by Dale Reeves
Adrian Williams grew up in the changing community of Forest Park, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. When his family moved into the house he grew up in, they were the first black family in that neighborhood. He still recalls a woman stopping by their house while his father and brother were washing their car in the driveway. The woman wanted to know how much they got paid to wash cars and his father responded without missing a beat, “I get to sleep with the woman who lives here.” The woman walked away, not knowing how to reply. A few days later that same woman showed up again, this time to apologize that she hadn’t realized that they lived there.
Adrian has always enjoyed connecting with people from different ethnic groups. After graduation from high school, he served for ten years in the U.S. Navy, spending much of his time in Japan. He grew up in a very tight, spiritual family, with twenty-one aunts and uncles—with five of his uncles being pastors. Adrian’s mother has a doctorate in theology. So, when he entered the Navy, he jokes that he was the “non-cussing sailor.”
While in the Navy, Adrian met his wife in Japan, and they were married for ten years. They have a 19-year-old son, who is in college. Today, Adrian is single, and works as a mediator for the federal government, is an executive coach, and is a leadership development facilitator for the John Maxwell Team. A few years ago, Adrian and his son moved to the Kings school district, and he has been involved in helping to mediate several race relations issues there. He says, “I want to help build bridges and friendships. You only get there through talking and hanging out together.”
In John’s Revelation we find this scene described, “I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9, 10, NLT).
Adrian pleads, “We pray that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Why should we wait until we get there to come together in unity?” Adrian has a passion for bringing people of all stripes into the church. And he loves being able to help facilitate that process.
About 2 ½ years ago, Adrian had been attending Christ’s Church, and he liked the messages he heard from lead pastor Trevor DeVage. He recalls, “Trevor was talking about the Holy Spirit, and I hadn’t heard a lot of churches (ed. note— white churches), talk about that.” The ten-week discipleship experience called Rooted was just getting started at Christ’s Church, so when Adrian learned about it and heard someone say, “This church needs more people to serve,” Adrian responded, “I’m in!”
Adrian’s Rooted facilitator was Rick Dolezal, an elder in the church. Adrian had been baptized as a child, but he decided at the end of the Rooted experience to get baptized again. He says, “Rooted awakened me, and it brought more of an awareness of my spiritual gifts and my hunger for relationship and getting plugged into serving others more.” He loved Rooted so much that he asked Adam Brucker, the pathways pastor, if he could go through the ten-week journey again. Adam asked him if he would pray about it and consider being a facilitator the next time. He says, “That was a quick yes. I understand what it means to be a facilitator.” Adrian is currently facilitating his fifth Rooted group!
Why does Adrian have such a passion for Rooted? In his words, “It’s all about seeing the transformation of others. It’s all about relationships. When my dad passed away last year, Rick and Lisa Dolezal showed up for the visitation to express their love and concern for me. Every time I go through Rooted, not only are new relationships developed, there’s something new that happens in my spiritual growth as well.”
Adrian really enjoys the different components that make Rooted so unique. He says, “Sometimes people enter the prayer experience with a little trepidation and fear, not sure what they will do for several hours during the prayer experience, because they’ve never prayed that long in their life. But I love seeing them leave afterward saying things like, ‘Wow. That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced!’ The prayer experience has made me more aware that prayer is not just me talking. It means being still, yielding to God’s will.”
Adrian also enjoys the awesome things he sees take place during and after “stronghold night,” when people look at some deep-seated issues that need to be addressed. He loves that stronghold night comes on the heels of the prayer experience night, and he sees weights fall off people’s shoulders when they allow God to do his best work in their lives.
In his own spiritual growth, Adrian is currently doing some online Bible college and has gotten into deeper Bible study. He says, “More information leads to more transformation. I had a desire to get more into the Word and I was praying for that for years. Rooted jump-started all of that for me.”
Adrian enjoys watching each Rooted group he facilitates take on its own personality. He believes that diving into the spiritual gifts discussion is one of the most powerful aspects of the experience. He says that when participants take the spiritual gifts assessment, he sees “lightbulbs go off in people’s minds.” He has taken his Rooted groups to serve at the Hope House in Middletown, served families at the Ronald McDonald House, and helped at Matthew 25 Ministries. He explains, “When you serve and give to others it’s about a relationship as well, not just about what we are ‘doing.’ When you sit down with people and you talk with them, you realize the people you are serving have something to give to you as well—so you listen!”
Adrian concludes, “Rooted is truly an experience—it’s not just another class, or program, but a life-altering experience that will stay with you forever. It all comes back to knowing God more, loving him more, and serving people more. Why should we wait until we get to Heaven? We can have a hand in seeing God’s will done on earth now!”