More from Josh Walters on Seacoast’s Missional Community Strategy

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I began a conversation yesterday with Josh Walters, Seacoast’s Life Group Pastor.  One of the most important grouplife trends right now is the development of missional communities.  One of the churches on my radar right now is Seacoast Church.  They ought to be on yours, too.

Mark: You told us yesterday that you started the transition to a missional community strategy with the idea that you’d just “water what you want to grow” and allow the old system to atrophy.  But…you made some changes along the way.  What happened?

Josh: In the last few months we’ve had to process through assimilation which has brought us back to our old model.  If the new model is going to take 2-3 years to create how do we assimilate people today?  Answering this question has made us take a good look at our initial strategy.  In doing so, we believe the best way to get from ‘here’ to ‘there’ is with everybody connected and engaged.  So, essentially we are going to keep our current system but restructure it so that it is based on relationship and not role.  Coaches will invite leaders into discipling relationships instead of being assigned a leader because they have completed training.  We are simply changing our focus, instead of focusing on raising up new leaders and multiplying groups for the sake of community we are focused on making disciples who live out mission and experience community.

Mark: I like the sound of that!  And I like how you guys are keeping your focus on the end in mind of missional community and adjusting the tactics to keep moving in that direction.  How involved has Greg Surratt (Lead Pastor) and the rest of the leadership been in the move toward missional communities?

Josh: I believe Pastor Greg’s involvement will ensure that we make this transition towards Missional Communities and the making of a Discipling culture.  He is leading the charge, as is the executive team and each of the regional/campus pastors.  Pastor Greg has started using some of the language in his messages, is currently huddling key leaders himself and has committed a significant amount of time and resources towards learning and sending key leaders to visit and learn from other models.

Mark: Speaking of learning, what are you guys reading?  Who are you listening to or watching that has moved you in this direction?

Josh: We are in relationship with Mike Breen and his team from 3DM.  Over the last year we have attended several Learning Communities, hosted a taster and taken part in bi-weekly phone huddles led by the team from 3DM.  Their willingness to walk with and make a significant investment in us has been a key factor in our growth and learning.  We have been pretty faithful to their content and use of Life Shapes in the making of Disciples.  Kingdom and Covenant, Building a Discipling Culture, Discipling Culture Huddle Guide, Launching Missional Communities Field Guide and dozens of MP3’s from Mike Breen and Steve Cochram.  Additional content and people we are learning from are: Alan Hirsch, Forgotten Ways; Matt Carter from Austin Stone, Brandon Schaefer from Southland Christian Church, and Jon Tyson from Trinity Grace.

Mark: Josh, I know I speak for many when I tell you how much we all appreciate your openness.  We’ll be watching and would love to hear more as the evolution progresses.


I hope to add a third part to my conversation with Josh Walters, asking some additional questions about “the year of the huddle” and a few other related nuggets.  I’m also writing a review of the Launching Missional Communities Field Guide that Josh mentioned.  If you’re not signed up to get my updates, you can do that right here.

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