Preparing For Spiritual Battle
How To Equip Rooted Facilitators For The Reality Of A Spiritual Journey
Rooted, Hiking and the Spiritual Journey
A few summers ago my wife and I invited some of our close friends out to the mountains of Colorado for a week-long vacation. Our family owns a beautiful cabin in the mountains just outside of Colorado Springs, and we thought this would be an excellent way to spend time together, while also getting to relax and enjoy life. After a few days of being in Colorado, our friends wanted to go on a hike.
Due to my physique and overall disinterest in exercise, I was not looking forward to it, but I obliged my friends and my wife, and off we went. That hike revealed to me the nuances of leading people through the Rooted Experience. It is a spiritual journey, which means a few things:
1. The best facilitators serve as tour guides.
As we started our hike I realized something: none of us had ever hiked on these mountains. Early on in our journey, I began asking, “Does anyone know where we are going?” The answer from everyone was a profound, no. Here we were, a group of people who didn’t know where they were going, didn’t know where to go and had no idea how to get home.
If Rooted is a spiritual journey, then everyone needs a guide. Someone who can walk alongside their group and encourage them. The best facilitators are people who move with people through the journey, but also help them to recognize God’s presence as they grow and move forward. The beautiful thing is that a tour guide doesn’t have the limited knowledge that the rest of the group has, they have more. A great tour guide can direct their group because of what they have already experienced and seen. They have knowledge of God’s presence in their own spiritual journey.
As you can imagine, our group was lost that day on the side of a mountain. It took us hours figure it out. We had no idea where we were going. I imagine if we had a guide, someone who was prepared to navigate us through our journey, we would have found our way home much more quickly.
2. People have baggage — it is your job to help them set it down.
I left out a small detail in this story — my wife, and I had recently adopted a Labrador retriever puppy, and we thought it would be a good idea to take him with us. His name is Chance (yes, like Chance the Rapper), he was a few months old at the time, and he was also not very interested in this hike. Within 30 minutes of us hiking, he decided he was done, laid down, and would not move. I had to carry him. This additional baggage made my hiking experience worse than I initially expected. Who knew how hard it would be to walk along the side of a cliff with a 25-pound puppy in your arms?
When people choose to be a part of a spiritual journey, they bring every part of who they are with them — their past, their present, and their future. Unfortunately, for many of us, our past contains baggage. For some of us, that baggage looks like sin. For others, it could be trauma, or abuse, or fear, or depression and anxiety. The best facilitators — or tour guides — know how to help people set their baggage down.
As you train your facilitators, specifically for Week 5 and the Stronghold Experience, think about these few questions: Are our facilitators aware of what Care and Support ministries the church offers? Is there appropriate follow-up and care for our facilitators as they encounter their group members’ baggage? How can we better implement the rhythm of Freedom from Strongholds into other areas of our church?
Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to leave my dog on the side of that mountain. However, my wife and the rest of our group shared the load of carrying our dog down the mountain. The best facilitators can remind their group members that they are on this spiritual journey together, and if for some reason, they can’t set their baggage down right away, people are present to help them carry the load.
3. The spiritual journey can be exhausting — how well are you resting?
After we made it home, our group was exhausted. Between hiking for hours, carrying a small animal, and arguing over how to get home, we had no energy left to offer to each other. The hike was beautiful, and the journey was worth it, but we were done.
I love the people who want to facilitate year round. Rooted has become their ministry. It is the way that they serve God and His church. However, it is our responsibility as church leaders to make sure that those facilitators are not only cared for, but they are also being allowed to rest and prepare for another journey.
As you prepare for the next session of Rooted, I would challenge you to ask this question: Are there any of these facilitators that need a break? Not because they aren’t great at what they do, but because a break will actually revitalize their spiritual journey and make them better facilitators in the future?
It can be tempting to so heavily rely on facilitators that we forget to give them appropriate time to refuel and rest. At Compass, we rely on volunteers at all of our campuses not just to facilitate rooted, but to also lead and train all of our facilitators. If those leaders have been actively leading people on a spiritual journey, they too need time to rest and refuel consistently.
Rory Green is the Rooted and Teaching Pastor at Compass Christian Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex. Rory and his wife, Brooke live in the suburbs of Ft. Worth and have a chocolate lab named Chance. He is a graduate of Lincoln Christian University and is working on his Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership from Hope International University.