How Mariners’ Rooted Journey Grows Groups, Service & Giving

By Allen White Rooted tree

Pastor Kenton Beshore and Mariners Church started something six years ago that intrigues me.

I’m more than a little leery when a ministry presents a new strategy which they claim is the best thing since sliced bread. (I also wonder what the best thing was before sliced bread). I’ve been in ministry for a long time. I preached my first sermon 34 years ago. I’ve been part of the small group movement for the last 20 years. It’s not that I’m old — I’m only 51 and I have a two year old — I was called to ministry early in life.

There have been so many faddish things over the years. Some of them produced temporary results. Some produced no results. Just a few produced lasting results. I’m talking everything from the launch of bus ministry to the introduction of praise music to the comfort of seeker services to the impact of church-wide campaigns. Each one of those basically claimed their own decade from the 1970’s on.

People were saved. Churches grew. Impact was made. But, then they disappeared. Some strategies and ministry ideas had a much shorter shelf-life.

So, now that you understand my jaded, skeptical point of view, you can certainly understand why I very rarely endorse anything. I want to see how it plays out. Is this just the next new shiny thing that we pastors tend to chase after? Is this an attempt to copycat what’s working somewhere else in hopes it will work here? Then, I get real honest — is somebody just out to make a buck?

My Introduction to the Rooted Experience.

About nine months ago, Caleb Anderson, Lead Pastor of Mariners Church, Huntington Beach, CA, introduced me to Rooted. I was blown away. It’s not a program. It’s not merely a curriculum. It’s a catalyst that produces dramatic transformation. He had my attention, but I did go to school in Missouri, so he needed to show me.

Then, I began to hear story after story of transformed lives. People coming to Christ. Marriages saved. Addictions forsaken. Bodies and minds completely healed. Lives and finances surrendered to God. But, here’s the most intriguing thing — all of this was happening over a 10 week experience. Now, I really had to see this to believe it.

I was part of the Rooted Training in November of last year and met churches of many denominations, sizes, and locations who were telling similar stories. I’ve spent the last month on the phone with pastors from across the country talking about how lives are transformed, congregations are emboldened, and communities are impacted because of a simple 10 week experience in Rooted. My doubts were quickly erased.

What a Kenyan Church Taught Kenton Beshore about Discipleship

In partnership with a Kenyan church, Kenton Beshore was introduced to a non-Western, experiential learning process which was seeing dramatic transformations in Africa. Having exhausted many means of discipleship, assimilation, and church growth in the U.S., Kenton thought, “Why not bring Rooted (or Mizizi in Swahili) to Mariners?” The results have been remarkable.

After six years of leading the congregation of Mariners Church through Rooted, 90 percent of Rooted groups have gone on to become on-going Life Groups at Mariners Church with 90 percent of the group members continuing in the Life Groups. Rooted graduates have increased their giving by 82 percent and 70 percent have increased their serving. Now, imagine those kinds of results in your church.

Here’s the thing about Rooted, if you just perused the curriculum, you would probably find it fairly unremarkable in and of itself. In fact, at first glance it appears fairly uncomplicated, and yet those who have completed the 10 week Rooted journey have discovered the experience is bold, focused, and powerful. They have seen health in their members, their churches, and their ministries unlike what they’ve seen before.

Like I said, I am leery of new shiny things. But in Rooted, I have found something so remarkable and so special that I actually joined the Rooted Team for a season. And, I’m still a huge advocate.

Find Out More About Rooted:

Webinars and Conferences —


Download Chapter One of Exponential Groups

New cover   exponential groups    small

Once you click the link in the Confirmation email, your ebook will download immediately.

Powered by ConvertKit

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Mike Mack on April 25, 2016 - 3:20 pm

    OK, so now I’m intrigued as well. Like you said, Allen, imagine if this kind of fruit could be produced in churches around the world. Call me a skeptic, but until I know more, I’m kind of waiting for the down side of this. Looking forward to hearing more.

    • #2 by Allen White on April 25, 2016 - 3:25 pm


      Over 100 other churches have taken the Rooted journey — various sizes and denominations and parts of the U.S. Rooted is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, and “High School.” It’s even working well in places I can’t talk about…

  2. #3 by Alan Hannaford on April 25, 2016 - 5:20 pm

    My senior Pastor is considering using Rooted as a sermon series for 10 weeks. A topic a week to be used by small groups too. I have looked at the Rooted material. I am not sure this will work. Rooted seems to be more of an extended “first steps” indetail for the Mariners church, not a topical study. Rooted seems to be the personal DNA of this church and would be difficult to transfer.

    • #4 by Allen White on April 25, 2016 - 8:55 pm

      Rooted was transferred from a church in Kenya, so it does transfer to others. So far over 100 churches have done Rooted…Baptist, Pentecostal, Friends, Methodists and many others. Churches from a few hundred to several thousand. See the next comment to this post.

    • #5 by Kayla Hurst on April 26, 2016 - 4:12 pm


      I completely understand how you could think it wouldn’t transfer to your context – most new, shiny things don’t truly transfer. But, Rooted isn’t shiny, I assure you. In fact, it can be fairly messy… in the very best way. Listen, I am not in any way affiliated with Mariner’s or Rooted – other than having my face blown off by the Holy Spirit moving and working and transforming people’s lives right in front of – and including – me through the Rooted experience. The DNA explained and experienced in Rooted is the same I pray for ANY follower of Jesus: knowledge, faith, sin & repentance, community, serving, prayer, evangelism, etc…

      I also appreciate the concept of a sermon series – or a 101 series based of the material – but, this material is truly powerful in the community/group format presented through Rooted. In fact, before we began, we had a few people ask if they could review the material to see if it was “worth their time.” We explained that the material might not look like anything new – in fact, it might look elementary – but, the community, experiential format is where the Holy Spirit really seems to do the heavy lifting. Truly life-changing.

      I urge you to consider taking your entire staff through Rooted as a beta test. The worst thing that could happen is your staff is united by hearing one another’s stories and studying God’s Word together… not too shabby!

  3. #6 by Paul Dowler on April 25, 2016 - 8:47 pm

    Just had our first Rooted Celebration last night…almost 500 people. I’ve been a volunteer, lay leader and now on staff at my second church (27 years of ministry in various contexts). Rooted is by far the best, most authentic, discipleship process I’ve ever experienced. The secret to it is that it is not really something ‘new’. It’s actually an experience/process that has worked thoughout the centuries by the first century church, the Moravians, the Celtics, the Methodists…the basics of the faith. Understanding the nature of God, the fall, and redemption. Dealing with strongholds & sin. Activating people to mission. It’s totally refreshing to not chase the ‘culturally relevant’ because that changes constantly…not to obsess over ‘church growth’ movements and strategies. Rooted on the front end of everything you do as a church and aligning your ministry to it simply works. I’ve seen it first hand, and we’ve just gone through one session of it. There are certain tools that don’t need to be rethought and redesigned…like a Swiss Army Knife. For far too long the American Church has been redesigning and/or trying to impove something that doesn’t really need to be improved. I can totally see Rooted creating a legitimate movement and revival in the American Church. Maybe I’m just on the mountaintop from celebrating the lives that have been transformed. But, I’m pretty confident this is going to keep working and it’s not a ministry fad…

    • #7 by Allen White on April 25, 2016 - 8:50 pm

      Well said. I’d love to hear more. I’ll give you a call tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Free Mini-Course on Recruiting Leaders

Join our mailing list to receive Allen's latest thoughts on small groups.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: