Rooted (part 1): What's At Stake


Watch this video on tree roots:

  • What’s the purpose of a root system?

At the end of the video the horticulturist says that 50% of a tree is beneath the surface and we need to pay as much attention to what’s below the surface as we do to what’s above. 

As you proceed as a group tonight, remember that your group can’t see what’s below the surface unless you share it. Help them help you by being as open and honest as you can manage.


Justin began his sermon Sunday describing someone without roots, someone struggling to overcome bad habits, someone feeling lonely, someone who quits more things than he’d like, someone who isn’t much different today than he was five years ago. 

  • Did you relate to any of that? Have you ever experienced a season (or are you currently experiencing a season) marked by lack of growth or a feeling of being unanchored?

  • How does that feel? Describe your experience.

  • Would you say  you lack(ed) roots? Was that a surprising diagnosis? Why or why not?

  • What have been the consequences of not having deep roots? 

We said Sunday that roots anchor you and roots feed you. 

  • What are some of the places/people/systems (other than God) we look to for anchoring and feeding? Make a list.

  • Have you ever depended on a root system that let you down? Tell the group about it.

In the context of the parable of the sower, Jesus said in Matthew 13:21, “But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”

  • Why would roots be important in a season of trial or persecution? 

  • Share a time when either roots saved you or a lack of roots failed you as you weathered a difficult circumstance.

What are some of the reasons we might fail to develop roots? 

  • As this series goes on we’ll talk more about how to develop roots, for now, brainstorm with your group a list of ways you think you might pursue a deep and grounding relationship with God. 


Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

    whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

    its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

    and never fails to bear fruit.”

Read this passage together.

Have you ever seen a mature tree growing near fresh water? What’s different about that tree versus the tree farther away from the river or lake? (Do you have a favorite place to go look at trees? Share with the group!)

During this series, let’s make this passage your group’s aspiration. Read it together aloud a few times. Then pray it together. Here’s a way to turn it into a prayer:

Lord,  bless me by teaching me to trust in You. 

Empower me to put my confidence in You. 

Plant me like a tree planted by the water.

Move me to send out roots to the stream of Your love and power.

Make me like that tree, unafraid when heat comes;

    my leaves always green, alive.

Rescue me from worries in a year of drought

    because in You, I never fail to bear fruit.