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February 19, 2019

Church Clarity Profile: Vous Church

Sarah Ngu (she/they). Cofounder.

Vous Church, led by Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr., is located in Miami, Florida, where Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber and many others reportedly attend. Wilkerson rose to fame when the media found out that he officiated West’s and Kardashian’s wedding in Florence, Italy. Wilkerson Jr. and his wife, DawnCheré, now have a Reality TV show hosted by Oxygen.

This is the third blogpost in our four-part series covering the policies of Celebrity Churches; we’ve previously covered Hillsong NYC and Zoe Church in LA.

1. LGBTQ Policy

Church Clarity defines policy in this way, from our FAQ:

Beliefs are what churches think. Policies are what churches do. Policies are what churches “actively enforce” in their actions. Does a church permits women to preach? A same-sex wedding to be officiated in its sanctuary? A trans woman to join the women’s retreat? These actions are either, “Yes or No.” There is no in-between.

We currently evaluate churches for how easy it is to find their policies on their websites.

Vous Church’s website does not list its policies -- or beliefs for that matter -- as they pertain to LGBTQ people anywhere on the primary pages of its website.

That said, we did find a sermon, “Love on the Weekend: Let’s Talk About Sex,” by Rich Wilkerson Jr on February 27th, 2017. Listen starting at 08:58:

"Paul writes and here’s the deal: Sex is good. But it’s good between a man and a woman in a marriage. Sex is a gift from God for the marriage bed. This is what the text says, this is not my opinion. And we have to make sure that we build our lives on God’s unchanging word rather than our society or the world that constantly changes based upon people’s preference. (Bolded emphasis is ours)."

We also found a blogpost written by the “Vous Church Team” that summarizes this sermon:

"Sex is a gift and byproduct of love. It was created by God, for man and woman, within the confines of marriage. The church places much emphasis on the idea of this battle to keep one’s virginity. What if we went a little deeper and focused on empowering a generation to pursue purity instead? Purity is simply acknowledging that God’s way is better than our way, in all areas of life. (Bolded emphasis is ours)."

Based on the heteronormative language used, our team inferred that Vous Church does not officiate same-sex weddings since it appears to hold to the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Since we could only find evidence of its policy within its sermon archives and it was not easy to find, we scored this church: Unclear: Non-Affirming.

2. Women in Leadership Policy

The homepage of Vous church lists both Rich and DawnCheré Wilkerson as ‘lead pastors,’ implying that both of them officially lead in a formal, pastoral capacity.

Any time we see the “husband-and-wife” duos for lead pastors, we check to see if the woman delivers sermons on Sunday services. And although Rich preaches far more frequently, DawnCheré does preach during Sunday services by herself or with Rich.

Her title on screen when she preaches designates her as ‘lead pastor.’

Not only that, but other women have preached during Sunday services as well: Jamila Pereira, Sadie Robertson, and so on.  

The last thing we check for is whether any elders or board members are listed. If there is a woman pastor who preaches, and an all-men elder board, we interpret that as a likely indicator that it is likely that women can be pastors and preach, but cannot be elders. But we do not know for sure unless there is an explicit policy about women and elders. So we will score the church as Undisclosed (meaning, the website provides inconclusive evidence).

Vous Church, however, does not list its elders or board members on its website. Given that, and given the fact that women do preach regularly on Sunday services and DawnCheré is regularly designated the title ‘lead pastor,’ we scored this church as Clear: Egalitarian, meaning that the church demonstrates not only an egalitarian policy on its website, but also reflects this policy in the leadership personnel listed on its website. Churches that have an egalitarian policy but who have no women in leadership (or very few) receive the score, Unclear: Egalitarian. For more, see our Scoring Definitions.

Take action: Tweet or email to request clarity from Vous Church about its LGBTQ policy!

Up Next in this Series: Churchome Church (2/26). Subscribe here.

This is the third blogpost in our four-part series covering the policies of Celebrity Churches; we’ve previously covered Hillsong NYC and Zoe Church in LA.