The following is an interview with Josh Surratt of  Seacoast Church from almost two years ago. Here are Josh’s answers:

What is your ministry background? What did you do before becoming a Campus Pastor?
I came on staff as a student ministries intern while I was still in college. After college, I managed an Outback Steakhouse for a couple of years before coming on staff full time with Seacoast. I was the assistant pastor at our first campus, became a small groups pastor for several years, and then took the role of Campus Pastor at our Long Point Road location in January of 2008.

If you were a pastor, do you still preach? If you were a pastor, do you miss preaching regularly?
I am on the teaching team at Seacoast and preach about 6-8 times per year. I also have opportunities to preach at our 1st Wed meetings as well. Have never had the weekly preaching gig.

How would you define the role of Campus Pastor?
My job is to execute the vision and mission of Seacoast at my campus. This includes leading our staff, building teams, communicating the vision constantly, and creating culture…among other things. I am accountable for small group participation, volunteer participation, weekend services, missions, children’s, students, discipleship and all of the other day to day ministry that happens at Long Point.

With your focus being on the role of a Campus Pastor and not preparing a weekly sermon, what do you get to do that you think a lot of pastors/preachers miss out on? What are the advantages of your role?
Most pastors spend 15-20 hours a week prepping for a sermon. That is 15-20 hours that I have to carry out the vision of our church. I am able to focus on the day to day stuff.

  • Build small groups and develop leaders
  • Focus on systems and overall health of the campus
  • Staff Development and training
  • Programming the weekend service around the message

What are the unique challenges for a Campus Pastor at a multi-site role?
I think that we face many of the same challenges that other pastors do. How can we engage our church to serve our community? How can we remain laser focused on reaching lost people for Christ? The only difference is that I am not the one that is preaching on the weekend. We are still tackling the issues that surface.

It can be difficult to determine what kinds of things need to be centralized vs. decentralized. Some decisions need to be run through central and some don’t so it is a constant learning process on that front. Flexibility is key.

What is your communication like with your main campus or central support system?
We are constantly communicating through email, phone, yammer, etc. We have a once a month all staff meeting where the campus pastors will interface with central support and have lunch with Greg. I also have a monthly one on one with Geoff Surratt, who oversees all of the ministries and campuses. Since our campus offices in the same place as central I interface with those guys on a daily basis.

This is from DJ Chuang of Leadership Network: Do you have a backup plan? If technology fails you are you the one to preach that day? What is your backup plan?
Again, we are the broadcast campus so we have Greg preaching live most of the time. I do sit in on the message planning team, get the message transcript and listen to a message run through prior to the weekend. So I plan on being available if my number is called:) It has happened on more than one occasion in our venues that we have on site. When it does happen the venue pastor jumps up and takes the reins.

Greg Atkinson

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