Author Archives: Rooted Network

Letters From The Future

There is an episode on the hit television show “The Office” where paper salesman Jim Halpert sends a fax to his former co-worker, Dwight Schrute. From time to time, Jim sends Dwight faxes…from future Dwight.

A rather gullible Dwight receives a fax that reads, “Dwight, at 8:00 a.m. today, someone poisons the coffee. Do not drink the coffee. More instructions will follow. Cordially, Future Dwight.” Dwight precedes to knock a steaming hot cup of coffee out of one of his co-worker’s hands with the pronouncement of, “You’ll thank me later.”

When Compass launched Rooted in the Winter of 2016 we could not have predicted the impact it would have on our people and our church. As we’ve grown and done session after session over the past couple of years, we’ve learned a lot that we didn’t know at the beginning. So, if Compass were to write a letter today to our 2016 selves about Rooted, here are the three things we would have said:

Prayer Is a Game Changer

Since we started Rooted, thousands of people have found community, prayed together, shared strongholds, and begun practicing sacrificial generosity in a way that has made space for the Kingdom of God to move closer. Of course, we’ve encountered spiritual opposition. The Enemy hates what is happening and has continually worked to create disunity amongst our staff. We have seen marriages struggle and sickness rise up. And we’ve felt an even greater need to pray as a staff. So, every Monday a dozen or so staff participate in a prayer experience we call Fight Club (I have just broken the first rule). We get into the arena and fight the enemy by turning to God who has already claimed victory for our staff and our church. Launching Rooted at your church will undoubtedly lead to tremendous life change and spiritual growth among your community, but it will also bring much conflict. For us, prayer has been the secret weapon to hold it all together.

Strongholds Week Is Just The Beginning 

Week 5 of Rooted is always the best and most exhausting. People share the deepest, darkest parts of their souls (maybe for the first time) and experience God’s forgiveness and love as their community leans in even more to support and encourage them. While God does set many people completely free from their strongholds in week 5, we’ve realized that for many people it is just the beginning of a much larger and much longer conversation. Rooted forced us to rethink what our Care and Support ministry looked like at Compass. We boosted our recovery programs, developed a broader partnership with a local counseling center, revamped our marriage ministries, and even hired additional staff to support these moves. Strongholds, or week 5, is just the beginning of the growth process for people, not the be-all and end-all.

People Need “Next Steps”

I once heard someone say that Rooted is not the mission, Rooted is base camp. In other words, Rooted isn’t where spiritual growth and life change reaches its pinnacle, but often where it begins. Because of this, people need to know their next step when the ten weeks are up and the celebration is over. The resounding question you will hear after Rooted ends is, “What’s next?” When we first launched, we didn’t have a good answer. Your people will want to know how to continue praying like they did during the prayer experience. Your people will want to know how to continue serving in the community. Start thinking about the “next steps” for your church before you ever hear someone ask for them.

You’ll thank me later. 

 

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.

How To Make Your Launch An All-Skate

As a kid, there was nothing better than the birthday party at the SkatePlex – the smell of sweat and mold, employees who didn’t care as much as they should (just as much as they were paid), and the “all-skate.” I thought of this analogy so many times when we first launched Rooted. We couldn’t have pulled it off without everyone jumping in and playing their part.

In church settings, the area of community, small groups, or spiritual formation is often relegated to a few individuals who seem to be best at winning the skating limbo. The bar continues to lower. And we watch with anticipation to see who will survive and take ownership. This, of course, is not because the staff doesn’t want individuals to grow in their faith. It is because people are messy, and getting them to grow in community together is even messier.

Let’s be honest, Rooted can be a beast to launch. Between the launch date itself, getting people into groups, finding leaders, the prayer experience, serve experiences, money talk, strongholds, and organizing and pulling off the celebration, it can all be a bit overwhelming.

This is why Rooted must be an ALL-SKATE for the church.

