By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor
Woodland Hills Church
Did you know that Sequoia trees are some of the biggest trees in the world, the current record holder coming in at 275 ft. tall, (that’s 35 stories high), 25 feet in diameter, and approximately 2,500 years old? Such a tree is an amazing sight to see, but it’s what you don’t see that makes it all possible. Sequoias have a unique and marvelous root system beneath the ground. Though the roots are relatively shallow with no taproot to anchor them deep into the earth, these trees rarely fall over. They withstand strong winds, earthquakes, fires, storms, and prolonged flooding. How is that possible?
It comes down to connection. The root system of a sequoia is wide spreading and often intertwined with other trees. Twisted around and holding tight to one another, they literally hold each other up. Whereas most trees compete for space, sunshine, and nutrients, sequoias support other redwoods. They are not only gentle giants, but they are extremely fruitful, as well, and can produce up to 400,000 seeds a year, all of which are no bigger than a tomato seed! When a forest of sequoias is thriving rather than just surviving, they are ensuring a lasting legacy through their connection with one another. Their individual stories are intertwined along with their roots, uniting each of them to a much larger story.
These connections are vital to sequoias, and it’s the same with us. We were never meant to go this journey alone. Instead, God – who is a relational God – made us for community and dependence on Himself and one another. When we truly connect with others and create a real and vulnerable relationship, we can truly be ourselves. It’s a mutually invested and authentic relationship where we feel valued and known, which empowers us to give back relationally to others.
In this way, we want to emulate sequoia trees through our ministry in Heroes Gate. It’s our desire to see community growth and for meaningful connections to be made among our staff, volunteers, families, and the children to whom we minister each week. How can we do this? By striving toward continual spiritual growth together as we help each other, share resources, support one another through hardships, and hold each other up in words, actions and prayer. We seek to be fruitful and produce change in others as well as ourselves as we spread the Good News of God’s amazing story. Like a forest of sequoias, we will only truly thrive when we are connected to one another.