Wow, what a year! 2015 will forever be a monumental year in our church’s history. We have experienced so many wins together; from building an extraordinary team of servant leaders to help with the launch of VOUS Church, to the release of our Pastor’s first book. To celebrate these wins and more we’ve made a list of our favorite 15 moments of 2015. Which moment was your favorite? Vote below!
Favorite 15 Moments of 2015
(in no particular order)
1. O’ Night Divine
Dressed in our holiday best and gathered under the balconies of the beautiful Manuel Artime Theater we sang— oh, how we sang! The lights, the atmosphere, it was like a scene out of The Great Gatsby— but more Christmassy.
2. First Baptism
We’ll never forget the first time we had a baptism service. When over 80 people decided to publicly declare their commitment to follow Jesus we threw a party like you wouldn’t believe. Then the heavens opened up and rained down on us— like, literally. So we did what anyone in this situation would do, DANCE PARTY!
3. Breakdancing in the Courtyard
Being overwhelmed with excitement from our first water baptism, naturally we did what anyone would do in such a moment – we turnt up. Two of our breakdancing friends led the charge by spontaneously breaking into a classic dance battle. As the skies cracked and it began to rain, the moment was immortalized in our memories.
4. Official Launch Date – September 13th
Seeing our church form and take shape will always be remarkable, but few moments will be as special as the first. From the moment we opened our doors to our last goodnight, the heartbeat of Launch Day set the tone for every Sunday to come. There’s something special about beginnings, and this one was spectacular.
5. Launch of Sandcastle Kings
In one of our most collaborative and creative endeavors to date, Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World, the first book written by Pastor Rich Wilkerson, Jr. was released into the wild. On November 10th, with cover art by Kanye West, and a couple of trailer videos by the VOUS Church creative team, Rich and the book took to the road where they were welcomed to appear on some of the most well-known media platforms around the nation. After many interviews and several very entertaining Snapchats, it was obvious this book was accomplishing its purpose: to reach people in places that are far from us, but close to the heart of God.
6. Jentezen Franklin’s Surprise Visit
Pastors need encouragement too—especially in the midst of launching a brand new church. There are so many challenges that come up behind the scenes that sometimes go unnoticed, that it makes a big impact to show your support and care. This is why it was so special when friend of the house, Jentezen Franklin, surprised us when he showed up unannounced simply to pray for and encourage our Pastors, as well as the future of VOUS Church. It was truly a special moment.
7. Heart and Soul Night
Heart and Soul was a special night for our church that recapped many of our church’s monumental moments in 2015. Pastors Rich and Dawncheré cast the vision for our future, equipped leaders with a powerful word on Leadership, and celebrated the wins together with a little help from our boy Santa Claus.
8. Ratchet Santa & His Lil’ Helper
Everyone knows that Santa likes to make various appearances around Christmas— it’s good marketing for the North Pole. What we didn’t realize, was that when Santa comes to Miami, he really picks up on the culture. We’ll never forget the most ratchet performance from Santa and his lil’ elf friend that we’ve ever seen.
9. Manny as Prince at VOUS Conference
Ever had a moment that made all the sense in the world and none at all— both at the same time? This was the situation when one of our worship leaders, Emmanuel Hernandez, caused a scene being carried down the aisles towards the stage at the Fillmore Theater, dressed in purple from head to toe in the most awkwardly amazing parody performance of the artist formerly known as Prince— ever.
10. 1st Guests of the House – Robert Madu and Chris Durso Pay a Visit
When two of your best friends are in town, you want to share moments with them. When those two friends are Robert Madu and Chris Durso, both anointed and powerfully gifted speakers, you do what we did: Sunday Double Header. Get yourself a podcast subscription, you’re going to need to put these on your playlist.
11. First Gathering at Jose De Diego: Guest Carl Lentz
When we announced our first gathering at our new venue during VOUS Conference 2015 we were pumped to say the least. Add to that the excitement of having Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz on deck to preach, and you’ve got yourself an all out near riot. For those who attended or served, this day was mostly a blur. But standing in the aftermath we all knew that something very special had taken place and was starting to take shape.
12. Launch of Rich In Faith
A reality show— about church? Most people would scoff, walk away, or lol at the thought of it. Our pastors, however, saw an opportunity to bring light into dark places while encouraging people and making them laugh a bit too. December came, and Rich In Faith was launched on the Oxygen network. The show gives viewers a glimpse into the birth of VOUS Church as well as the lives and hearts of Pastors Rich and Dawncheré— all while sharing a message of hope with the world.
13. First Graduating Class of Growth Track
The best part about seeing people come to know Jesus this year? Seeing them take another step of faith and join our Growth Track classes! Growth Track exists to help people get plugged in and take the next step in their walk with God. This semester was extra special as we celebrated with our first few rounds of graduates. Thrilled is an understatement.
14. I Love My City – Wrapping 1,000 Toys
We have had an absolute ball this year serving our city and we were especially excited to do so during the holiday season! A team of over 200 of our selfless servant leaders met early on a Saturday morning, teaming up to wrap 1,000 gifts for children in need. Those children, including some of our very own VOUS Kids, were given gifts to place under their tree this year. The best part of I Love My City this Christmas? Experiencing God fill our hearts as we filled the hearts of those around us.
15. Night of Record Attendance at Crews
Watching our crews grow this year has been remarkable! We have learned, laughed, and done life with friends who have quickly become family. We have watched our church strengthen from the inside out, and celebrated as servant leaders stepped out to lead their own Crews. All of this and more made it a true moment to celebrate when we recorded our highest attendance of Crews late this semester. Healthy things grow, and when we make room for more God provides the increase.
Vote for your favorite moment!
Tell us which VOUS Church moment was your favorite in 2015. Got a favorite moment that wasn’t listed? Tell us about it in the comments!
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