Sometimes, that next step to growing in your faith can be daunting. It may require you to speak up, be vulnerable, or take a risk.
For Shelby and Marcus, a young couple who attend RiverGlen Christian Church, that next step was Rooted, a 9-week group discipleship experience.
“I did Alpha last fall and really enjoyed it,” Shelby says. Shelby got Marcus to go to the last class of Alpha with her, and she really wanted to do Rooted after hearing about it at the end of Alpha.
When the couple showed up for their first night of Rooted, they were nervous that they wouldn’t know anybody. But then they saw two people they knew from another group. They feel that it helped calm some nerves, knowing somebody there.
Shelby says Marcus didn’t know what he was getting into. “I just thought it was something you go and talk about God and all that stuff,” Marcus says.
Shelby and Marcus found themselves doing the daily devotionals together, eventually adjusting their schedule to continue after getting a puppy. Clearly, it was a priority for both to take advantage of the Rooted Experience.
“Our rooted group became good friends, and when we went to the Rooted celebration, it just happened this way, but the majority of our table were our age,” says the couple.
The celebration, their final night of Rooted, consisted of live baptisms, statements from each Rooted table, and a meal. Plus, each attendee would get to write on a cardboard sign – one side saying who they were before starting Rooted, and the other side stating who they were after.
Shelby, before taking Rooted, really struggled with finding where she fits in with God. “I’ve struggled kind of, like starting a conversation with him every day, and learning more,” Shelby says. “I grew up in church and I kind of fell out of it in high school and college, so just trying to find a way back to my faith and having confidence in Him. Trying to find time again for Him. This experience has helped me find time in my day, sometimes not every day, definitely more than I used to, to spend with God, and I’ve gotten more confident in life because of Him.”
For Marcus, an equally radical shift occurred after taking Rooted. “Towards the end of Rooted, it really got me thinking about things. I’ve been going to RG since I was real little, but I’ve always been there but I kind of was just waiting for a sign from God,” Marcus says. “I feel like listening to him I found my sign and my perspective changed. I didn’t need a sign; I just needed to talk and listen. “
Marcus and Shelby were both baptized following the Rooted celebration. “I was baptized as a baby, and when I met Marcus, I told him that if we were wanting to get married, I would want him to find God and get baptized. When I came to RG two years ago, I was like this is a journey we could take together eventually. I’ve been ready for little over a year, but I’ve been patiently waiting until Marcus was ready.”
After both were baptized, Marcus said that he was happy he did it. For Shelby, it felt like a “weight was lifted.”
“Rooted really changed my perspective on God to the point I finally decided to commit and get baptized. I’ve started to see God more in life, and it’s really taught me to listen and find ways to see Him or hear Him more,” Marcus says.
The couple encourages others to take Alpha and Rooted. “Don’t be scared no matter what your knowledge of the bible and God is,” says Shelby. “A lot of people go in there with a lot of different backgrounds, and you meet more people by getting connected. I think it helps us to get to know more and more people in the church. It’s kind of cool, I’ve never had this type of community at a church before.”
The community has helped both Shelby and Marcus in their relationship as well. “We communicate a lot better and don’t get as heated as fast. We see a lot of our strengths instead of our weaknesses.”
Both Shelby and Marcus plan on taking Financial Peace University next, with their Rooted table. Shelby has also joined a women's bible study that meets Monday nights.