The Story Of Rooted - Rooted Digital Workbook

The Story Of Rooted

Too many of us are held captive by the “normal” and “ordinary” dreams and desires common to modern culture. Yet as followers of Jesus we are called to live a radically counter-cultural life. Radical, from the Latin root “radix” means “a root.” To live as a radical follower of Jesus is to be rooted in God’s Word and truth and live a life that reflects His. However, this is not what we always see in our daily lives. In fact, many surveys show that Christians are just as likely to embrace lifestyles as consumer-driven, self-centered, and immoral as those not professing to be Christ-followers.

American churches have traditionally relied on theological information as the primary activator for life-change. While information certainly has a place, it should not be the only way the Church invites people to participate in God’s story. Christians in the Western world know a lot of information, but don’t often experience the life transformation promised in Scripture. We know that salvation is a free gift from God—there is nothing we can do to earn it. But, being a follower of Jesus comes with a cost. As we learn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, we learn we must offer Him our time, our hearts, and our very lives in order to fully embrace the extraordinary life He has for each of us.

We at Mariners wanted to create an experience that bridged the disparity between what we say we believe and how we live. We wanted something that would be experiential and transferable across all ages, stages, and even cultures.

In 2008, Mariners began a partnership with Pastor Muriithi Wanjau and Mavuno Church in Nairobi, Kenya, and we quickly learned they had a similar passion to see people encounter God and grow deeper in their relationship with Him and His Church.

During one of our visits to Mavuno, they told us about an experience their church family was going through that had been developed by Pastor Muriithi. They called it Mizizi, Swahili for “roots.” It wasn’t a Bible study, class, or program, and it wasn’t “taught” in the traditional sense. It was a 10-week journey with daily homework that each member of their church went on in community with each other. Groups of men and women would gather each week, and through a study guide and a facilitator, walk through Scripture and discover God’s purpose for them in their church family and the world. The impact of Mizizi on their church was staggering. Thousands of people were discovering for the first time that God loved them specifically and had a beautiful plan for their lives. They learned God has gifted each of them perfectly for His purposes. They learned how to pray and how to unleash the power of His Spirit. They learned about Jesus’ heart for serving the poor, His ability to destroy Satan’s strongholds in their lives, and how He wants them to steward the material resources He’s given them.

When one fully grasps the fullness of God’s plan for his or her life, one can’t help but go out and do it. And that is exactly what was happening at Mavuno Church. People were reaching their community with the love of Jesus, people were discovering they are called to be fearless influencers of society, and their community was changing. Mavuno could hardly keep up with the growth of Mizizi because family members and co-workers who didn’t go to church or have a relationship with Jesus were signing up in droves. They saw their friends and family members’ lives change before their eyes, and they wanted to know why and how it was happening. The Good News was proving to be really good news when tested. It was astounding to witness.

We wondered what God might do if we brought Mizizi to Orange County.

We began to work with Pastor Muriithi to adapt the Mizizi experience to our culture while keeping the spirit of the original work. We prayed God would use it in the lives of our staff and church family, and He honored our prayers. As people moved through this experience, it became clear it wasn’t the curriculum that was changing lives—it was God. People came with open hearts, expectant of what God would show them. And He did not disappoint. Relationships were mended, strongholds were broken, and people sensed God’s call to go out and change their communities in ways they never thought they could.

We believe God has brought us to a place of honesty and vulnerability like we’ve never experienced before. We have come to a place of desperation—individually and as a church where we say, “God, we don’t know how to do this. Please do this for us and through us.” In that humility, God comes near and slices through the many facades we have constructed over the years. This has renewed our commitment to becoming authentic, transparent, wholehearted people. It was, and is, astounding to watch this remarkable shift in the culture of our church.

Since we began this journey, Rooted has been adopted into churches across the nation and translated into many different languages. As Rooted & Mizizi’s impact continues to grow, we want to expand your understanding of God beyond our Western context.

Our hope and prayer is that by the end of Rooted you’ll have heard God’s voice and live more passionately and purposefully for Christ.

Rooted Video with Christian Mungai

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