The Sequoia Tree
If you have ever seen my photography, you would learn very quickly that I love trees. I can’t explain why I love them so much, but they are to me one of the crowning features of God’s creation. My favorite trees are Sequoias, both the Giant Sequoia species and the Redwood species. Giant sequoias are the largest living organism on the planet, and some of the oldest. They are extremely resilient—surviving drought, disease, and even fire. In fact, without fires, they actually struggle. Fires help in their reproduction. Although they are so tall (reaching over 300 feet), their roots sustain and anchor them not by going deep but by going wide and intertwining with one another. There are so many analogies with the Church and these trees, which is why we chose to name our West Coast Evangel School of Urban Church Planting after them.
Earlier this summer, I had the joy of watching us conduct our second annual Sequoia Evangel School of Urban Church Planting at World Impact’s Oaks Camp and Conference Center. Last year we chartered eight teams from all over California, and this year we chartered seven more. Although I was only the administrator for the school, and not directly involved in coaching or teaching this year, it was still a great joy to watch the teams interact, worship, and engage in their team exercises.
The teams met for two and a half days, learning about theology, ecclesiology, strategy, and other relevant subjects from a diverse group of speakers. In between teaching sessions they gathered as teams with their trained coaches and they processed through their team vision and values, community demographics and dynamics, how to prepare, launch, assemble, nurture and transition (PLANT), and other exercises before being chartered. It might have seemed like a breakneck pace, but it was both stretching and bonding time.
Please be praying for these teams as they are released back to their communities to establish Kingdom outposts! Pray for their perseverance under trial and spiritual attack, pray for faithfulness, pray for wisdom and discernment, and pray for disciples to be made. Pray for wisdom for their coaches as they journey with them through the next year as well.