Embracing New Beginnings
This week marks the first time in the over 40 years that a school year has begun without classes being held at Pilgrim Lutheran or Lutheran High School. While on the surface that might seem to imply that something is missing, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that it actually means something quite different. In the fall of 2015, these two ministries along with Church of Joy voted to become a single ministry. That ministry is now known as Victory Church and Christian Academy. Reinvigorated and excited to begin something new, Victory begins its “inaugural” school year with a renewed sense of purpose. “It is amazing to think how far we have come in the last 18 months,” said Executive Director Scott Dufresne. “We had a vision and, while some of it wasn’t in the plan God set for us, so much of it has become a reality. The first thing that comes to my mind is how our students have responded to the merger of our schools and churches in the new Victory family.”
That very idea of family and community is something that is felt at every turn within Victory; especially on the days that are less than perfect. Like Grade School Principal Bonnie Sanchez explains, it is reassuring to know that even in the chaos of everyday life, at least we are in it together. “I know that around my house, things didn’t go as smoothly as I had planned,” said Mrs. Sanchez as she explained her family’s first morning back after the summer. “We had to do a load of laundry last minute, we couldn’t find a shoe, I had to remind everyone three times to brush their teeth and comb their hair. It can be difficult to get everyone out of the door looking and feeling ready to take on the world. The great news is that we are all in this together and in this family that we call Victory, we are all imperfect, made perfect only by the love of Christ!”
Like Mrs. Sanchez and Mr. Dufresne both aptly point out, things don’t always go according to our plan. But it’s important to remember that our plan isn’t the one we should be focused on. There is always a bigger picture, and at Victory, striving to understand that picture is what we continue to pursue as the ministry continues to grow. The more we focus on our plans and what we think is right, the less we focus on God’s plan and what he calls us to be. As we begin this pivotal year at Victory, it is as important now as it has ever been to remember to focus on God’s plan in our ministry, as one community, as one family.
“It is amazing to think how far we have come in the last 18 months. We had a vision and, while some of it wasn’t in the plan God set for us, so much of it has become a reality.”
How we got here
As Victory get’s ready to embark on this new journey as a refreshed community, it is important to remember why Victory came to be in the first place. In a recent letter to the supporters of Victory, both Executive Director Dufresne and Pastor Tim Gerdes explained one of the biggest reasons that Victory is here in its current form today. “As leaders of all three ministries [Church of Joy, Pilgrim and LHSSD] gathered to discuss cooperation and partnership, something amazing developed within those conversations. Simply put, all three ministries were searching for an identity in the City of Chula Vista.” The letter went on to explain why this need for an identity is so important in the Chula Vista community. “We asked ourselves, what does God want from us? Perhaps the more appropriate question should be what does He want for other people? He wants people who are deeply committed to the faith and willing to GO. He wants to make an impact in this community.”
Victory is already working hard to make that impact in the community as construction on a new 8.5-acre campus is scheduled to start soon. The new facility will be built in the space that currently occupies what is referred to as ‘Victory East’ and once complete, will house the entire Victory ministry within a state-of-the-art facility that includes a new multi-use athletic field, gymnasium and classroom facilities as well as much, much more.
“What does He want for other people? He wants people who are deeply committed to the faith and willing to GO. He wants to make an impact in this community.”
While the excitement continues to build around what the Victory facilities will soon become, amazing things continue to happen within the walls of the existing Victory facilities as well. Over the summer, Victory was ranked as the top Christian high school in all of the South Bay. It was also announced that SDSU Hall of Famer DJ Gay would be taking on the role of Head Basketball Coach. Needless to say, both of these things have created a near palpable buzz within the student body. Perhaps the most exciting part of the new school year, however, is how the student body has reacted to the transition to becoming Victory. “They have embraced the new name and culture, it is thrilling to see,” Mr. Dufresne explained. “As we embark on this new school year, I am excited to see what God will do about our mission and vision at Victory. Hold on, it is going to be a great ride!”
What to expect in the coming year
Though the excitement surrounding all of the new things happening at Victory understandably continues to grow, change does bring its own set of challenges. Pastor Tim Gerdes explains some of these challenges in his own words. “While visiting my parents in December 2016, my dad’s best friend asked me, “How is church going?” I rambled on for a while about great mission potential, different challenges we were facing both externally in internally, lots of meetings, difficulties with people just being people (it was easy to complain about people complaining), and the very real “Valley of Chaos.” At one point, he stopped me and commented, “Not once have you said the word “fun.” Naturally, this kind of realization is enough to give one pause. “That jolted me and brought me back to my senses,” explained Pastor Tim. “In all of this, God was clearly calling. In Victory, we have a group of people risking so much to come together, looking for hope found only in Jesus, looking for Him to bring new life while respectfully allowing the old to pass, and courageously following the leading of His Spirit.”
While it’s easy (and justified) to be excited about what is yet to come, it is important to remember that there is work yet to be done. Victory will continue to look for growth in many places. Whether it’s growing the size of our student body and congregation or growing our internal connections with one another, the goal remains to never stop growing. The ministry will continue to look to its members for a better understanding of what it is they look for in their chosen place of education and worship. Additionally, efforts will be made to understand what it is the South Bay community needs from Victory. While there are still questions to be answered, one thing is certain, those answers will not come from within, but from above.
“In all of this, God was clearly calling. In Victory, we have a group of people risking so much to come together, looking for hope found only in Jesus.”
More than anything else, what you can expect this year is a ministry that is focused on the direction that is provided by attentively listening to and following God’s direction. We will strive to become the beacon of hope in this community that God has called us to be. We will continue to be a leader in Christian education and athletics. We will continue to pursue growth in all phases of our ministry. And most of all, we will continue to be a family that is always looking for new members.
How to get in touch with Victory
Victory has made it easier than ever to contact us. Email inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. From the website, you can visit our Contact page. You can always call our office at (619) 262-4444 or stop by one of our campuses as well. If you are interested in scheduling a tour to come see what Victory is all about, just use the calendar form below and pick the day and time that works best for you.