Have you ever attempted to alter a classic recipe? Desiring to add your own flare, you throw in a dash of cinnamon and a hint of vanilla to those already delicious buttermilk pancakes. You reason that cinnamon and vanilla work in coffee, cookies, and granola, so why not in pancakes? Besides, you have already watched The Great British Baking Show enough to know what you’re doing. Yet, part of you wonders if it will be good, if not better, than the tried-and-true recipe. You weigh the odds and give it a shot.
Attempting to add to or modify our church ministries can feel like that. Years of decisions and trials led to where you are now. Will modifying or adjusting one thing here or there make a noticeable difference? Thankfully in ministry, we have more than a baking show to fuel our wisdom and discernment.
Three years ago, we launched Rooted as an onramp into our discipleship ministries at Christ Community Church. If you were new at our church, you heard about Rooted. If you were trying to connect to a group, you heard about Rooted. If you had a stagnant group, then you heard about Rooted. We hoped Rooted would function like a bright, flashing “Start Here” sign.
Rooted didn’t take long to be welcomed into our church’s discipleship life. However, “being welcomed” is different from working well in all areas. Like cooking with a new spice, we had to learn how to merge with the existing discipleship ministries to create healthy discipleship.
At the same time we were establishing Rooted, our women’s ministry began to grow. Our Women’s Pastor was reaching new women and getting them hungry for discipleship. We had a shared vision of women in our community coming to our church and finding a rich discipleship life.
Our evening Rooted session provided a space for working women but didn’t meet the needs of women staying home throughout the day. That meant we had an opportunity to experiment.
In September 2022, we launched our first daytime women’s Rooted group in tandem with our women’s ministry kickoff and we worked to blend the two together. We arranged for our Rooted group to cross paths with our existing women’s groups as much as possible. The Rooted launch and celebration happened in the same room and time as existing community groups, receiving vision and commissioning from myself and our Women’s Pastor. We shared stories of the Rooted experience, allowed leaders to meet other leaders, and groups to meet other groups. When our Rooted group decided to continue as a community group, they were already connected to the system of daytime women’s groups.
In January 2023, we launched two daytime women’s Rooted groups and again tried to cross paths with our existing women’s groups as much as possible. This time, we tweaked the recipe again and we merged our leader huddles before our launch to cast a shared vision. We wanted our new and existing groups to experience fresh encounters with God and each other. In time, our women’s ministry was buzzing with interest in Rooted. They heard stories of life changes and witnessed the community that developed. Now, they want to experience the same thing.
This September 2023, we are taking all daytime women’s groups through Rooted. Each group will have a community group leader and a Rooted facilitator working together to guide their group through the Rooted experience. The hope is that these two entities, Rooted and Women’s Ministry, will continue to partner to create a thriving discipleship life for the women in our church.
All it took was for us to step back, name the ingredients that seemed to have good flavor in our discipleship ministries, and mix them together.
What is adding flavor to your discipleship ministries? What ministries are reaching new people? What ministries are helping people come to faith in Jesus? After you name those ingredients, step back and see what is missing. What pairings could be possible? Where can you adjust your calendar or preparation to offer a more powerful discipleship experience? Maybe, just maybe, tweaking a thing or two will lead to satisfying fruit in your discipleship ministry.
This post was written by Kelsey Warner. Kelsey serves as the Next Steps Pastor at Christ Community Church in South Elgin, Illinois. Alongside Rooted, she helps anyone new to the church or new to the faith find their place in the church, learn more about God, and take their next step in becoming a passionate disciple of Jesus.