One of our favorite new dads at VOUS, Jeff Grosser, shines as a member of the Welcome Team. He can be found in Little Havana on Mondays leading a VOUS Crew with his wife, Michelle.
What has God done in your life through finding this community?
God has changed my heart. He has taken away the bitterness. My disposition is sunnier and the lens I look the world through is different.
What situation were you in before you found this community?
Early in life, when I was 3, my parents got divorced. My dad was one of those hungry 1980s Chicago businessmen. He told me, “I never want to be poor. Because when you have money, you have choices.” He was very driven and good at what he did. An owner and CEO of a company, he’s been to every country he’s ever wanted to visit, but he missed a lot of my childhood doing that.
My dad wanted me to be like him, but I wasn’t like him. He didn’t understand that I was just a different guy. I think our differences led us to being estranged for a few years.
Then, I ended up in an issue gambling in sports. It was the Super Bowl. Seahawks v. Steelers. To me it was the biggest slam dunk in gambling. Seattle was going to destroy Pittsburgh, undoubtedly.
Pittsburgh squeaked into the playoffs and had a rookie quarterback. Seattle had the MVP running back. There was so much to like and the point spread was favorable. So, I put $10,000 on the Seahawks to win.
As I watched the game, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Seattle scored a touchdown, but the officials called offensive pass interference and called the touchdown back. Pittsburgh won the game. I lost the bet. I owe my bookie $10,000.
I called my dad to see if he could help me, but he didn’t return my call. Tough love, I guess. But if your dad doesn’t answer your call, then you need to find your heavenly dad.
I laid in bed, staring at the rafters on that cold, February night and prayed. Prayed that God would save me, change my situation, change everything. I prayed specifically and intently all night, and I wept.
Eventually, I talked to my sister, who was living in Milwaukee. She said, “Why don’t you stay with me? Stay on my couch until you get a place.” So I did. I remember looking at the rearview mirror, seeing the Chicago skyline and while I felt empty and broken, I knew I was going to something better.
While in Milwaukee, I told myself, “Okay, I need to build a life step by step. I need to get a job. I need to get an apartment.” I was living my own Rocky Balboa training scene. I meant business.
I found a church community there and put God in first place, and all these things started to happen that turned my life around.
Then my sister’s wedding came, and of course, who was going to be there? My dad. But through that weekend, we started to have a relationship again. We talked about a lot of the things that set us apart and we caught up.
My dad saw some change in me. We rebuilt our relationship to the point where I asked my dad to be best man at my own wedding.
What was one memorable moment at VOUS?
One of the things that changed in my life since coming to VOUS Church was with the birth of my child. The amount of love that my wife, Michelle, my daughter and I have experienced is amazing. We had people sending food to our home, visiting us in the hospital, high-fiving us, texting us, praying for us all throughout the pregnancy for a healthy baby.
I remember my friend at Crew calling me dad before Michelle was pregnant because he was putting the vision out there. All these people who have young children in our church, we’re all doing this journey together. I used to feel so alone, but now I know I’m not alone.
When I say ‘VOUS Church,’ what comes to mind?
I think God is love and this is a community of love that’s focused on Jesus. VOUS is a community where Jesus is the focal point and we walk in faith together. People here are so engaging and welcoming, regardless of their careers or backgrounds.
I feel an incredible warmth that is sincere. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful community. I love the transparency and nonjudgmental aspects of our church. I feel like I can be free with who I am.
What has been your experience at a VOUS Crew?
VOUS continues to surprise me. Five years ago, if someone would have told me I would be leading a small church group with my wife in Little Havana, I wouldn’t have believed it.
God is taking me places where I’m counseling, helping and pastoring people, whether through text, phone conversations, or at Crew. People have started coming to me with things, understanding they can lean on me. That’s been rewarding as the focus is less on me and is about building other people up.
Life is just much more special when you are being with people through tough times and celebrating with people and lifting them up through the good times.
Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your story and and gifts with us. We’re excited to see what God will continue to do in your life.