With society changing rapidly, many church leaders and members are reconsidering the effectiveness and relevance of their programs and practices. Enter a new book from longtime Santa Barbara Pastor Denny Wayman who examines whether churches’ discipleship efforts are actually hindering growth and spiritual maturity.
Light + Life Publishing has released “Rootbound: Breaking Free from a Discipleship Ecosystem That Hinders Connection with God” by Wayman, who served as the lead pastor of the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara from 1976 to 2016.
The new book is the final entry in a trilogy that includes his previous books “Discipleship Ecosystem” and “Toxic Discipleship.”
“As we study God’s natural world, we learn that there are some easily recognizable symptoms that are often seen as the problem itself, when in fact the cause of the problem rests with the hindering ecosystem of the pot,” Wayman writes in the new book’s introduction.
“Created to reach out in unending connection with God, the roots of many Christians meet the walls of the pot and turn back in on themselves to create an increasing focus on one’s own spiritual growth without the commensurate challenge and maturity that life in the garden creates,” he says.
Along with considering the effectiveness and necessity of discipleship programs, “Rootbound” helps readers understand the purpose of their own lives as disciples and also the church’s role as a disciple-making vessel. This even applies when people leave a church.
Wayman suggests “the response of the church to a person who leaves it reflects the church’s ecosystem, revealing whether it is rootbound or healthy.”
Each chapter concludes with two sets of questions, one for individual reflection and one for group discussion.
Wayman is a prolific writer who previously wrote “Cinema in Focus” movie reviews with former Santa Barbara Mayor Hal Conklin.
In his books, Wayman — who also served for eight years as a superintendent of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California — draws upon his pastoral counseling experience with extensive study of Scripture and psychology.
He majored in psychology at Greenville University, then concentrated on human behavior while earning his master of divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, and on pastoral counseling while earning a doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. His wife Cheryl is a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Wayman’s latest book is receiving favorable reviews from other church leaders and authors. Bruce N.G. Cromwell, the author of “Loving From Where We Stand” and the superintendent of the Free Methodist Church USA’s Great Plains and Mid-America Conferences, said:
“If you or your ministry seems stuck and don’t know why you don’t appear to be growing, read this book. It may give you what you need to break free of the pot that constrains you.”
“Rootbound” can be purchased online via the Light + Life Bookstore at freemethodistbooks.com as a softcover book or as an e-book. The two previous books in the trilogy, “Discipleship Ecosystem” and “Toxic Discipleship,” are also available individually or together as a bundle.