Jody Dunham grew up in a family that didn't know Christ. Her exposure to church came through the invitation of friends. Jody encountered a wide variety of belief systems in this way, and these experiences were intimidating and confusing.
During and after college, Jody started attending a life group with some co-workers, and eventually began attending a small church in Goleta. Jody's participation in the group helped her to begin to understand more about the relationship with the Lord that we are offered through Christ. She really enjoyed the fellowship aspect, but she still didn't quite get what Christianity was all about.
Not long after, during a very tumultuous season, Jody felt that God was there with her and was able to rest in God's presence. About six months later she was baptized.
Eventually, Jody moved to Ventura, and about two years ago a friend invited her to Ventura Missionary. Not knowing anyone else, she summoned the courage to walk through our doors and has been coming ever since. That same friend invited her to the Rooted Discipleship experience last January. She was placed in her friend's group, but after the first night she says, "I thought, there's no way this is going to work!" She was the only person in the group who was single or without kids. But, she had made a commitment, and decided to see it through. It turned out to be an amazing group. The women still meet and have been an incredible support system to each other ever since. Jody's community of two had now grown to include several women. She felt like she was part of a little family.
Because of this great experience, Jody wanted to expand that community, so she participated in another Rooted to get to know people her own age. In the Fall 2016 Rooted session, Jody was able to enjoy another 10 weeks of connecting with God and community. This time, she also gleaned more from the lessons in the workbook provided. She says that one of the things she loves about Rooted is that it forces you to stop and reflect on things that you normally wouldn't, as the demands of life take you from day to day. It allows you to connect the dots between what's in God's Word and what's going on in your life.
Jody's experience in Rooted has changed her. She now has an amazing community to tap into for support and prayer through the ups and downs and stresses of life, a group of Christians who she trusts and who give her understanding.
Her outward focus has also been changed. She knows that God has blessed her with a job that more than meets her daily needs, so she has begun to give more monetarily. And, going into the new year, she also feels drawn to give the gift of time.
When asked what she would like to say to people about Rooted, Jody says that she knows she's not the only 30 something in a church this size, and she isn't seeing many of them participating in Rooted and other church opportunities. To these individuals, she encourages, "It's not as scary as it seems. and worth it!"