“Just north of San Francisco is Muir Woods, an incredible forest that causes all who venture there to stand in awe of the strength and endurance of the sequoia trees. The sequoia trees are sometimes referred to as the largest living things on earth, reaching almost 250 feet in the air and standing for as many as fifteen hundred years.
When you stand before them, you feel tiny and envious at the same time. If you could have a conversation with one, you would be wise to ask: ‘How have you done it? How have you stood strong through all the storms of life, all the difficult situations? How have you not toppled?’
Their response, if they could speak, would be surprising.
The sequoia tree would not point to deep roots as the fundamental reason for standing strong through the centuries, as each tree’s roots grow only about four feet in the ground. While there is nothing wrong with a continual insistence to ‘go deeper,’ the sequoia you stand like a dwarf before has not overcome the difficulties of life because of its depth.
His response would be to point to the other sequoias surrounding him, supporting him and keeping him strong. If you looked around, you would notice that sequoia trees only grow in groves. While their roots go only about four feet deep into the ground, their roots intermingle with the other sequoias next to them. Each tree is able to stand strong through the centuries because each tree has an interdependent posture.
No sequoia grows alone.”
The passage above is from a book I’ve been working through recently entitled
Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow
by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley, and Philip Nation.
Understanding where the strength of a sequoia tree comes from gives us a picture of how we are to live as followers of Jesus and members of the body of Christ: as an interdependent community.
The book goes on to discuss “how an interdependent posture positions someone for transformation and why community is so vital to transformational discipleship …
- Community Perfects: Transformational community is much deeper than mere association because of proximity. It is shared partnership for spiritual growth.
- Community Protects: Believers have been born from the same God and must continue to love one another deeply so that sin does not deceive and harden.
- Community Preaches: We are known as God’s by our unity. Therefore the end result of Christian community is not community itself but mission. Ultimately the world surrounding the community is impacted by how God works within the community of believers.”
Do you see the potential power that can be found in and through community? As you reflect, take a moment today to praise God for the ways in which he works through our leadership for the advancement of his kingdom. And ask him what it might look like for the community you lead to perfect, protect, and preach as you continue to lead throughout this season.
I am praying and am so very thankful for each of you.
Director of Adult Life Development