As soon as I got wind that EFree Diamond Bar was launching Rooted, I was chomping at the bit to be a part of it. My poor husband probably got tired of me reminding him that “we” wanted to lead a group. I’m sure I reminded him at least twice a week for a few months. Rooted has always had a special place in my heart. I was part of the Rooted pilot group at my former church and became heavily involved as they continued to make it available. I have genuinely enjoyed each Rooted group I have been part of, but this particular group has been an answer to prayer. I have journeyed through five weeks of this amazing discipleship experience with a group of people that I absolutely adore.
God Formed Our Group
Now let’s be honest the first meeting is always a little uncomfortable and full of awkward moments of silence. You get a group of people together with different personalities, who don’t really know each other and you ask them to start talking. The very unique thing about Rooted is that the leaders role is not to teach but to facilitate the conversation, so moments of silence will happen as you give everyone the opportunity to share if they feel led. On the first day, we asked everyone what brought them to Rooted. Over half of our team said they had a longing to be part of a community and actually know people within the church – it’s almost as if God ordained each one to be in our group. We are all over the spectrum with a wide range of ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds, and life stages, but God clearly joined all of us together to be in this group at this time in our lives. I continue to be amazed by God’s sovereignty by how multiple members of our group can relate to similar experiences and through that they continue to bless one another. Each and every person was meant to be in our group.
Nothing is Off-Limits
Rooted has a way of leading to conversations that bring freedom, clarity, encouragement, and truth. Some of our best conversations have been spurred on by difficult questions and they are discussed free of judgment and shame. We can openly discuss how certain sections of scripture are challenging as we live out our faith. There are no questions off limits. We can freely process questions together on the spot without having it all figured out. We don’t have to come with our theology and biblical doctrine wrapped up in a nice bow. We can come with our doubts, our fears, our hesitations and work through them together. The weekly topics addressed in Rooted are well structured and well written, but they open the door to much deeper and thought-provoking discussions. Each week, I look forward to seeing where our conversation will lead, and I love the freedom of not needing a cookie cutter answer. We are all in the same boat working out our faith together and desiring to lean on the truth of God with one another.
I shared earlier that Rooted was an answer to my prayer. Many things in my life have changed since being married. One of the biggest changes I have continued to adjust to is a new church. Leaving my home church of over fifteen years was very difficult. I continue to see my husband’s deep love and passion for EFree Diamond Bar and I am encouraged, but I have longed to be connected to this community that he loves so dearly. I was encouraged to hear I was not the only one longing for community during our first Rooted meeting. To get to know the nine people (even my husband) in my group has been life to my thirsty soul. This community being built is not like the momentary relationships I build at school. These are real relationships. These are people that I don’t have to be a perfect Christian with. I can be vulnerable. I can be honest. I can share my ugly and they freely accept me. We genuinely care about each other. We are only five weeks in and we have managed to laugh, pray, talk, and ugly cry with one another. This is what it looks like to walk alongside fellow believers. I now go to church on Sunday excited to see the faces of the people in my group, excited to run up to them and give them a huge hug. The relationships being built are far deeper than a Sunday morning “hello”– they are a “come share your life with me and we will journey together in Christ.” If you come into Rooted agreeing to be involved and be present, then you will build deep relationships with one another. It’s inevitable.
A Front Row Seat
One of my favorite things about Rooted is that I get a front row seat to God’s work in people’s lives. The nature of this discipleship experience is growth and I have seen that in each member of our group. I can think of two very specific weeks where God did a miraculous work in the lives of our group. Not only am I humbled to be part of what God is doing, but I’m also left in awe of who He is. We serve a God that didn’t just save us so we can go to heaven, but He continues to save us and transform us. He has no intention to leave us where we are but to transform our lives to reflect His glory and His beauty. God is not done working in our lives, no matter how long we have been walking with Him. The longer you have been walking with Christ the easier it is to think you’ve arrived. You look back to how far you have come in your life and somehow think God’s transforming days in your life are behind you. Rooted has reminded me that God is not done transforming my life and He is not done redeeming His people. Seeing God bring healing and freedom to those around me has reignited my faith and has showed me how desperate I am for His work in my life.
Ministering With My Best Friend
I have always prayed for Dale and myself to have opportunities to minister alongside one another. Both of us are heavily involved in our separate ministries from occupational to volunteer. But this is the first opportunity we have had in our whopping 5 months of marriage to be partners in a specific ministry. It has been a true blessing to lead alongside my husband and for our gifts and talents to be used together. We have learned new strengths about one another and learned how to let the other lead in their strengths. I can definitely say we are better as a team than as individuals. We have learned how to honor, encourage, and respect one another as we learn how to lead together. Rooted has helped grow an aspect of our relationship that we never experienced. Leading as a couple has been unifying, encouraging, honoring, and just fun.
I look forward to sharing another five weeks with our group and seeing what is to come. I know God will use this group to encourage, connect, equip, and disciple one another. It has been a wonderful journey that I don’t want to end.
Written by Tamara Chamberlain