What is Roots? What is it really all about? Why is it called “Roots” anyway? These are all great questions and something that should be addressed more often than it is. After all, we believe that this is more than just some “youth group”. Roots is a community, a family that supports, pushes, challenges, comforts, and loves each other. So, what is all of this about anyway?
Well, the name “Roots” is taken from verse 17 in Ephesians chapter 3. In Ephesians 3:16-21, Paul pours out this heartfelt prayer for the believers in Ephesus,
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
See where we get the name from? And in its simplest form, verse 17 pretty much sums up what we’re about at Roots, “being ROOTED and established in love.” However, as you may have picked up from what Paul says, being rooted and established in the love of the father is supposed to create something powerful within us.
You see, it starts with faith in Christ. Paul spends the last chapter and half justifying to those in Ephesus that their faith in Christ is just as sufficient as those who were Jewish. So, basically, Paul is saying that it doesn’t matter when you came to faith in Christ, it doesn’t matter how you came to faith in Christ, it doesn’t matter what you believed or what you did before you came to faith in Christ. If you believe in Christ, if He dwells in your hearts through faith, then you are just as justified, just as forgiven, received just as much grace as every other believer in Christ. Sometimes I feel that those of us who have had a relationship with Christ for a while downplay or forget how powerful and amazing that truly is. But, Paul doesn’t stop there.
It starts by simply putting faith in Christ, but it isn’t supposed to stay there. Our faith isn’t supposed to stay still, stagnating in a pool of fecklessness. It’s supposed to be stretched, exercised, and fueled. Just like our bodies, James 1:22 says our faith needs to be fed the proper nutrition (the word) and regular exercise (doing good works). However, Paul seems to suggest there is even more than just intake and output that causes our faith to grow.
He says, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people…” You see, it’s what we do together that causes us to “…be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” And that’s what we’re about here at Roots and Canopy Church as a whole. Reading your Bible is great. Listening to podcasts and the sermon every Sunday is great. Giving money or time to help those who need help and show the love of Christ is fantastic. Actually having spiritual conversations with those who are yet to believe in Christ is absolutely amazing! I do not want to downplay the importance of any of that, however, faith was never meant to be done alone. Our faith is meant to be lived out in community, sharing, encouraging, failing, rising, supporting, uplifting, and loving one another.
So, because of this, we do things a little different at Roots. We do more than just weekly lessons. Reading from and learning about the Bible is great, and we do this every first Wednesday of the month. But, beyond Bible lessons, we try to put our faith into action with our Application Nights, whether is that is simply spending time worshiping God together or with individual time spent with God or if that is actually going out into the community and showing and sharing the love of Christ through service projects, we strive to put our faith into action. But, possibly even more important, we spend time growing together. Sometimes that’s having fun and playing games, but more importantly, we dedicate a night each month to just let the students share their thoughts, feelings, experiences, triumphs, and struggles with the lesson content from the previous week.
So, this is who we are. We are disciples of Christ, growing daily. We’re battered, bruised, and imperfect followers of the one who extends unconditional and all-encompassing love and grace.
We are family.