Christians should mimick the roots to the redwoods and spread

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2009

A few summers ago, while my wife and I were vacationing in California, we visited the magnificent Muir Woods, home to one of the few remaining redwood forests.

Redwoods are the tallest and oldest living things on earth, some trees dating back to the time of Christ.

It is not uncommon for redwood trees to grow to heights exceeding 350 feet. Interestingly, their root systems grow to less than 10 feet beneath the surface of the forest floor.

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How do these enormous giants stand so straight and tall?

The answer lies underground where their shallow roots extend outward toward neighboring trees and intertwine together. Even hurricane force winds cannot topple them because each tree is connected to many others. This network is commonly called “tree families” by foresters.

From the roots of these tree families most new redwoods spring forth.

The redwoods illustrate how necessary it is for Christian communities to nurture our common ties.

Faith in the saving work of Christ and the mission of spreading His kingdom on earth connects us. The Great Commission to preach the gospel and make disciples unites us.

Paul, the apostle, wrote “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

Christianity is waning in the United States. The Christian Post reports that membership in churches in the United States declined by almost 10 percent last year while the population grew by 11 percent.

This trend has been continuing for three decades. Many historians call this the “post Christian” era. If ever Christian disciples needed to connect and work together, now is the time.

One more lesson from the redwood tree. When a giant redwood falls to the forest floor and dies, a family of new trees springs up from its decaying trunk.

What if, out of aging and dying denominations and congregations we sow seeds for planting new churches?

What if we extend the influence and resources of once effective Christian movements to new movements aflame with fresh passion and purpose?

The influence of Christ on our culture need not disappear. It will take visionary and selfless commitment on the part of all of us to reverse the downward trend and propel the church toward a victorious future.

Del Loy is pastor of Crosspoint Church in Natchez.