“Once more a remnant of Israel will take root downward and bear fruit upward.” II Kings 19:30
Since The Woods at Montara transitioned from a traditional church setting to a house church, I have been asked several times, “Do you want to grow as a church?” Because a living room will only hold so many people, and it seems to limit our potential. But that’s a superficial perspective!
The easy answer is, “Of course! All churches want to grow!” And we do. But there’s more than one way to grow a church. Along with numerous theologians, I believe that the “remnant” referred to in II Kings speaks of today’s true believers in Jesus, and I believe that our responsibility as believers is to “take root downward and bear fruit upward.”
There may only be five people attending church at Montara or there may be 25. But what I care about more than numbers is that the people entrusted to us are growing in grace and in their understanding of Christ. When someone begins to attend Sunday School regularly, participate eagerly, and worship joyously, this is growth. When another begins to release her anxiety and relax in our presence, truly seeking God’s guidance for her life, this is growth. When we are privileged to deliver a warm coat to a small child or give a ride home from work to a young man who lacks transportation, this is growth. We (and they) are taking root downward. (That young man, a self-identified pagan, finally allowed Bill to pray for him last week.)
When one has sunk his or her roots deep into the Word and come to understand Christ on a deeper level, they will be ready to “bear fruit upward,” the fruit of holiness (Galatians 5:22-23). That’s the next step…