Craig Groeschel

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Craig Groeschel
Born (1967-12-02) December 2, 1967 (age 53)
Houston, Texas
OccupationMinister, author, speaker
Christian growth

Craig Groeschel (born December 2, 1967) is the founder and senior pastor of Life.Church, an American evangelical multi-site church with locations in 10 U.S. states.

Early life and education[edit]

Groeschel grew up in southern Oklahoma, attending Ardmore High School. After high school, he attended Oklahoma City University on a tennis scholarship and was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and received a bachelor's degree in Marketing. Shortly thereafter, he met his wife Amy and the two married in 1991. That same year, Groeschel entered the ministry as an associate pastor in the United Methodist Church. He attended Phillips Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and earned a Master of Divinity degree. He was an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City during the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.[1][2]

Pastoral career[edit]

In 1996, Groeschel and a handful of people started Life Covenant Church in a two-car garage. He later told Business Week that he started the process by performing market research of non-churchgoers and designed his church in response to what he learned.[3] Groeschel's non-traditional style was successful and attendance of Life Covenant grew rapidly, eventually evolving to become (as of January 2019) the largest Protestant church in the United States with 32 Life.Church campuses.[4] Groeschel began using video to deliver some of his sermons, when his fourth child was born in 2001, and he was unavailable for the Sunday service, discovering that the videos were popular with his churchgoers.[5][6] In 2006, he set up a website called as a place for people to confess anonymously on the Internet.[7][8] Groeschel also began delivering his services to the Second Life virtual world on Easter Sunday 2007.[9]

Life.Church was named America's Most Innovative Church by Outreach Magazine in 2007[10][11] and 2008.[12] Life.Church innovations include its free resource library with sermons, transcripts, videos, artwork,[13] and a team that develops free software like and YouVersion the Bible app, which had been downloaded over 200 million times as of December 2015, and hit 425 million downloads as of May 2020.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Groeschel is married to Amy and has six children and four grandchildren. They live in Edmond, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City, where Life.Church is based.[15]


Groeschel served on the Board of Directors of Gulfport Energy Corporation.[16] Groeschel's 2016 compensation was a grant of 3,824 equity shares on June 10, 2016 [17] with a value of $125,006.56[18] at close of business that day. On December 15, 2017, Groeschel sold 7,059 shares of Gulfport Energy stock for $85,837[19] according to SEC filings. In November 2019, Gulfport Energy announced Groeschel’s resignation from the board.[20]


  1. ^ Emily M. Bernstein, "Terror in Oklahoma: The Displaced; Its Building Is Shattered, But Church Survives", The New York Times, April 24, 1995.
  2. ^ Julie DelCour, "Public Chapel to Open At Site of OC Church", Tulsa World, June 22, 1995.
  3. ^ William C. Symonds, "Earthly Empires: How evangelical churches are borrowing from the business playbook, BusinessWeek, May 22, 2005.
  4. ^ Cathy Lynn Grossman, "Multi-site churches mean pastors reach thousands", USA Today, December 17, 2009.
  5. ^ Cathy Lynn Grossman, "Pastors debate video's pros, cons", USA Today, December 16, 2009.
  6. ^ Bill Sherman, "Message in the medium", Tulsa World, August 21, 2004.
  7. ^ Neela Bannerjee, "Intimate Confessions Pour Out on Church’s Web Site", The New York Times, September 1, 2006.
  8. ^ "Thousands of evangelical Christians confessing on-line", Catholic News Agency, September 4, 2006.
  9. ^ Stephanie Simon, "It's Easter; shall we gather at the desktops?", Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2007.
  10. ^ Lillian Kwon, "Life.Church Named Most Innovative Church", The Christian Post, January 16, 2009.
  11. ^ Lillian Kwon, "Innovative Church Leaders Move Into the Neighborhood", The Christian Post
  12. ^ "America’s 25 Most Innovative Churches of 2008" Archived 2015-11-25 at the Wayback Machine at
  13. ^ Megachurch Spends Years on Innovations, Then Gives Them Away for Free (Christian Post, June 7, 2013)
  14. ^ YouVersion Bible App Tops 100 Million Downloads; Releases Series of Infographics (Christian Post, 7/9/13)
  15. ^ "Leadership Team", Life Church, retrieved February 20, 2010.
  16. ^ "Gulfport Energy Board of Directors". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  17. ^ "MarketWatch". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  18. ^ "Nasdaq Gulfport Energy Corporation Common Stock Historical Stock Prices". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  19. ^ "Craig Groeschel Net Worth". wallmine. 2019-07-20. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  20. ^ Money, Jack (2019-11-19). "Gulfport announces layoffs, board resignations Monday". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2020-12-04.


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