A few years ago, my mom bought me an album called “The Art of Celebration.” Yeah…my mom still buys me music. But that’s not the point. What I love about the album is that it captures the very essence of celebration: connecting the dots between the major experiences in our lives (both painful and beautiful) and seeing that the common thread is the hope of the gospel. And it is this gospel that we celebrate when we gather at the end of each Rooted session.
When we celebrate, we do so for two major reasons: To Mark a Moment and To Build Momentum.
To Mark a Moment
Every person at the celebration has a chance to mark a moment. For some, it’s a moment to stand and say “I Believe in Jesus” for the first time. Some will get baptized. For some, it’s a chance to recommit to Jesus. For others, it’s an opportunity to see the fruit of their 10-week discipleship journey with other believers. No matter where someone is at the beginning of Rooted, they come away changed—and we want to celebrate what God has done! We provide everyone a moment to remember what God has done. Consider your next Rooted session (or your ministry calendar in general). What can you do to truly make a memorable moment for others?
To Build Momentum
As we say at our celebration, Rooted is not the end…it’s just the beginning. So, we celebrate not just to look back, but to launch ourselves into the new life that Jesus is calling each of us to. That’s why we commission all of our Rooted participants to go and be world-changers. That’s why we tell them about continuing as a Life Group, about serving, and about living on mission with Jesus. When you celebrate, remember that you are not wrapping up a program, but you are unleashing Christ-followers to live out the Great Commission in their communities, their cities, and the world!
I am moved at every Rooted celebration as people walk up front with their cardboard testimony of life change, stand up to say “I believe” for the very first time, or step into the waters of baptism and emerge markedly different. We’ve seen women given dignity and a voice for the very first time. We’ve seen grown men cry as they flip their cardboard testimonies over to show what God has done in their hearts. We’ve seen marriages restored, relationships mended, faith re-kindled, and souls healed. It’s these stories, and hundreds more, that remind me why we celebrate—because God is pursuing each of us, connecting the dots of our stories, and reminding us of the hope we have because of Christ’s finished work on the cross.
And that, my friends, is something worth celebrating!
Jonathan Reider serves as the discipleship pastor at Friends Church Orange, in Orange County California. He has been serving at Friends for over 12 years, and has been a part of both their main campus and multisite congregations. His heart is to help people experience the beauty of life with Jesus, lived out in community.