Tag Archives: Rooted

5 Benefits of a Centralized Prayer Experience

Few things sound as overwhelming to Rooted Participants as the Prayer Experience. Two to three hours of praying during Week 3 of Rooted? Let’s be honest, most people don’t spend 30 minutes a day praying, much less a few hours seeking to hear from God. For many, the thought of the Prayer Experience conjures up fear, anxiety, and sounds just about as exciting as watching paint dry. However, it is a beautiful experience, and it is one they will walk away from feeling encouraged and reminded they can do this every day.

After the pilot rounds (please don’t skip these), our campuses made the shift to start hosting and centralizing the Prayer Experience. This may not work for everyone in every context, but below are five of the reasons we made this shift.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That | Participants don’t skip the experience.

Participating in Rooted is a big ask. Tack on a two-hour experience and we found pilot groups felt like they didn’t have margin. So, we flipped the ask: join us for two and a half hours for the Prayer Experience and then, find additional time (such as breaking the fast and eating dinner afterwards) to debrief that week’s daily devotions. Basically, if you are going to skip something, skip discussion, not prayer.

Get Woke with Lectio Divina | You can stretch your current prayer culture.

Every church has a liturgy, but ours is not a historically liturgical church. So, we wanted to stretch our Rooted participants through Lectio Divina (pages 108-109 of the Facilitator Guide). We also designed a prayer labyrinth and other experiential elements for the experience. One of our joys has been seeing people grow in comfort with these ancient practices and desire to use them.

It’s a Big Big House (without the football) | Larger spaces were less intimidating for people.

You probably know this, but it rains a lot here in the Pacific Northwest. Add the short days in fall and the cold of winter, and the ability to host a Prayer Experience outside is hit and miss. The logistics of sitting in a living room for two hours or asking a leader to open up every room in their home for people was a barrier. A centralized large space allows for people to move around independent of the weather. As an added bonus, it is absolutely beautiful to see every corner of our space used for prayer during the experience.

Leaders are People Too | Leaders get to participate more in the prayer time.

By centralizing, hosting, and using the Lectio Divina guide, leaders do not have to watch the time or carry the responsibility of creating the perfect prayer environment. Instead, they are able to guide their group and immerse themselves in the experience. Freeing their minds from the logistics of the experience frees their hearts to engage with God.

Bowling with Bumpers | You can develop younger staff in a safe environment.

Leadership development is a priority of our church, and yet finding great opportunities to let young staff lead is sometimes difficult. The Prayer Experience is one of the best environments to empower the people you are developing to lead. With a set structure in place, it gives them opportunities to learn how to set the tone for the experience, guide the participants through it and debrief with their group at the end.

There you have it, five reasons why we centralize our Prayer Experience. Doing this may not be for every church context, but it has worked well for us. And one of my favorite things about it is that the Prayer Experience is not just a Rooted event. We invite our staff and existing Home Communities to join us each round. It has become another tool for us to use as we pursue building prayer into the foundation of our culture and make it a rhythm for our whole church.

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.

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.