What’s Behind the Name ‘Grassroots’ Church?

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How Grassroots is different

To be “grassroots” is to be an “of-the-people,” “non-hierarchical, or “bottom-up” movement.  It’s a movement of people who operate on their own initiative because they are motivated by the same goal.  There isn’t a council or a director of grassroots movements.  There is no one “in charge” that has to formally approve activities before people engage in them. People just act .  They act in the name of a common goal, for the sake of their mission, because they are the movement.

Think about just a couple of other grassroots movements in history.

The Civil Rights Movement:  a grassroots movement of people, motivated by the goal of ending racial segregation.  Any time any individual chose to stand up against segregation, they became participants in this grassroots movement.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, but Rosa Parks didn’t seek out King’s permission before refusing to move from the white section of the bus.  Parks didn’t wait for a committee to plan the “Montgomery Bus Boycott” before she acted upon her beliefs – no, her individual actions started the grassroots bus campaign within the larger grassroots civil rights movement.

The early Christian church:  Despite what conspiracy theorists would have you believe, the church in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd centuries was very much a grassroots movement.  People just kept telling people the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.  Their belief in his resurrection motivated them to live new, different lives — the kind of lives that didn’t fear death and didn’t believe the lie that change is impossible.

What does it mean to be a grassroots church?

As far as church goes, “grassroots” means that the ministry of the church (the events, the programs, the activities) are planned and carried out by the people of the church rather than by the pastor, staff, or leadership committees.  That means you (yes, you) are in charge!

We’re trying to teach you that:  

  • any time you open up the doors of your home, you’re opening up the doors of the church
  • any time that you plan a social event, you are really planning a church event because you are the church
  • any time you have a conversation with your child about Jesus, the church’s children’s ministry is having a conversation with your child about Jesus;
  • any time you reach out to your neighbor and bless or serve them in some way, the church’s outreach ministry is reaching out to your neighbor (our church participates in hundreds of “mission trips” a year – they’re “trips” across the street to intentionally share and demonstrate the good news of Jesus).

A grassroots church means that you are the church.  You are our programs and ministries.  You are our events and activities.  We’re putting all our discipleship eggs in your basket.

Why is being “grassroots” important to Grassroots Church?  

Because we believe that this model teaches people what it means to be a follower of Jesus – that we are all on a mission with him.  Jesus didn’t come to establish a formal council with formal programs – rather he came to teach people how to really live life.  As a grassroots church, we have to unlearn our tendency to be consumers of church programs and relearn how to be contributors to the church’s mission [link].

And that is what is behind the name Grassroots Church.

We’d love for you to join this movement.

However…

Grassroots might not be the church for you.  

  • It’s more of a learn-to-feed-yourself approach to following Jesus than a spoon-fed approach.
  • It’s more of a teach-you-to-fish than a give-you-a-fish approach.
  • It’s more of an apprenticeship teaching method than a classroom teaching method.

Honestly, it’s just more challenging than other ways of doing church.  It’s more of a challenge to intentionally conform your whole life to a missional way of living than it is to simply attend official church services and events when they’re convenient to your schedule.

But we believe the reward is worth the challenge.  The reward is life lived to the fullest as we follow Jesus with everything.

How does following Jesus affect the daily rhythm of your life? 

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