The Church We Are Becoming
Ed Russo, along with his wife Janis, were used by God to launch a new church in Wesley Chapel, FL nearly 30 years ago. On April 19th, 1987, Victorious Life Church held it’s first public worship service in a little storefront with a handful of people. Today, nearly 30 years later, their four congregations in the US in the Tampa area average 2700 people in total attendance. Along with this, they have 12 International campuses divided among the nations of: Cuba, Haiti, Peru, EL Salvador, Honduras, and Columbia. From the very beginning, Victorious Life Church has been a mission-minded congregation that consistently thinks beyond the four walls. Three of the foundational values that have guided the ministry are unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness, which has enabled the church to be both multi-ethnic and multi-generational. An unspoken strength of this ministry is their willingness to embrace change in order to move forward and grow. The document entitled “The Church We Are Becoming” gives a clear explanation of the changes that are occurring and will occur because Victorious Life is a church that has changed and is changing still.
The church we are becoming is one where both the churched and the un-churched feel welcome when they drive onto our campus, come through our doors, and leave feeling refreshed, encouraged and empowered.
We are becoming a church where hurting and broken people are brought to a sense of wholeness and restoration through unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness. We’re becoming a people so compassionate that others are drawn from difficult situations into our environment of renewed hope.
The church we are becoming is much like a family: one house with many rooms, walking out a unified vision through each of our extension campuses in various languages and countries. We are becoming a church apostolic in calling, visionary in nature and evangelistic at heart, one that is committed to boldly impacting multitudes for Christ throughout our region and the world.
We are becoming a church that is growing large enough in size and influence that the community cannot ignore it and the buildings struggle to contain it…one that refuses to settle for the successes of the past but is constantly enlarging vision for the future.
The church we are becoming is a church that is large enough to dream big dreams—dreams that impact regions yet allow for each person to belong and serve, one with open arms and hearts that say WELCOME HOME to every person who walks through our doors.
We are becoming a church that encourages people to develop their creative uniqueness as they pursue their purpose and potential in God. The church we’re becoming is constantly innovative in its expressions of ministry and its communication of the timeless message of God’s love for a broken humanity. We seek to bring this message through music, technology and personal relationships, as we seek to influence every segment of society.
We are becoming a church that raises, equips, empowers and releases young anointed leaders into their workplaces, their schools, and their communities, in order to fulfill their God-ordained purpose and destiny. The church we are becoming has members who serve God in all walks of life, released to salt the earth, as they become Jesus with skin on to people on the roadside of life. We are a church so committed to this heart that all of its ministries are consumed with this goal.
The church we are becoming is one that is so driven by the compassion of Christ that we look for creative and unique ways to reach the under-resourced and to serve the under-served both in the church and in the community.
We are becoming a church where people are consistently responding to the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God found in a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ; yes, we’re becoming a church so dependent on the Holy Spirit that it is constantly seeking to create an environment of worship that is both authentic and anointed.
The church we are becoming is one that is committed to seeing God’s will be done on the Earth and His Kingdom established among us, a church that is so committed to seeing revival sweep this region that it will relentlessly pursue God with passion.
We are becoming the church described by Paul, one whose “work is produced by faith, labor is prompted by love, and endurance is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (my emphasis)
The church we are becoming is one whose head is Jesus Christ, whose help is the Holy Spirit, whose hope is founded upon the Word of God, and whose heart is focused upon the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
We are a church that is changed and changing still, a church that is focused on where we’re going rather than where we’ve been. We’re a church that is moving past who we were and charging ahead towards who we are becoming.