Resurrecting a church in Oro Valley
Victory focuses on acceptance and community
By Theresa Poalucci
Conduct an internet search about the attendance of US citizens going to church and you see article after article talking about the falling attendance of mainline churches. But for Victory Worship Center those articles aren’t ringing true. They are in a season of growth and realize that in order to reach people, they will need to go where they are and not expect everyone to come across town to their single location.
“We knew that campuses were in our future as a Church.” said Pastor Taylor Anderson. “It was our intent to look at locations and take a couple of years to plan for our first launch. Our leadership knew we needed to reach more people with the message of Jesus and Pastor Waylon was building a plan to develop/launch an additional four campuses over the next few years.”
Instead of years, Victory had an opportunity to merge with an existing church called Copper Mountain in the Oro Valley area, and within months launched it as their first church campus. They brought their energetic style of worship with them and now Sunday attendance is up — way up. Their attendance has tripled in just over a year.
“We average about 200 adults and 40 to 60 kids for Sunday services now,” said Taylor, explaining the excitement the team and volunteers have as we reach people in the Oro Valley area.
“I think that there are two explanations for the growth we have experienced. For one thing there is the excitement and energy of being new in the community,” he said. “Then there is our style of church, which is open to all. We want everyone who attends to have an experience with God.”
“We have an amazing worship team and they really knock it out of the park,” he continued.
The Pastor described their style of worship as passionate and vibrant. From the music to the guest services volunteers, to the teachings, our teams contribute to the effort of greeting and welcoming everyone who steps foot on our campus —the goal is to reach as many people as possible with the message of Jesus Christ.
“We don’t care how people vote, or what they look like,” explained Pastor Taylor. “We just want to feel at home and show them the love of Jesus.”
The Victory Worship Center leadership team understands that to keep a church thriving, the parishioners need to feel involved. Not so easy to do when hundreds of them are arriving for Sunday services. So to this end Victory encourages and organizes small group meetings that take place throughout the week so people can get to know one another and the bible in an intimate setting.
Sometimes these groups are about bible study, but they also are about volunteering to provide services to the community.
For example, once a week their Ruthrauff Campus provides meals to people in need, anyone can come. They also operate a free mobile medical clinic a couple of times a week for those who have no health insurance and need assistance.
The church might throw a block party for families to enjoy with rock climbing walls, games and inflatables. And every year around Thanksgiving they give out over 900 complete meals to people who wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving meal without this help.
“Last year we started Servolution, a week-long effort by parishioners to make a difference in the community,” explained Pastor Taylor. “We worked on school buildings and playgrounds, played music and shared at nursing homes, provided gifts of needed equipment to police and fire departments, and much more. It was amazing all of the projects that got done in the community that week with the help of over 300 volunteers.”
Victory Worship Center has been in the Tucson community for over 43 years. According to Taylor the church was started in a home with just a few people attending. In the past 22 years Pastor Zane has led the church and the growth has been steady.
Recently Pastor Zane has shifted his position from “pastoring the people of the church to pastoring the leaders and pastors of churches” according to Pastor Taylor.
Pastor Zane and Jan are now working with leadership and pastoral teams at other churches across the nation and Pastor Waylon and Dana Sears are now at the helm of Victory Worship Center.
Victory Worship Center has 15 Pastors in all, between three campuses, including a Spanish speaking service on the Ruthrauff Campus called Victory Español.
Focusing on the kids
“In Oro Valley we want to reach young families and their kids,” said Pastor Taylor about plans to build a new 5,000+ sq ft kids space. “Right now our kids are packed into our current space so we are planning, in the next couple months, on building a facility to house our children through junior high school with classrooms and auditoriums,” he explained, noting that one of Victory’s core values is about Future Generations.
“On Sunday and Wednesday we have experiences for the kids and we make it fun,” he continued. “All our environments for kids are high energy and we use technology to engage them and teach them about the Bible and serving. Our bible series are strategically planned to include parents and siblings beyond the weekend experience.”
“We have a place for kids with special needs at our church as we don’t like to turn anyone away,” explained Pastor Taylor. “I recently spoke with a father who had tried multiple churches, but he said no one could handle his son. Now he and his son attend regularly at our Oro Valley campus and we are happy to have them.”
Easter at Victory is very much a family affair. Last year the church hosted an Easter egg hunt and between their three campuses they saw over 6,000 people.
This year they plan an even bigger Easter egg hunt all centrally located at the Tucson Premium Outlets in Marana just off I-10. The event is open to the general public and Pastor Taylor says they will have over 200 volunteers on hand from the church to pull off a smooth event.
The public is invited to join in on Saturday, April 15, 2017 between 10am - 1pm as well as their Easter Services at their campus in Oro Valley on Sunday, April 16.
Joining the family (business)
Pastor Taylor has been a part of Victory Worship Center for a long time, as his father Zane Anderson was the Senior Pastor for twenty two years, but Taylor did not become a church leader right after college.
“I fought it at first,” he said. “I went to the University of Arizona and learned to be a photographer as well as built my technology skills. I worked in these fields, married my wife Shilo, and together we have three great kids.”
“I have always kept a journal and I noticed that I started making entries about feeling I was being called to this new season a few years ago. So I talked to my wife, prayed and felt we were ready to pursue a new adventure as a Pastor.”
Pastor Taylor started with Victory by using his technical skills to help the church reach out with production, communications and social media. But with the growth in the congregation he soon found his responsibilities growing. He moved into a Pastoral role a couple years ago and today he leads the Oro Valley campus.
“We really strive to be a place where you can build good friendships and learn the word of God,” concluded Pastor Taylor. “This is an amazing church. It is all about people and serving the community.”
If you go: The Copper Mountain Campus of Victory Worship Center is located at 2350 W Tangerine Road in Oro Valley. Worship services are available at 9:30am and 11:30am Sundays and 6:30pm Wednesdays; there are specific experiences for kids at all of their services. To learn more visit them online at vwcaz.org or their social media outlets @vwcaz and @vwcov.