Here are three quick things to keep in mind as you strive to include everyone:

  1. People help promote what they help create. Avoid Rooted becoming siloed out to only the “groups” team. Invite representatives from different departments to help you plan Rooted.
  2.  Empower new or young staff  to grow in leadership. The centralized prayer experience, or the Just-in-Time trainings are the perfect opportunities to help them grow in pastoring.
  3. Get the buy-in from everyone on the staff. This includes inviting people to Rooted and leading Rooted. One of the most successful ways we have seen this work is to have the staff invite people to join the Rooted group they are leading.

On an even more practical level, we have also found the use of RASCI to be really helpful.

For those not familiar with RASCI or it’s many derivatives, it is a responsibility assignment matrix. Each letter stands for a different role that can be assigned to an individual or individuals for any given task. If you are interested in reading more about it, check out this Wikipedia article. Yes, I know I just linked Wikipedia, but in the words of the great philosopher Michael Scott, “Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.”

In short, break down each moving part of Rooted and assign tasks to the different team members. Some will be Responsible for completing the task, one will be held Accountable to make sure it happens, some give Support, others need to be Consulted and others Informed.

Most of us already do this informally in some way, but having it written down helps to clarify communication between departments. For instance, here is a RASCI that might reflect the Money Talk during week 8:

This may seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but having a clear path internally helps to make sure that the Launch of Rooted goes well.

Make your Rooted launch an all-skate, and don’t be that guy skating counter-clockwise while everyone else is going clockwise. Nobody likes that guy.

 

J. Grant Hickman is a Teaching Pastor and Rooted Champion at a multi-campus church in the greater Portland, Oregon area. He enjoys woodworking, surfing, and Texas, but mainly spending time with his wife Jenna and their five kids. Outside of exploring the PNW with his family he is working on a Doctorate in Ministry from Denver Seminary and loves equipping others to love like Jesus.

3 Keys To A Successful Pilot

We’ve seen our share of small group initiatives. At my 125 year old church, LifeBridge Christian Church, I’ve been a part of a variety of group initiatives that connected people to community but often lacked the true heart of what we hoped would happen; real transformation.

Over time, this has produced a cynicism in our staff around community and the role that small groups play in spiritual formation. And I get it, how many “burst group” initiatives do we need to try before we see sustained energy around gathering in authentic, purposeful, and missional community?

Enter Rooted; a very different approach to group life that delivers real results.

While we were eager to see results in our church, we knew that getting the right people on board at the right time was going to make all the difference. Our pilot process consisted of these three things:

  •  Start Small: Pilot the experience before you do an all-church launch. We like to see big change happen quickly and it took many conversations and the cost of time to justify taking a slower approach, but it was worth it.
  • Start Internally: Have your staff go through it first. If we never saw another result out of Rooted, this step was worth the time and investment for what we saw God do in our staff. I’ll never forget seeing our Executive Pastor hold up his cardboard testimony at the celebration reading “skeptical” on one side and “expectant” on the other.
  • Start Right: Watch God build momentum through stories of transformation. It doesn’t matter how long your church has been around, seeing Jesus transform lives never gets old.

The success of Rooted is what caught our attention but it was the pilot process and the transformation we saw in our team that made all the difference.

 

Sean Badeer is the Connections Pastor at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, CO. He is passionate about Jesus, people, guitars, and loves investing in the next generation of church leaders. He and his wife Averi are Nebraska natives who are living the dream in Colorado with their dog Kanye.

Disciple-Making: From Teaching to Life-Transforming Experiences

Mariners Church leaders affectionately call the weekend that U-turned the course of their California congregation and its discipleship model as “The Great Slap.”

Mariners was hosting their international church partners and showcasing its multisite locations and multi-faceted program options when the visitors from around the world hit the Mariners staff with a hard reality.

“The American church is arrogant,” they said.

The statement felt harsh, but you know what? It was true. With all our money and beautiful buildings and programs, we thought we knew more than the rest of the world. And our partners graciously called us out on that when they asked: “When are you going to be willing to learn and listen to the Global Church? The Gospel is spreading around the world, but not here.” It was a tough message to absorb. But the question provided our leaders with the opportunity to start practicing the very thing they were inviting us to do. Heeding this message led church leaders to put Mariners’ process for developing believers under the microscope, and completely revamp the way we execute our mission of “transforming ordinary people into passionate followers of Jesus who are fearlessly changing the world.”

