks like to serve on each team. We also highlight particular teams that may need extra support at the time, encouraging people to serve where they are most needed. The bulk of this step consists of new servant leaders meeting with our team leaders and deciding where they want to get plugged in. Each month, our team leaders attend Step 04 to meet new people and grow their teams.
Growth Track is not original to VOUS. We picked up the idea from our friends at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. Over the years, we have adapted their original concept to fit our own unique language and culture. We are constantly evaluating and adjusting our system. We would encourage you to do the same. Take what you like, leave what doesn’t work for you. The goal is not to share a one-size-fits-all system, it’s to resource and inspire you to find what works for the people in your community. How you do it is up to you. But we share a common mission: to bring those who are far from God close to him.