It is exciting to see how rapidly things are beginning to shift for the COVID la...
Rooted – On Becoming a Flourishing Church – All Nations Congregation
Highland Park Presbyterian Church
By Rev. Simon M. King’ori – Pastor of All Nations Congregation &
Lesley Wilson-Moore – Director of All Nations HPPRES
In the Spring of 2021, as we were coming out of the quarantine season and began to regather there was an obvious sense of desire for a different direction. We were not sure what that direction would look like or where it would take us. This led to our leadership team asking several questions; Who are we as a church, why do we gather, what is our purpose, and why has God placed us in this place at such a time as this?
I must admit these were hard questions and especially because there was no clarity in terms of Covid-19 regarding vaccinations, and new variants. God was gracious in that he reminded He sent His only Son for our redemption, and he has given us the Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to live in us.
As the pastor, I invited the Core Leadership to participate in 6 months focusing on discernment. The materials, On Becoming a Flourishing Church, became the tool that would guide our discernment process. The uniqueness of this tool is the principle that flourishing churches are led by flourishing leaders who are flourishing disciples. Over the next six months we met once a month focusing on both the overall vitality of the congregation and the personal discipleship of the leaders.
Following the six months, the question that confronted us was, “What do we want to be true of our church that was not true then?” The objective of the course is to come up with a Flourishing Church plan focusing on the main area of desired growth, specific goals, and how to grow in that aspect once it is identified.
We then invited our leaders and small group leaders to participate in the Healthy Church Competency Survey. This evaluation, as part of Flourishing Course, helps determine the health of a church in six areas. It was then very clear that our greatest potential was in Discipleship.
The next challenge became how to build a culture of Discipleship and what would be the resources to help achieve this objective. God, by His providence led us to a Discipleship Pathway called Rooted. Rooted is not another program but a 10-week discipleship experience designed to connect people with God, the church, and their purpose. This resource provides a discipleship pathway that moves the participant from the study of biblical truth to becoming a transformational believer impacting the church and the community.
Rooted is built on the foundation of 7 rhythms, each of which was taught and practiced by the early church in Acts 2. These biblical rhythms shape the Rooted experience. For those exploring faith, Rooted reveals who God is and how to live as His disciples. For believers, Rooted refocuses their faith and ignites new passion. We knew these two aspects were needed in All Nations Congregation.
Next came the question, how do we implement a pathway that not only demands a high level of commitment, but one that was a new paradigm for our church? In January of 2022, after numerous conversations with our church leadership and Rooted Network, we began a season of prayer for wisdom, grace, discernment, and protection. This was followed by one-on-one conversations as well as small group presentations. Ultimately, we decided to do a pilot that consisted of Small Group Leaders. The pilot was a great success, with a 100% participation and completion rate.
Rooted does truly connect people with God, the church, and their purposes. It was incredible to see people discover for themselves what it means to follow Jesus and to help others (and) follow Jesus. Whether it’s prayer, serving, sacrificial generosity, or sharing faith, these biblical rhythms have generated momentum, enthusiasm and have refocused our thinking about discipleship.
Following the completion of the pilot, the entire congregation had a chance to celebrate the initial group and an opportunity for them to ask questions.
We just finished registration for the Spring session. More than 35 adults and students have committed to be part of the upcoming cohort launching on January 15th, 2023. The most beautiful shift is having the pilot group members now become the facilitators for future groups. It is simply amazing. We are truly thankful to God for the opportunity to become a Flourishing Church. Rooted has helped us begin that journey but ultimately, we understand that it is God who is at work in our lives for His purpose.
To God be the glory!