Some of you may have seen this image before. It’s the root structure of a grove of aspen trees. This has become the guiding image for the network of missional house churches I’m helping start.

The aspen grove is actually the world’s largest organism as the entire grove shares one root system beneath the surface. Above the earth’s surface, the trees each appear separate, yet each tree contains the exact same DNA as the tree next to it, all because they share the same roots.

So what is the root system of missional churches? In the case of ViaCordis, the root system is made up of coaching relationships and leadership community gatherings every 4-6 weeks. That’s where the leaders grow and are challenged and nurtured. The root system is what keeps us connected. From there, we sprout above the ground in ways that each look a bit different, spreading out as sent people. Some may start small house church gatherings that engage in transformational initiatives (personal and community), others may begin by serving together in areas of need in hopes of seeing another “tree” (i.e. community of disciples) emerge in the grove. Each tree looks different—and separate—above the surface. But underneath they’re all connected and nourished by the same roots.