Up until that point, we had what I would call a ‘beautiful menu’ of options for people and to help them grow spiritually. We wanted to make sure anyone could come to our church and find whatever they needed and whatever was best for them. And as we examined our current methods, we started to see that though Mariners had menu of options – many front doors – we couldn’t actually point to one where true life transformation was happening.

A New Model From Abroad

We began to take a hard look at what it means to be a disciple-making church with measurable results – believing that making disciples leads to life change, and then multiples as people live out their faith in community. The result of our examination led us to a new church structure called the “Transformational Loop”. It also led us to “Mizizi”, the discipleship tool our Kenyan partner, Mavuno Church was using. The life change happening through Mizizi was so fruitful, that we got rid of our menu options, adapted the tool to fit our local context and made Rooted the front door to our church.

Centered in the “rooted” concept of Ephesians 3:17-19, it is different than anything the church has done in the its 51-year history. For starters, the 10-week time frame was a departure from the church’s traditional six-week small group offerings. We ran a lot of discipleship models before based on what we thought people would be willing to do. When we changed and started asking more of our people with a 10-week commitment, five nights of homework, three additional meetings for experiences, we were concerned that no one would take a risk and do it. What we learned was that people were willing to step up to whatever bar we set for them.

More Caught than Taught

Beyond changing the time commitment, we also wrestled with a harder truth that set the stage for the format of Rooted. It became apparent that while we had always done a great job of teaching God’s word, we had not done a great job of creating environments where we were asking questions and listening to the people we were leading and teaching.

A woman in one of our early Rooted sessions was in a group led by a pastor who had been on staff for many years. One night the woman looked at the whole group and said, ‘We don’t really believe in that story of Noah’s ark, right?’ Just when you wanted to gasp and say ‘How could you say such a thing?’ another guy pops up and says, ‘Yeah, and what about the story of the Red Sea? Does anybody really believe that actually happened?’ ” The incident, solidified that while we may be teaching a lot of great biblical truths, it doesn’t guarantee they are being received. A key component of Rooted facilitator training is asking questions and listening not teaching. We want our Rooted facilitators to hospitably create space where people can question, explore and experience.

There are thousands of discipleship methods in North America, and I think I studied all of them. What I found is they all pretty much have the same content. What makes Rooted different is that it’s based on experiential learning rather than a lecture or leader teaching each week.

Life transformation comes more through experiences than through knowledge. Teaching comes in and goes out.  Very little of it stays. But if you can share an experience together and do something, it changes people.

So when it comes time for Rooted participants to learn about serving, for instance, the groups don’t get a sermon—they serve in the community together for a day. Learning about confession and accountability is an experience during which Rooted participants are very transparent, confess strongholds and sin in their lives and every individual is prayed over to break the strongholds. Learning about prayer is a three-hour “prayer experience” participants can’t believe they’ve completed when it’s over. “Everybody always says, ‘There is no way I thought I could pray for three hours,’ Shelly says, ‘but I heard from God for the first time, we need to this more often.” I heard God’s voice.’”

Beyond a program, seminar or small group, Rooted is a catalyst for life-change. Rooted provokes questions and conversations and offers beyond-what-is-comfortable group experiences designed to connect people to God, the church and their purpose. It has become the place we can point to and say: “Life transformation is happening here.”

 

Shelly Juskiewicz is the Community Life and Leadership Development Pastor at Mariners Church in Irvine California. She is a part of the Irvine Lead Team overseeing all Adult Ministries, Care and Recovery, as well as their Discipleship Ministries: Rooted and Life Groups. She has a passion to see churches collaborate to expand the Kingdom of God through Volunteer Leadership Development and Discipleship. She has been married to Ron for 30 years and loves to be with her family and go on crazy adventures.